Effective Resource RetentionMuhammad Zeeshan Ali, PMP, PMI-ACP
There are a few things which a Project Manager can do to reduce the chances of a resource leaving the job. The most effective thing is to build a good bond and working relationship with employees through informal communication. This helps the manager to understand any personal issues or challenges that might be directly or indirectly affecting the professional life of the resources. A good manager not only uses this process to build better understanding of strengths and weaknesses of the resources but also can handle situations in a much better manner when there is a personal emergency faced by any resource.
Simply having regular one-on-one meetings with resources can also help managers with an opportunity to listen to resources and sort out most of their issues. These meetings not only provide managers with work progress updates but also a chance for resources to seek guidance for any issue and also to express if they have any grievances.
Another important thing a manager should do is to clearly define the ground rules and similarly define definite coundarie of roles and expectations related to that. Vaguely defined roles and responsibilities cause indifferences between team members and also the level of performance is also affected.
Good managers and organizations always have planned regular team building activities. Over the years, there are many activities which have proved to be very effective in team building. These activities help the team members and managers to know each other better, outside their professional environment. Also the casual environment gives a chance to resources to realize that seniors are very much normal humans, like anyone of them. There are always few important things like practices or learnings, which the resources can learn and adopt from their seniors and those things can benefit them as well.
As a part of a good resource retention plan, the organization offers reasonably good benefits to the resources. The organization’s Human Resource department not only has all the details of benefits offered in the market but also what their competitor companies are offering, which could be matched to enhance resource retention. The benefits are applicable to all company employees and clearly defined terms and conditions are shared with all stakeholders.
Another effective thing, that has proved very useful in elevating resource morale and commitment, is regular “appreciation”. This may seem a small thing but little acknowledgement of anything good can go a long way. It gives resources a sense of achievement and motivation to do more.
Good project manager also focuses on building a centralized Knowledge Base so that the knowledge is not contained to specific people. The Knowledge Base also proves helpful when inducting a new resource or any alternative resource. It is helpful to those resources who had previously worked on the same assignment or domain.
On the same lines of building a Knowledge Base, good managers always develop a backup of every resource. It is not to induce any negativity or lack of trust but professionally it is one of the most important things to do. This practice is not only helpful when a resource leaves the organization or is transferred to another domain but also very effective in situations when the actual resource was unavailable or there is a need to push things to meet a timeline. The backup resource can easily take up assignments and there are no bottlenecks. The good project managers even build their own backup, generally in the form of project coordinators.
One piece of advice I always share with the HR department is that when they or any other manager is hiring a resource, his/her job switch history should be considered as well. I always avoid hiring two categories of resources; First one who have the history of switching jobs every few months. Second is the resources who have alife-style and family background where they are doing a job just to gain short experience before joining/starting their own business. It is not that they are doing something wrong but the only point is that their professional growth roadmap is not aligned with our company.
One thing that is not directly related to resource retention but always proved useful is to build and keep a professional relationship with resources leaving the job. It means that the resource might be starting his/her own company or joining some other company but they can always provide services as consultants. They are effective because they had previously worked with you in some domain and can be engaged on the same in a focused manner without being an employer of the company.