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Best ways to retain employees

In recent news, we’ve learned that more than a third of people are planning to quit their jobs post-pandemic, due to promotions being down by 48%, stress-related (60%) or a clash with management (51%).

It’s not irrational to worry about this, as we’ve already seen a huge number of women (2.2 million between Feb – Oct 2020) leaving their jobs during 2020 as they were unable to balance the pressures of childcare, housework and their careers.

If you’re worried about the potential drop-off in employee numbers over the coming months, it may be time to consider ways in which your organisation can help to retain staff and ensure them a sustainable and secure career, with clear development and incentives to boost morale and motivation.

Employees who are engaged are 87% less likely to leave their employer, so let’s discover how we can engage our staff and keep business booming.

​1. Understand why employees stay
Similar to discovering why people leave jobs, it’s really important for your company to understand why people stay and then replicate this for future staff. It’s a good idea to offer an anonymous employee survey to find out what it is that people love about working for your company and to encourage suggestions and ideas. Not only is this a great way to understand how to retain employees, but as a by-product employees can openly share ideas and suggestions and if the company acknowledges this feedback and in some cases implements those ideas, this will really empower employees too.

2. Frequent Appraisals
With COVID-19 just about messing with most people’s working habits, appraisals may have gone astray, especially for those who have been furloughed. If your company hasn’t offered appraisals for a while, it’s probably time to start again. Appraisals are a great way of understanding how employees are really feeling, instead of solely focusing on performance and key metrics, it’s a chance to dig deep into how motivated your employees are and if anything is holding them back. Wanting employees to succeed isn’t just about giving them KPIs, it’s also about giving them the tools, resources and training to achieve. The past 12 months have been hard for most, and as we know bad management is one of the main reasons people leave their job. Offer help and advice and an open-door policy to all employees. The more you learn about them and what they need the easier it is to support them.

3. Celebrate Milestones
How does your company praise good work? There’s no right or wrong answer, as long as it’s being done. Some employees may prefer a quieter approach, whilst others enjoy being in the spotlight. Whatever the method, anyone who’s achieving or exceeding expectations deserves to know that their efforts are appreciated. Whether you run Employee of the Month or send a congratulatory email, it’s important that hard work is recognised. For many employees, knowing that they’re doing well at their job motivates them more than financial rewards, so making this a habit and simply part of the company culture can be hugely beneficial.

4. Offer Incentives
Incentives are a key way to drive motivation and desire for success. Whilst some management may be against incentives because they feel that employees getting paid a salary is enough, we’re all human and sometimes people just need a boost. Creating a healthy competition not only encourages individual success but also increases team spirit and vibrant company culture. Instead of a competition based incentive, why not offer Summer Fridays? An early finish for employees during the summer months allows an opportunity for a better work-life balance, especially for parents whose children will be on school holidays. Incentives really can retain employees, there’s a reason that other companies who offer this as standard really shout about it to attract candidates to work for them. Don’t lose your people to your competition because they have better incentives than you, that’s just silly…

5. Flexible Working
As we’ve already found out many women have quit their jobs during the pandemic. If those women had been offered flexible working arrangements it could have meant fewer women had to prioritise unpaid housework over their career. Whilst as a society we like to think there is now more equality in the home, with traditional gender roles on their way to being abolished, that’s actually quite untrue. Most women still carry the weight of the domestic work and on average spend 10 hours a week completing unpaid tasks around the home and childcare. For many women, work doesn’t stop when they leave the office. It is an ongoing cycle of domestic chores, maintenance, and child supervision. So how could we expect women to stay in a job that isn’t sympathetic to their needs outside of work? Especially when those needs can’t be neglected. By offering flexible working, not only are you allowing employees the chance to balance their workloads, but you’ll also be helping to reduce the likelihood of stress-related illnesses and the potential of that person leaving their job.

6. Get On-Boarding right
On-boarding happens in some companies and not in others. other you have it or not, it needs to be effective. Having a set program for new starters to follow, so they can learn the ropes and be training in critical areas, allows them to start their career at your company with the right tools and knowledge to make their job a success. It is important that their progress is reviewed and that this is shared with the employee. If staff feel supported from day one, they’ll feel confident that this will continue. It shows an employee that the company cares about their development and success, and that everyone is working towards the same goal.

7. Career Development
Looking at the figures, it’s clear that progression is really important to most employees. People don’t want to stagnate in the same role day in day out. Employees want their role to be challenging and they want to see that they can make a positive contribution to the business’ success. If they can’t see a clearly defined path of progression then they’re likely to start seeking it elsewhere. In appraisals, it’s important to discuss where an employee sees themselves in the future and if they want to step up then a development plan can be drafted and reviewed often.

8. Invest in Training
During the pandemic, it was reported that 52% of employees said training had completely stopped. Training is vital for everyone to ensure people are continually learning and are efficient in their role. Training for management is also integral because as we know, bad management is a key factor for employees leaving a company. If the company budget doesn’t allow for training to be outsourced, choose employees who show competence in the areas you want to train people in and let them share that knowledge with others who may be lacking in those areas or new starters. Creating a training development matrix could also be a good idea so that employees can understand which aspects of their job they excel at and which need improvement. Training allows people to grow and become better at their jobs, which ultimately leads to promotions; all are necessities for retaining staff.

9. Communicate Expectations
If there is a lack of communication in a company this can inevitably lead to confused employees. Do they know what they should be doing? Are they focusing their attention on the right areas? Do they really know what is required of them? Miscommunication can cause businesses to lose more money than is thought. Delegating a task and then assuming an employee knows what they’re doing is dangerous, so keep close and offer support when needed. However, it is important to remember that employees also don’t respond well to micro-management, so finding that balance is crucial.

10. Team Outings
Whilst COVID may cause some issues for this point, it’s certainly a great way to promote positive company culture. Toxic workplaces foster unhealthy habits and a lack of communication between employees. Team building activities and outings mean that employees are encouraged to problem-solve or interact with others that they don’t always see eye to eye with. Creating an environment that motivates people to work together can have great benefits and this can often be transferred back into the workplace. Everybody wants to work with people they get along with, so encourage it at every opportunity.

And there you have it. The ten best ways to retain your staff and keep them engaged.

If you have any thoughts or questions then please contact us.

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