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Keeping the Best Employees
By Michael C. Dennis, MBA, CBF

For most credit professionals, there simply are not enough hours in the day to complete all of the tasks assigned to them. Finding subordinates who have the skill and the temperament to take a job in the credit department is tough. Turnover among key staff members is even tougher. It is essential that credit managers identify and hold onto their star performers. Here are some tips that can help:

  • The three R's of employee retention are Respect, Recognition and Rewards [but not necessarily in that order]

  • Recognize and reward superior performance... otherwise the best and brightest are the most likely to leave. When things get tough, those that can do [leave], and those that cannot stay.

  • Identify the employees that you feel that you must retain. Meet with them privately. Find out what their needs and expectations are and do what you can to meet those needs.

  • Communication is a key element in creating the kind of work environment that people care about. If they care, they are more likely to stay

  • Meet regularly and privately with these key employees to make sure they feel that they are being recognized for their contributions. [Remember that your best employee typically can outperform your weakest employee by between two and four times]

  • Don't sugar coat everything with your best and brightest. Share good news, as well as areas of concern

  • Provide additional benefits such as training to your star employees. If your other employees ask for the same consideration, make it clear that this training is reserved for your top performer[s]

  • Celebrate publicly the achievements and accomplishments of your subordinates - especially your top performers

  • Deliver on any promises you make to the employee [So think before you speak and be careful about what you promise]

  • Look for ways to share ownership of the department's goals with key employees. Try to treat these individuals as your partners in helping the department achieve its objectives

  • Be certain to share credit when things go well with your top performers

  • Solicit ideas for improvement from these employees, and implement as many of them as are practical

  • Provide a competitive package of benefits and pay - even if you have to go to senior management to fight for the pay and benefits your best employees deserve

Improving retention strategies will reduce recruiting and hiring costs, lower training costs, improve employee morale, and increase business momentum and improve the credit department's ability to manage risk and control delinquencies.

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