How to retain your staff

They say most employees don’t quit their company, they quit their boss, and their departure doesn’t always have to do with the search for a higher salary. More often than not, you fail to retain your staff because of perceived lack of communication, security, promotion opportunities and appreciation.

Two of the most common complaints in any employee satisfaction surveys is communication and remuneration. When employees are not updated on company strategy and performance, the rumour mill starts to churn, which can be fairly unsettling for some staff and will motivate them to start looking out for a different position. Likewise when staff perceive that their salary is not reflective of their performance they may start to discuss it internally or externally to benchmark.

From experience, I can tell you that you that losing a valuable member of staff is far worse a headache than having to recruit a new one.  But having a demotivated staff member in a role is even worse.

I’m not saying you need to be in the running for the “Boss of the Year award”, or even a doormat, to retain your staff. There are some simple things all managers can do to keep their staff and, what’s more, keep them happy.

  1. Consider a variety of enhancements that would change their experience without costing the earth, including casual Fridays or changing your dress code entirely to one of smart casual, offering home-working days, or even free fruit or popcorn in addition to tea and coffee. Drinks once a month alongside a company meeting also works well.
  2. Implement a salary grading system with clearly defined goals that are realistic outcomes of their ‘up to date’ job description (regular reviews of job descriptions are essential), attached to salary increases, to keep motivation and security levels up, and staff loyal.
  3. Include your staff in decision making. Collaboration will ensure they feel more motivated in their travel roles, involved and special. Focus groups also have the benefit of developing people.
  4. In addition to involving your staff in the company’s strategic direction, it is important to follow through and if you are unable to do so, to communicate the reasons why.
  5. Do not underestimate the impact of new staff coming in to the team, especially those that are hired at a higher salary than existing performing employees for the same role, or inconsistently applying incentives and salary increases.
  6. Benchmark salaries, bonusses and benefits, with your competitors and make sure that your offering is comparable.
  7. Public acknowledgment that is fair and not aimed at an exclusive group, to the detriment of acknowledging others’ good performance is also extremely demotivating for employees

The key things to remember if you’re a manager when implementing an excellent employee experience or performance management programme are communication and collaboration, employee benefit programmes that are actually implemented, regular performance reviews linked to salary increases, incentives and public acknowledgement of performance.

Richard Branson said it best: “Happy staff equals happy customers”. Virgin puts their staff, not their customer first. Consider the cost to your brand, and your customer’s experience, when your staff are not happy or leave.