When we ask our clients what keeps them awake at night, more often than not it’s talent retention that sits high on HR directors’ list of priorities. Never has there been more pressure to demonstrate efficiencies in staff retention – and never has it been tougher to do so. The online forums and industry bodies reveal daily their advice about the ways in which companies can win the hearts and minds of their employees. But how to do this without spending any more money?
One thing is for sure: the key trends that retain staff in their place of work vary (dramatically) from one generation to the next. What was true for your grandparents (probably a job for life and a sizeable pension), is highly unlikely to be a key driver for you.
While we acknowledge that there are a number of valid arguments spanning Gen Z, Y and X, for the purposes of this post we’re keeping it simple. The four points below stem from our 20+ years of interviewing candidates who are unhappy in their roles, and how we feel businesses could be doing better – at no extra cost.
1. Opportunity to grow
Demonstrating to your staff that yours is a business where they can develop a career will play a huge role in their decision to stay or go. The more your company gives people the opportunity to improve themselves, the more likely it is they will stay to find out how. By nature we don’t want to stagnate. This is self-perpetuating because as our career furthers, the more important our decision-making inevitably becomes - which in turn heightens our emotional investment in the business.
People don’t want to be ignored or feel excluded from decisions that directly relate to them. Be transparent with your staff about the business’s performance, your frustrations, your hopes, and any news. Encourage open plan areas in the office where staff can communicate with each other. Offer regular 1:1s and listen. You’ll encourage buy-in from staff if they’re feeling heard. Listen to their concerns and observe how they feel more valued as a result.
3. Recognition and reward
Recognition needn’t be in the form of cash, and reward needn’t be in the form of a prize. A simple ‘well done’ in front of the wider team can do wonders if it’s genuinely delivered. Even better, see how well an unexpected early finish on a Friday goes down!
4. A clear purpose and a common goal
Offer employees the opportunity to listen to your reasons for making decisions. By giving them a glimpse into your rationale as opposed to barking orders, you’re much more likely to incite trust. For the business and staff to feel a collective sense of purpose, you’ll need to tap into their emotional values and personal visions. Offering them the opportunity to come together as part of a team effort will enhance this, so be sure to encourage teamwork and open communication.