A certain level of staff turnover is inevitable. People will relocate, have changes in personal circumstances, get poached by rivals and simply need a change in their lives and careers. It is no secret that many industries and the businesses within them struggle to keep hold of their best people. The knock on effect is damaging to productivity, can cause a massive time and resource sink and will in some cases impact the bottom line.

So with this in mind, what can organisations do to help ensure that their staff turnover remains as low as possible. What practical steps can be taken now that will save time, effort and resource at a later date? Here are our five key tips that will hopefully allow you to develop and implement an effective staff retention strategy.

1. Salary benchmarking

Understanding the wider salary picture in your industry and region across the roles you have in your team can help ensure that you are paying the going rate and that you are able to mitigate the risk of employees having their heads turned by a more generous offer elsewhere.

2. Recognition and reward

Recognition for a job well done, privately or publically, is something that is all too rare in most workplaces. Employees at all levels want to feel that their hard work is appreciated. Some employees will respond better to public praise, while others will appreciate an email from a manager. One tip is to take a part of a weekly, or monthly, team meeting to highlight some of the good work and achievements that have happened within the team recently. It is important to spread the praise around as you risk alienating those who don’t get a mention for an extended period of time.

Reward, in this context, is separate from remuneration. It’s the little things from management that show the whole team that their hard work is not going unnoticed. It might be pizzas on a Friday lunchtime. A few beers in the fridge to enjoy after a particularly tough week. Or, if the sun is out, let everyone leave an hour early on a Friday. Doing these simple things from time to time can really keep the team morale up.

3. Training and development

It is a common mistake to assume that a generous salary and benefits package is enough to keep the best talent engaged. Of course, these rewards are important but at many levels, and in most job roles, employees will have their own professional development in mind. They will want to know that there is a genuine opportunity to develop themselves and will keep an eye on their longer-term career prospects. Failure to provide this training and development could see you lose out.

Personal Development Plans (PDPs) are a great place to start and allow you and your employees to keep a close eye on development. Utilising in-house talent is also a good strategy; having them share skills with colleagues and encourage others to seek out skills they feel they will benefit from. Mentoring, courses and seminars, e-learning and ‘lunch and learns’ are all viable strategies. Read more about all these strategies here.

4. Promote from within 

Where feasible and when opportunities come up, it can be a real boost to morale to promote people from within, for many reasons. Firstly, it shows the whole team that good work is rewarded and that there is a long-term career for them at your company. One of the key reasons people move is to seek out promotions and career progression – if they see that they can achieve this at your company then they are more likely to stay around. Secondly, it can be a real morale boost for the whole team to see their friends and colleagues prosper and succeed at work. You can read more about promoting from within here.

5. Flexible working

There is a growing demand for flexible working options among UK employees, especially from Generation FL-X (18-27-year-olds). Yet, our research has revealed that at least 25% of Gen FL-X has had requests for flexible working rejected by employers. Given that millennials are predicted to make up 50% of the workforce by 2020, it is crucial that employers understand how to attract and retain this talent.

This can be as simple as letting employees work earlier or later where possible. It might be providing laptops to those who would benefit from being able to work from home. Investing in the tools and technology needed for flexible working can pay for itself rapidly as production and work satisfaction goes up among your employees. What’s more, you are more likely to retain those of the millennial generation who will, after all, make up the mainstay of your workforce in the years to come.

Our management advice centre has a wealth of attraction and retention advice on everything from creating a work from home policy to developing future leaders.

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