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Talent Retention: How to Keep Hold of Your Best and Brightest

Switching jobs can be a stressful process for the employee and hiring new staff can be equally challenging for the employer, and yet this process is happening all the time. There are a number of reasons why people leave their jobs, ranging from a lack of career opportunities to poor financial rewards, but in the majority of these cases, the businesses affected would have preferred their staff to remain.

Talent Retention

For employers, the departure of an employee can provide a genuine setback. High levels of employee turnover greatly disrupt productivity as new members of staff have to be recruited and trained to replace those who have left. There’s also no guarantee that the new recruit will match the standards of the predecessor. The good news is that businesses can take steps to better retain their top employees and the following tips provide a useful starting point.

Hire better

The first step towards better talent retention is via improved employee acquisition. Many businesses recruit staff simply based on their ability to fulfil the job title being advertised. Do they have prior experience in this field and do they know how to use our software? Okay, let’s hire them!

The problem with this approach is that working for a company, particularly in the long-term, is about more than just completing your day-to-day tasks. Over time, a business will develop its own workplace culture and it’s important that new candidates fit in with this if they are to stick around long-term.

Make sure that the recruitment process is set up to vet a candidate’s suitability not only in terms of talent, but also personality. Are they likely to fit in with the company’s way of working and, perhaps more importantly, are they likely to get on with their colleagues?

More businesses are now tailoring their recruitment to consider these factors and those that do are likely to see improved talent retention further down the line.

Money, money, money

Job satisfaction is about a lot more than money, but it’s a good place to start. As financial markets recover and economies grow, businesses will start to see the job market become increasingly competitive. So it’s time to ask yourself, do you know how your employee salaries match up against your competitors?

The problem for businesses that don’t know how their pay scales compare is that your employees are unlikely to be kept in the dark for long. Whether by chatting to others who work in the industry, searching online, or through being headhunted by recruiters, they’ll soon discover whether their salary is up to scratch. Which is why this information is so important for talent retention.

Using a third-party company to perform salary benchmarking reports for your business is often the most accurate way of finding out where your pay levels stand within the wider industry. With this information at hand, businesses can ensure that their staff are rewarded appropriately and can better prevent their competitors from poaching their top talent.

The right environment

Left unchecked, workplace environments can quickly turn sour and this can be a key reason why employees leave. Management staff should remain aware of not only how their staff are performing in terms of productivity, but also how they are feeling at work.

Try to create an environment where employees can express themselves, but also critique the company in a constructive way. Communication is the key factor here and face-to-face interactions work particular well when trying to create an open, inclusive atmosphere at work.

Although a hands-on approach from managers is a good way to ensure that employees feel valued, remember that trust is also required if you want members of staff to remain at your company. Give your individual team members specific tasks that are suited to their strengths and simply let them get on with it. Make sure you’re available to help, but don’t try to micro-manage every situation. If an employee feels like he, or she, isn’t being trusted with important work, they’ll quickly move on to a company that will give them the responsibility that they crave.

Personal development

You have a healthy working environment, you pay well and your recruitment process is robust, but people are still leaving. Perhaps the reason is that your employees feel as though they are stagnating, simply treading water with little opportunity for development on the horizon.

Approximately one third of your entire life is spent working, so it’s understandable that staff need to feel as though they are going places in their job. This could be in the form of promotions and career development, but there are other ways that businesses can encourage personal growth.

Offering training programmes is a great way to ensure that your employees feel like they are progressing, particularly if you provide a broad range of schemes. By teaching new soft skills and transferable abilities, staff won’t simply feel as though you are trying to improve their performance in the workplace, they’ll feel as though they are becoming more well-rounded individuals. So why not talk to your staff and see if they would be interested in a personal development plan to keep them stimulated in work?

Reward good work

Getting away from the financial side, employees expect to be rewarded for doing a good job. There are many ways that this can be achieved, whether it’s by giving them lunch paid for by the company, treating everyone to a “dress-down Friday”, or simply giving an individual a well-earned pat on the back.

In terms of long-term motivation, the key to employee retention is simply creating an environment where staff feel as though their work has impact and that it is going noticed by senior members of staff.

Many companies now have weekly get-togethers where all member of staff are present and individual teams get to discuss the good work that took place over the last week. This approach helps to ensure that everyone feels valued and if you can achieve that at your business then your talent retention levels will only go from strength to strength.

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