Staff Retention: The 9 Key Strategies

Many people assume that people leave jobs largely for financial reasons – but that simply is not the case.

Extensive research into employee retention shows that people leave jobs for a combination of factors. Factors which may include – limited opportunities to develop, being in the wrong job, not feeling valued, that the job no longer fits their lifestyle or indeed a sense that they no longer trust and have faith in their employers. So, to retain staff, you require a strategy that seeks to limit these factors:

1. Recruit the right people in the right way. If you have hired the wrong person, then you are always going to struggle to keep them. You may have hired someone who has the skills and knowledge to do the job, but do they have the right personality and attitude to fit into your business? Is your business able to match their career aspirations or are they going to be looking for the next job very soon? Similarly, if you have failed to “wow” a new employee during the recruitment process then the seeds of doubt may already have been sown by the time they join you.

2. Effective induction, training & development. Inducting people effectively – in whatever format – is fundamental. Get it wrong and you have started to sow those seeds of doubt in their minds in the first few weeks. Beyond that, one of the keys to retaining people is ensuring there are opportunities for people to grow, learn and develop themselves.

3. Involve & empower your people. Gone are the old days of telling people what to do. Modern leaders set the business’s vision and direction but fully involve their teams and empower them to make decisions. Once again it makes people feel valued and feel more connected to the business, which of course helps with staff retention.

4. Ensure fair & consistent performance management. Performance management is not a one-off activity at the time of an annual appraisal. It is the ongoing process of giving feedback to align performance day in, day out. It is about being generous with your praise whilst being constructive and honest in conversations about underperformance. The key is to do it consistently.

5. Provide honest & realistic career management. Career management is all about managing people’s expectations. Listening and understanding their aspirations, offering realistic career options and then delivering on your promises. When the goal posts do move (as they often do) and you cannot deliver, being honest enough to communicate this openly will maintain the trust of your people and help retain them.

6. Offer a transparent system of pay & benefits. Pay and rewards should form a key part of your staff retention strategy How you structure your pay, benefits and bonus depends on your business and your market – the key is that it must be clear and transparent. How much emphasis you place on these financial factors depends on the position the business is in, your marketplace and how well you promote all the non-financial benefits of working for you.

7. Develop & promote non-financial benefits. Retaining people is not just about financial benefits – but about becoming better at developing and promoting all the non-financial benefits of working for your business. Anything from the working environment, facilities, the culture, working hours and the management style can give you an edge. Provided these benefits meet the needs of your people it gives them another reason to stay.

8. Deliver fantastic service to your employees. The key to retaining customers is to provide world-class service to them. Providing your own people with world-class service motivates them to stay. See them as internal customers. Treating them as individuals and delivering to a high standard on the above steps will make a real difference.

9. Create systems to deliver consistent results. Creating systems means that these steps become embedded as weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual activity. They happen as a matter of everyday business – consequently retaining people becomes the norm. Something your customers will thank you for.

Remember, employee retention is a key factor in the long term success and profitability of your business.

Take some time today to think about what YOU could do motivate and retain your team. Then choose at least one tactic to implement this month. It could be the biggest addition you have made to your retention efforts this year.

Copyright (c) 2007 Mr Sital Ruparelia