Staff retention: holding on to the best of your workforce


All companies need a fresh injection of talent from time to time, and a moderate level of staff turnover can be good for business; however, losing your highest performers (or losing too many people in one big hit) is never good news. If you want to make sure that doesn’t happen at your company, you need a strategy in place to keep staff retention high.

With that in mind, we asked Claire Hartley, Branch Manager of our Bradford branch, to share her top tips on retaining the best of your workers.

1. Make sure your employees are satisfied

If your employees are happy, common sense dictates that they’re far more likely to stick with you. But how do you get them feeling good about work? Well, appreciation goes a long way — if you recognise your staff for a job well done, they’ll feel satisfied in the knowledge that their efforts haven’t gone unnoticed. Motivation is also important in any workplace:

try offering your employees performance-related incentives so that they have something to aim for each month. Creating clear and open communication channels can also increase the likelihood of holding onto your best performers: if your workers feel like they can approach you when they’re unhappy, need development or want a change, you’ll stand a much better chance of hanging on to them.

2. Use training and development to increase staff retention

As an employer, you want to get the best out of your team, just as your employees want to get the best out of themselves by increasing their skills set — creating a win-win situation where training and development is concerned.

Investing in training and development can save you a lot of money in the long run if it lets you hold onto your most ambitious and high performing workers; it also helps you to improve the quality of your service, whilst creating a sense of loyalty and commitment from your team. If you focus on helping your workers to develop their skills, they will be far less likely to look at opportunities elsewhere. Hold one-to-one sessions with every member of your team to find out how they want to develop, then offer as much support as you can in making that happen.

3. The benefit of benefits

Competitive salaries and career progression are amongst the most effective ways to attract and retain top talent, but if your valued employees are being professionally seduced by rival companies offering to match both of these things, you need an edge — and that’s the beauty of benefits.

From subsidised canteens and childcare facilities, to increased holiday entitlement and free gym memberships, offering your employees something above and beyond their basic salary can make them feel valued — something that greatly increases a worker’s sense of loyalty. If you’re not sure which benefits would hold most sway in your organisation, why not get your workers to vote on what they’d like to see? Including them in the decision making process is another sure-fire way of heightening engagement levels; leading to a far more motivated and committed workforce.

4. Combating the ‘learn and leave’ culture

In days gone by, people prided themselves on keeping a job for life. Nowadays, it’s more about learning what you can from one employer, then putting those skills into practice somewhere else.

In fact, where people used feel concerned that the presence of multiple jobs on their CV would suggest a lack of commitment or direction, they now worry that staying with the same company will reflect a lack of ambition or the desire to learn more. You can help to overcome this attitude by offering your workers a varied career path within your own organisation. Take the time to find out what your employees’ long-term career ambitions are, then asses how you can cater for them. For example, if your secretary wants to work as a PA, can you offer them a route to that role within your company?

5. Create a great environment

Having a pleasant and enjoyable environment to work in can be the difference between a happy worker and one that wants to leave as fast as their legs can carry them. One of the most important factors here is a team made up of colleagues that get along.

If you sense any animosity between team members, it’s wise to address this at the first sign of a problem to prevent things from escalating further. It’s also a good idea to nurture an atmosphere of fun. Whilst everyone is there to work, people can be a lot more productive if they’re in high spirits; so try to find what works best for your workers — whether that’s organising a team lunch once a week, or bringing in a radio to add a little entertainment to the day.

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