Apparently 43% of workers are planning to look for a new job in the next 12 months, according to a survey conducted by Robert Half earlier this year. This is bad news for employers when you consider that staff turnover is a costly business. So what’s to do? When those workers were asked what was the one thing that would entice them to stay all of them said more money. Close behind, but with a fair margin, 20% cited more time off/benefits and 19% said promotion would be the clincher to get them to stay.
In the same survey, senior managers were asked, "How concerned are you about your company's ability to retain valued employees?" 33% answered “very concerned” and almost half (48%) answered “somewhat concerned." Clearly, staff retention is a major preoccupation of senior managers.
So, what are those managers doing to keep their valued staff? Well, this is where it gets interesting.
The top three strategies that senior managers chose were:
Increasing communication with employees (e.g. town hall meetings and employee engagement surveys)
Improving employee recognition programs
Providing professional development
Money doesn’t even get a mention...
So what’s the takeaway from this? According to Paul McDonald, senior executive director for Robert Half, it’s this: "Employers can help prevent turnover by learning what motivates their most valued employees and customizing their retention strategies. While money is an important motivator, benefits or growth opportunities are also strong enticements."
This is great advice. You have to know first what drives your staff before you start spending a lot of time or money on engagement and training. Because according to this survey that could be ineffective and not striking at the heart of the issue. It seems there’s no getting away from it - whilst growth opportunities and benefits are important; if the salary isn’t competitive then for some employees you may need to give them a pay rise to keep them. However, that’s not an approach that is practical, necessary or financially possible for every employee. Surely staff retention isn’t only about the money right?
If you want to retain your most valued staff then your strategy needs to start even before their first day. Right out the gate, the salary and benefits package you are offering should be in line with your competitors. Make sure you are hiring somebody who is the right fit for your company, and ensure the onboarding process is informative and positive. Build a leadership culture - its shown that in companies with strong inspiring leadership employees are more invested and likely to stay. Keep an eye on your managers too - 8% of staff in the survey said a new boss would entice them to stay.
Finally, find your employees’ pinch point. What is causing them frustration? A horrible work/life balance, onerous workloads or poor conditions? When you know how to improve their experience, it becomes about more than the money and you will have more weapons in your arsenal to improve staff retention.
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