Keeping Your Best Talent: Strategies to Improve Employee Retention

The hiring and training of new staff represents a huge expense for businesses, as well as a significant investment of time on behalf of various members of the team. Employee retention is an area that employers need to focus on in order to build a successful, talented team, but doing so is easier said than done.

As employees become increasingly aware of their value, they are reconsidering their options more ruthlessly than ever. Employers must do all they can to prevent their top performers moving on to other companies. The first step for your organization is to understand exactly why your staff are leaving – or may be tempted to. Exit interviews can be an incredibly valuable tool here, helping you identify the areas where your business could improve. Once you know where you are going wrong, you can start to make positive changes in areas that have consistently proven effective for businesses in a host of industries.

Employee retention is on the front of all business leaders' minds

Give staff the chance to grow

So many companies hire externally and neglect to offer training and progression opportunities to their own staff. Naturally, if an employee feels they have nowhere for their career to go and no chances to grow their skills, they are going to look elsewhere for fulfilment and reward. There are many ways you can demonstrate your commitment to your staff. From in-house courses and online learning to mentorships and training programs, make sure you are regularly upskilling your existing staff and proving to them that they are valued within your organization. Not only does this proactive and thoughtful approach help maintain loyalty, it also helps you create a stronger, cohesive, more talented team, and a workforce that is passionate about what they do.

Related article: Upskilling and Reskilling: The Benefits of Investing in Your Employees’ Futures

Create a supportive work environment

Employees need to feel that when they come to work every day, they are supported in everything they’re going through – and this does not end with their role in the business. To retain staff, businesses need to be empathetic to what is going on with their employees outside of the nine to five, and to offer help and assistance wherever they can. When appropriately and genuinely done, this is one of the most effective ways not only to build trust but also to help employees flourish. Make sure that you are building a culture of open communication and remain understanding when staff need time off, whether it be for stress, mental health issues, or treatment for a medical condition.

In particular, job burnout is one of the leading reasons for people to seek out different employment, simply because the stress of their role becomes too much to bear. Employers need to be aware of the early signs of stress and burnout and ensure they are supporting staff who may be going through a challenging time personally or who are struggling at work.

Related article: 6 Characteristics of Low-Performing Teams

Support is key for the retention of staff

Create clear career development plans

Having a plan in place where an employee can see their progression can be a seriously effective motivational tool, but it can also help with staff retention. Being able to access such a plan gives employees a clear vision of their future within the organization. A clear development plan, appropriately communicated and agreed upon, provides goals and targets to work toward so they – and you – know where they ought to be in, say, six months or a year.

Setting up quarterly or bi-annual chats with your team where you can sit down on a one-to-one basis and talk about where they want to be and what you see for them can be a great way to set these progression plans in motion. It helps ventilate ongoing issues and ultimately supports people in their journey to the career they have always dreamed of – without needing to go elsewhere to find it.

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Give them the tools they need to thrive

If you have hired well, for your staff to succeed in your business, the formula is simple: They need to have the resources available to do their best work. Often, staff are left to their own devices without guidance or help, and then, when they don’t hit their targets, the blame is placed on them. To fully support your team and get them on the right track, you need to provide them with the tools they need to do their job well and hit those all-important goals.

So, listen carefully to what your staff are asking for and provide it where possible, whether it be training, software, or even simply another pair of hands to get the job done to the right standard and on schedule. If you sense they are struggling – or if they tell you they are – work with them to find a solution so that they can do their jobs well, without feeling like they are on their own.

Final thoughts

Keeping your team happy and productive is an ongoing challenge but one that can be relatively easy to overcome. By listening and communicating well with staff, checking in on where they want to be and helping them achieve those goals, you will be able to build a passionate and talented team of individuals who are proud to work for your organization.

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