• Leah Norman

Hold on to the Good'uns!

Tips and trick to retain your key people!

And here we are - 2022, and what a ride the last 18 months have been! As we soon look to emerge from what feels like never-ending covid related restrictions, we will no doubt start to see a great migration within the employment space.

While uncertainty has been a primary factor in people staying put for the last 18 months, too nervous to make a change should their new employer be forced to restructure (no one wants to be the last one one), summer has, as it often does, provided an opportunity for employees everywhere to re-evaluate their working life and adjust their priorities to tip the balance more in favour of being at home or working remotely, often outside of our major urban centres, where housing is more affordable.

There is no denying that staff retention has always been one of the biggest challenges facing businesses, particularly small businesses, given the considerable time and cost involved in finding suitable replacements, but the lingering covid effects have rendered what was already a challenging issue even more complex and is without doubt one of the main priorities facing small businesses as we open up again.

Thankfully, there are a number of measures that employers can apply to increase the likelihood of holding onto their staff long term;

1. Flexibility

It was something of an eye opener for many employees to observe that something that was seemingly to difficult to provide previously was suddenly manageable, and actually quite easy to facilitate when circumstances dictated – that of flexible working arrangements.

Employees who had been told time and again that it was not a workable arrangement for them to perform their role outside the office were very quickly given the opportunity to do so, but it was because it was the only option available to businesses to continue trading, rather than any willingness to make life easier for their workforce.

This left a bitter taste in the mouths of many employees who had previously been denied this type of arrangement. It has subsequently led to many of them handing in their notice rather than return to the workplace when ordered to do so following the cessation of the Covid restrictions.

Businesses could have easily avoided this scenario by offering that level of flexibility as a matter of course, not just when they have no other option. Now that a lot more of us have become accustomed to working from home, staff are increasingly demanding greater flexibility around where and when they perform their role. Those businesses that remain intransigent and refuse to offer this to their staff will have a much tougher task on their hands to retain their staff than the ones that do.

2. Growth & Development Opportunities

Regardless of the size of an organisation, a lack of opportunity for professional development or career advancement is also one of the most common reasons given by employees when asked why they decided to move on.

Having a good onboarding process for new staff is vital, as the establishment of a career development plan can and should form part of this onboarding process, so that every employee knows there is a path laid out for their career development within the business and there is no need to look elsewhere further down the track. The onboarding process should also offer the new hire the opportunity to provide feedback, so that any gaps in the onboarding process can be identified and addressed.

Remember, training doesn’t need to be expensive. Staff mentoring and the creation of a knowledge base where employees can share their experiences and expertise with their colleagues can be fairly inexpensive to set up. This can be a very valuable resource within any business, as it also helps to ensure that if a senior staff member does leave, the knowledge and experience they have accumulated is not all lost to the business.

To help ensure that development remains on track, have regular catch ups with staff and conduct annual performance reviews. These can offer insight into whether employees still feel that they have opportunities to advance their career within the organisation, and if not, the employer can do something to remedy that before the employee decides to look for it elsewhere.

3. Recognition

It is incredibly important to ensure that staff are valued within a business. This is especially true within smaller business, as having a smaller team means that individuals often need to be relied upon more heavily to cover for others when numbers are down due to illness or holiday leave. Employees that don’t feel valued will be less likely to go the extra mile to help the business out in times of need.

Recognising the contribution that an employee makes to the business with a salary that is commensurate to their value to the company, or at least in line with market expectations is essential. However, recognition doesn’t always need to be in the form of financial reward or other perks (although they certainly don’t hurt!). A simple thank you for a job well done is often all that it takes to build staff loyalty and goodwill. Having said that, it is also important for small business owners to share the company’s successes with their staff.

A team that shares in the company’s success and rallies together to get the business through the tough times is a team that is much more likely to stay together.

Disclaimer This article, and any information contained on our website is necessarily brief and general in nature, and should not be substituted for professional advice. Yellow Consulting does not accept liability for any loss or damage arising from reliance on the content of this blog, or from links on this website to any external website. You should always seek professional advice before taking any action in relation to the matters addressed.

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