Emergency Exit: How to Improve Employee Retention and Keep Top Staff

13th November 2014

Hiring someone is just the first stage in a employee/employer relationship, and ensuring you have an accurate retention strategy can protect you from losing top members of your team.

Why do people leave?
In a recovering economy, some managers may think their staff consider themselves lucky to have a job with regular income. However, assuming your staff are content by default is a dangerous game and can result in them feeling under-valued and unhappy.

People leave their jobs for a number of reasons, some of which are listed below:

- Not having enough time to spend doing the things they love
- Not feeling as though their managers and co-workers appreciate the work they do
- Being asked to work beyond normal hours and feeling forced to comply

In spite of the well-meaning nature some of these aspects may have, such as team building exercises or staff days out, considering how staff react to having less time to themselves is a good start in understanding why they may want to leave.

How do I improve employee retention?
Having an employee retention strategy in place is important if you have a problem with high staff turnover. Generally, the process of trying to find a job can be somewhat laborious so any staff who have started on that road must be dedicated to the idea of leaving. If staff are content and happy, a job offer from a rival company would not be even slightly appealing. Interestingly, the concept of a counter-offer holds little weight when it comes to wanting to leave; if a staff member tells you they want to leave, the chances are a pay rise and larger office will perhaps change their mind initially, but the problems making them dislike the job will still be there.

Changing the way in which you approach staff is the first step to improving employee retention.

- Looking at how a working week is structured can help visualise the way staff see their routines and help managers adapt and change the way they work
- The flexible-working directive offers staff a chance to dictate their own hours, to a certain extent, and this can be great way of giving some power back to your staff.
- Building a community within your business can help to create a sense of purpose and loyalty, giving staff the opportunity to work because they enjoy what they have helped create, rather than working simply to pay the bills and counting down the minutes until they get to go home.

Improving your employee retention strategy starts with really thinking about what makes your staff want to work, and incentivising them to do so.

"If staff are content and happy, a job offer from a rival company would not be even slightly appealing."