How do you prevent people from leaving your business?

You are certainly not alone. Everywhere you hear that companies are struggling to cope with the work and finding new people (otherwise you can notice on the cars, vans and trucks with “we are looking for colleagues” stickers) The last thing you want is that there are employees also go. Fortunately, you have all the tools at your fingertips to prevent this!

That bonus will not help …

First of all, it is important to know the difference between external and internal motivation. Quite simply, external means that one is ‘externally’ driven to do something. For example, it could be a specific reward such as salary (increase), bonus or car. But also the negative variant: fear of reprimand or dismissal. Inner motivation comes from within yourself and comes from, for example, pursuing certain goals, ambitions or ideals.

External motivation actually only works for a very short time. Of course, your employee is happy with that bonus or with that pay rise, but I think we all know how quickly we get used to the new pay and think it’s actually too little. I recently spoke with someone who had struggled to arrange a leasing car for a well-functioning employee. The employee had left before the year had passed. That is what I mean.

Please note: good employment conditions are certainly not indifferent, but see this more as a ‘hygiene’ factor and make sure to have it neatly arranged (and in line with the rest of the organization)

So: focus on inner motivation! How do you do it?

Tool 1: Make sure you as a company have an inspiring vision and goals.

Involve your employees in drafting the vision and certainly also in pursuing it. Team members who are involved and who feel that they are contributing to the ‘good fight’ are performing significantly better and are here to stay. It is therefore of great importance that you often talk about the vision and relate achieved and not yet achieved results to it. In this way, everyone continues to see the benefit of his / her work. It is important to emphasize the involvement in the vision and goals, because the imposition of goals can be counted as external motivation.

Tool 2: Personal development in their own way.

When employees can develop, it guarantees increased satisfaction. But … not everyone understands development in the same way. So be sure to go into the conversation with genuine interest and find out how each employee wants to develop. (tip: just ask the simple open question: what does personal development mean to you? And keep asking questions)

Tool 3: Build a strong culture.

Most companies have core values. But often it is slogans like ‘reliable’ or ‘accountability’. These are beautiful core values ​​in themselves, but they do not yet indicate how you handle your customers and with each other. Therefore, make the elaboration – together. Determine in a brainstorm what these core values ​​mean in practice.

And then put it into practice:

  • Be the embodiment of culture
  • Confirm behaviors that fit the culture
  • Address behaviors that do not fit the culture. Do not allow inappropriate behavior to exist because it will kill your culture in no time and it will demotivate the well-meaning. Because they were probably the first to realize that someone was out of step ;-))

For good examples, take a look here: Culture Code: Creating A Lovable Company

Tool 4: Your leadership

The last tool ‘is’ you: Make sure you act as a leader who supports his team members. You do this through coaching or servant management, which basically means putting yourself at the service of helping your team members develop (yourself – or especially – if they pass you by)

You can read concrete tips about your attitude as a coaching leader in my blog How coaching leadership. Attitude, characteristics and techniques. (

I want to give you a few tips here:

  • Make sure you know what your employee finds important and keeps them busy. Both at work and in private. Be genuinely curious and start the conversation.
  • Provide the right tools, authorizations, etc.
  • As far as possible, solve problems that are outside the employee’s sphere of influence. If that’s not possible, have a good conversation.
  • Give compliments (and make them specific)

My mission is to help entrepreneurs and leaders excel. I hope I could help you with this article and give you some extra focus to cope with this tight labor market!

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