Retaining staff is about managing people

Retaining staff results in a better return on investment and helps build stronger client relationships. One of the key questions I’ve often asked candidates over my last 20 plus years in recruitment is “Why do you want to leave your current job?”  More than half say it’s because they have reached a glass ceiling and are not able to further develop their career or knowledge.  This is a much greater factor for wanting to change jobs than salary or location.

People usually leave managers, not companies; the turnover of staff is largely a staff management issue. Salary increases are standard employee expectations and not the main motivator for staff loyalty. By growing and developing your staff they are more likely to want to stay as they feel the company is investing in their future.

Empower your staff, make it easy for them to put forward their suggestions and take the time to listen. When an idea doesn’t have merit, explain why.  Avoid micro-management and highlight best practices to show excellence.  Whenever possible, provide your employees with the freedom to work the way they work best.  Autonomy breeds engagement, job satisfaction and innovation.

The key to maintaining staff consistently, I believe, is communication.  Communicate clearly and often.  The more employees understand why you’ve made a decision, the less likely they are to assume favouritism or unfair treatment. If your processes change, make sure you communicate those changes and explain why.  Be consistent in your communication, whether it’s by email, or by regular meetings.  Review staff progress and guide employees on what to focus on.  Engage with your staff; praise for a job well done, a kind word, a short discussion about their personal life, a brief check-in to see if they need anything, is highly valued.  Employees will care about your business when you care about them first.

Conduct regular performance appraisals.  Set and document goals and targets for all employees. Every role should have the potential to lead to something further, either within or outside of your organisation.  Ask your staff what role they hope to attain and what tools they need to achieve this, and then take the time to help them to achieve their goal.

Most importantly, ensure your employees know what your expectations are and what you want to achieve, for your business and for your customers. Caring starts with knowing what to care about and rewarding work with acknowledgement or constructive comments. Achieving a goal should be positively rewarding for everyone.

We’re interested to hear your thoughts.