How To Keep a Good Employee

Over my 32 year career at Southern Illinois University, with 31 years being involved in either supervisor or management/administration, I discovered several elements involved in retaining a good employee.

When I began at the university I, immediately, felt appreciated!

img_3507 2

As a 20, almost, 21 year old I wanted to not only produce a good job…I wanted to produce an excellent job!  I had not worked a week when office occupants, in Thalman Hall, began to tell me that they appreciated the cleanliness of their; offices, and rest rooms, and public areas.

During those first days of being a member of the SIUC community, I had determined that I had friends that were professionals, such as accountancy and insurance executives, and that I was going to be a housekeeping professional!

My supervisor made me feel welcome…from my first night of work, as did his supervisor.  Within the first few days of my service…the custodial supervisor for the night housekeeping operations…visited me and told me that he had been hearing good things about me and invited me to go to Personnel and take the Building Custodian exam…which is the position that my boss held.

IMG_3153 3

I was amazed at the positive attention and feedback that I had received…so quickly!

I felt that I was a new member of a, career, housekeeping family!

Now in the first years of my time at SIUC, it was customary to receive an 8% raise annually.  I knew that this was a wonderful pay raise…as I had not been accustomed to receiving any in my previous positions.

I recall asking a colleague if he was excited about the 8% raise…and he began to laugh so hard that he bent over and grabbed his knees and tears came to his eyes and then he asked me, ‘do you think that 8 cents is a good raise?’


Photo by Pixabay on

I did to have the heart to correct him, as he had enjoyed the joke….so much!

The popular motivational speaker, Zig Ziglar, said that, ‘I really do not care how much you know…until I know how much you care…about me.’

person touching brown puppy

Photo by Helena Lopes on

The vital component to keeping a good employee is that the person must feel that they are an essential member of the team!

This would be the same for professors and janitors…and all members of a university community or any workplace.

Periodic pay increases are extremely important.  My wife and I have been retired since the end of 2010 and February of 2011.  We have, regular received 3% pay increases, for each year of our retirement…accept the first.

If you want to retain, outstanding staff, you, at the minimum, must keep an eye on the cost of living.

The university, has undergone extreme challenges…that include; not having a state budget for two years and the, subsequent, abdication of, fiscal, responsibility by the state …for public higher education.

I have been told, on numerous occasions, that my supervisor, or manager, or administrator…supported me and loved my job performance and that they could not replace me…but and if there is no financial support…the words are hollow!

Money…in the university or in the workplace…equals support for the hard work of, supremely, dedicated staff!  In the university…financial support is an un-equivocal marker of recognition and appreciation!

Over 40 years I have watched as my, beloved, university builds majestic buildings and seems to find the money for, top, administrators and leaders!

The church…is not the building…it is the congregation.

The Union…is not the Union Hall…it is the members.

The University is not the buildings or the beautiful campus…it is the people that make it run…and are, unfailing, in their dedication to it’s success!

I have known, throughout my career, many staff for which money…is not their primary motivator!  These precious people love their school!  They are working…night and day…and many hours for which they are not paid…to re-build and strengthen and secure SIUC…from the winds of change and the vagaries of a state that has been AWOL and the revolving door of leadership at the campus level.

As we build our recruitment and retention efforts and bolster our academic programs…let us re-build the people that have kept our campus afloat!

It is money well spent!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: