Accounting, tax and treasury

Retaining key staff

Staff retention emerged as a key theme in the responses, and continues to be a challenge for businesses. Top performers typically comprise only 10-15% of a workforce, but their contribution could be the difference between success and failure.
Organisations are aware of the impact of these employees, so keeping them happy and engaged is a key concern, often in situations of rapid change. Equally, the need to manage this change and drive business forward may require new/external resource so the attraction of top talent remains a key theme.
Effective succession planning and rewarding top performers through promotions will be critical to retaining the best talent and meeting demand.
In the 2012 Michael Page Finance salary survey, 32% of respondents said that promotion opportunities would be the most important retention strategy for their business this year.
Key questions to consider when promoting to retain staff include:
  • Do you have enough hard evidence to inform your decision? Has the individual performed well enough against KPI’s to justify your gut feeling?
  • Are you being transparent enough about the opportunities available and your decision making process? Failure to communicate can harm morale.
  • Have you considered the whole package as well as the salary? Benefits such as childcare provision or flexible working are often highly valued by employees.
  • Are you rewarding potential or just track record? It is a competitive market and to keep hold of the best people it is often necessary to take risks and reward an individual based on what you believe they will achieve in future rather than what they have achieved to date.

An interim solution

We’re noticing an increased demand from finance employers for interim and temporary solutions to their recruitment requirements.
In an environment where the focus is on both cost reduction and growth, existing employees and teams are increasingly stretched as they look to cover increased demands. Top employees are at the risk of becoming disillusioned in these situations and, despite subdued market conditions, there is still a real risk of losing talent – especially to overseas.
Some of the retention strategies discussed may go some way to address this, but the short-term benefits of hiring in temporary resource to take the strain are increasingly attractive.