Anyone with employees will tell you it’s a minefield to advertise and recruit the right people for their business. On average it takes 35 days to recruit a new
team member, and then we all cross our fingers that we have made the right decision. However, that’s only the beginning of the story. We then have to consider how to hold on to them.
So by conclusion, it makes good business sense to have a retention strategy and with 51% of employees always looking at other job opportunities, how can we retain good people? Here’s my top 5 tips…
1. Build a Culture
What’s your business identity? By that I mean what behaviours do you value in your team? How do you communicate these and more importantly do your policies, procedures and practices reflect these values? Employees develop loyalty to a company if they form a connection to the values and can see that they are acknowledged. I often see mission statements, visions and values communicated on websites and at recruitment stage; however, what about internally? Do your employees know them? Do they form part of their job description? Are they valued at the time of setting objectives and reviews?
2. Take a Close Look at Your Leaders
It’s astonishing how may organisations promote people from roles in to leadership. Being a great sales person, engineer, accountant, adviser etc does not automatically qualify you to lead. The transition in to leadership takes time and skill. Leaders need training and support just as any other skilled employee. So consider how you develop your leadership team. Do they ‘walk the walk’ and reflect your culture? Also consider your future leaders…do you have a succession plan? It can be very effective and rewarding to develop your leaders of the future as well as forming a positive aspect of your retention policy.
3. Remunerate, Recognise & Reward
It sounds obvious, however, there are many ways that you can do this. Of course, most of us go to work with the expectation that we will be paid, – however, money is not the only motivator and for many it’s not the money that keeps an employee happy. Sure, it plays a part – pay rises, bonus structures etc all have a place. However, other perks can be key – eg a car parking space, extra holidays, flexi time, working from home as well as internal recognition programmes like “employee of the month”. When considering all of this you could ask your team what they value and remember it’s not a one size fits all scenario – so being flexible so that you can offer benefits that are really of value to an individual can make all the difference. It’s no good offering a car park space to an employee that gets the bus to work!
4. Provide Development Opportunities
Ensuring your employees have opportunities to grow and develop their skills is vital. Even in organisations with flatter structures or few opportunities for promotion, you can still provide breadth of role and the development of knowledge and skills that will serve them well now and in the future. Investing in your employees demonstrates your commitment to them and aligning this with their own goals and aspirations (which you will have identified at the time of objectives setting, planning and reviews) will ensure they feel valued and supported. There are numerous options at your disposal here – coaching, online training, internal or external courses, distance learning, mentoring and shadowing are all possibilities. Choose wisely and involve your employee in the process.
5. Conduct Exit Interviews
I have lost count of the number of times I have said to an employer “why did xxx leave?” only to have the response “I don’t really know”, or “I think it was just because…”
An exit interview can help you to establish why employees resign. Of course there are reasons that are nothing to do with the company or their role, however, this is the employee’s opportunity to tell you some realities – as long as you set this up correctly – ie there are no repercussions to the feedback, the interview is conducted by the right person and in the right environment. The information you receive could be so useful in identifying what you are doing well and what needs work. It can also help you with the recruitment of the next person to join your team.
Finally, I’ll leave you with a sobering thought… according to Gallup, just 1/3 of
employees are engaged at work and 91% of employees left their roles to join an
organisation that that gave them a compelling reason to stay. So my question to you is which side of the fence do you want to be on?