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How to build employee confidence to retain talent

As the talent crisis shows no sign of waning, employers are attempting to attract the best and brightest talent with competitive salaries and an array of top benefits in order to lure candidates, with research from Capterra finding that 50% of employers are increasing their salary offerings to attract new hires, and 32% are offering improved benefits in order to lure in talent.  But with so much focus on attracting new talent, what can employees do to prevent existing employees from jumping ship? Besides the go-to pay increase, promotion or better benefits, employers need to consider the culturally driven ways of keeping their best employees. And one of these ways could be down to boosting confidence and providing reassurance of a job well done. 

As the talent crisis shows no sign of waning, employers are attempting to attract the best and brightest talent with competitive salaries and an array of top benefits in order to lure candidates, with research from Capterra finding that 50% of employers are increasing their salary offerings to attract new hires, and 32% are offering improved benefits in order to lure in talent. 

But with so much focus on attracting new talent, what can employees do to prevent existing employees from jumping ship? Besides the go-to pay increase, promotion or better benefits, employers need to consider the culturally driven ways of keeping their best employees. And one of these ways could be down to boosting confidence and providing reassurance of a job well done. 

According to research by employee engagement platform Reward Gateway, almost three-quarters (72%) agreed that their work wellbeing would improve if they were thanked more for their hard work. From this, we can derive two things; employees want to be recognised for their hard work, and they also want reassurance they’re doing a good job. 

In other words, employers should focus on providing accurate rewards for great work and building the confidence of their best employees. Here’s how they can do just that through communication.

Keep feedback constructive
A better, more collaborative way of providing employee feedback is to have regular two-way check-ins. If an employee did a great job, tell them straight away, no matter how small or big. You could even encourage peer mentoring so they can teach others their skills. Similarly, when it comes to more constructive feedback, tell someone straight away if they didn’t do something as well, and give them examples of how they can improve.

Giving feedback whilst helping someone’s confidence intact is a fine art, but worth mastering if you want to foster a confident, resilient workforce that embraces continuous learning and doesn’t see feedback as something to run away from. 

One way to do this is to start with constructive feedback first, be really focused on specific situations and avoid wishy-washy statements, and avoid any accusatory language. It will make the person on the receiving-end of the feedback feel bad about themselves, damage their confidence and make them defensive. For example, if someone has a habit of being late with deadlines, avoid saying ‘your projects are always late’ instead, ‘I noticed x project was late, it also happened with z and y project as well. How can we support you to ensure your projects are delivered on time going forward?’ It’s much more collaborative and shows you’re willing to help them in their journey to do better when it comes to meeting deadlines. 

Next, ensure you finish with positives. It’s useful if you can derive a positive from the same examples as the negative as it shows you taking an unbiased view of the person and their work.

Be clear on their strengths and what they do well
Be really clear on the person’s strengths. Pay close attention when they do a great job and note it down in a personal file, this way you’ll be able to keep a tab of the situations and tasks where they shine and from this you can establish a solid view of what they’re best at. This also allows you to set them up with work that aligns with their strengths as well as help them work more on the areas where they’re not as strong.

This works better in smaller teams but it’s worth considering peer reviews when it comes to identifying strengths and positive feedback, as the people in your team can also offer insight and feed into strengths.

Create opportunities for success based on those strengths
Once you’ve successfully identified your team’s strengths, it’s all about creating opportunities where they can add value. Putting a person in a scenario where you know they’re not only capable, but will do a really strong job is setting them up for success. This also means their strengths become a self-fulfilling prophecy; they do well on a project, so they believe in their abilities, they believe in their abilities so they do well on a project and so on.

Be consistent
Feedback to encourage confidence is only effective when it’s actioned and when it’s consistent. If you’ve acknowledged a strength or flagged an area for someone to build on, don’t just forget about it at your next check in or meeting. Make sure you acknowledge if they’ve improved or they still need to work through it. Simultaneously, if you’ve identified a strength, continue to give positive praise in the context of recent projects they’ve completed and any new strengths that emerge.

Recognise the whole person
It’s of course important to monitor and recognise strengths and weaknesses in employees, but it’s also important to recognise employees for who they are, not just their practical skills. If this person is someone who brings life to the workplace, is encouraging, supports their teammates, and can be trusted and relied upon, then these are qualities that should be recognised as strengths too.

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