How to retain staff – 5 ways

While it’s understandable that business owners and managers take a dim view of employees who hop from one business to the next after only a short time, it should be remembered that if you expect employees to give a long-term commitment to your company, it’s important that you give them good reasons to stay. Here are some ideas to help improve your staff retention.

Give the gift of time

Despite the challenging economy, provide time for sick days, family holidays, new babies, study, hobbies and interests etc. Yes, you should expect good performance, but it is unreasonable to apply a continual level of pressure 100 percent of the time. Allow employees the chance to catch their breath from one peak period or project to the next. The simple gesture of allowing a team member to knock off early once in a while can do wonders for the relationship bank account between employer and employee.

Reward and recognition

The rewards you give should speak to employees’ emotional needs and go beyond their monetary compensation. Recognition in front of the team, company or department parties, lunch or dinner with the boss, handwritten notes, etc. All can contribute to the positive culture of the team and can boost morale. The more you personalised the rewards, the more powerful they are as motivators. For example, the gift of a bottle of wine is meaningless to someone who doesn’t drink, yet a golf lesson or voucher for a round of golf at a fancy course would leave golf-tragic tickled pink!

Show Respect

Employees want to feel respected and appreciated. If managers make it a priority to show outward respect for employees on a regular basis, it will lead to a strong workplace culture and positive experiences. The ideal forum for showing respect to your staff on a regular basis is during a monthly 1-on-1 check-in. Take the time to listen to their concerns, find out what they’d like to change, what they want to learn, and where they see themselves in 12 months. Listen with focus and show you’ve listened by responding appropriately.

Encourage growth and self-development

If you stop someone’s training, you are giving them a reason to quit. Show that you trust your employees by giving them responsibilities that allow them to grow. Encourage them to develop new skills. Provide continuous education opportunities. Hire from within wherever possible and give generous promotions at appropriate times.

Whenever you publicly advertise for a vacant senior position, make a point of inviting internal applications. All internal applicants deserve to be interviewed, and if they don’t win the role, make sure you keep them engaged with a project that will push their development along. When an employee applies for a more senior role, they are saying loud and clear: “I want to be developed”. Don’t ignore this message.

Find out why others have left

Exit interviews will provide you with information about workplace characteristics and management communication that may be the cause of staff turnover. If you can fix the cause, you’ll deal with the problem and staff turnover will slow or even stop.

The takeaway

There is no direct relationship between pay rates and staff retention. Yes, you must pay people what they deserve (or at least what they could earn with your competitors), from there it’s all about engagement.

Chris Lambert