The Key to Retaining Your Best Employees

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Carly Guthrie, who used to run human resources at iconic New York City restaurant Per Se before jumping into the tech world, sat down recently with First Round to discuss what really drives employees to leave their companies, and how those companies can craft policies that retain people for the long term.

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Guthrie thinks people leave companies for the following reasons:

  • Lack of Respect for Peoples’ Time: This is a big one: people need time to have a life outside of work, and if they don’t get that, they’re liable to explore other employment options.
  • It’s (Often) Not the Boss’s Fault: People aren’t often driven out of companies because of bad bosses, Guthrie insisted. But that doesn’t mean employees won’t leave because they perceive management as weak or ineffective.
  • Counteroffers (Rarely) Work: An employee who goes through the effort of seeking out another job is unlikely to stick with you for very long, even if you offer an attractive counteroffer.

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On the flip side of the proverbial coin, she thinks people stay with their employer for a few simple reasons:

  • They Feel Like a Community: Never underestimate the power of people feeling good about where they work.
  • Flexibility: Employees appreciate things like the ability to work remotely.
  • Mentorship That Works: Who doesn’t like personal development?
  • Good HR: An effective human-resources department can help with retention and provide “reality checks” to firm founders.

Guthrie offers an extensive view into her thinking over at First Round; for anyone in the business of managing employees, it’s well worth checking out.

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