How to keep your employees — and keep them happy

Sometimes all it takes is a simple question to find out what keeps employees happy.

Career Systems International founder, Beverly Kaye, has been specializing in corporate management techniques for almost three decades. In her latest book, “Help Them Grow or Watch Them Go: Career Conversations Employees Want,” she sets out to debunk the myths surrounding career development.

Are you championing a humanistic approach to management?

I don’t know what other approach there could be, when it comes to working with people. We passed through the mechanistic management era. That’s not coming back. More than ever we have to treat every employee as an individual, and there are different things that motivate every individual. I’m just trying to encourage people to find out what that is.

What do managers get wrong about employee development?

They get the wrong idea about how much time it will take. They believe that if they sit down with an employee, it’s going to take an hour and they’re going to do whole lot of paperwork because of it. But it’s not about lengthy conversations or pretty forms. It’s about recognizing a moment, and asking questions. It’s about being curious.

But not everybody can move up in the organization, right?

Not everybody wants that, even though management often assumes that’s the case. But everybody wants to be challenged. We have to help people find what they want, and that’s often not a vertical move.

How can an employee pursue development at a company where these ideals aren’t being encouraged?

Have you asked for what you want? Most employees have not.

Often, we expect our managers to be mind readers. Ask yourself: What would make me happy? What do I love the most? How can I incorporate that into my current job? You’ve got to share that with your manager.


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