The skills needs of organisations are increasing, driven by changes such as new technology, global markets, social change, competitive activity, and ever-increasing performance pressure.
This means the need to retain talented staff who’ve developed in line with your organisational goals is more important than ever. With employees being able to access thousands of job opportunities at the click of a button, what’s going to make the good ones stick around?
1. One size doesn’t fit all
While some employee needs are universal, including decent working conditions, a good culture, and fair treatment, many strategies are specific to one or more types of employee. The needs of a 55 year-old middle manager are unlikely to be the same as an up-and-coming 23 year-old graduate.
Similarly, a parent with pre-school children will likely have very different priorities to a 48 year-old empty-nester or a single 29 year-old with no dependants. Consequently, you need to ensure there is a range of reasons to stay, with something that works for everyone.
2. It isn’t just about the money
While remuneration is clearly important (how could you expect to achieve high levels of performance when paying below average wages and probably attracting below average people?), if you focus solely on that you’ll be missing the point.
A valued staff member might leave for more money, but only if they are already feeling undervalued or see no future. If they are happy, it will take a lot to shift them, so seek to fulfil all aspects of your people’s needs; wellbeing, recognition, opportunities, development, interesting work, and a welcome challenge might all trump basic salary.
Cynics often say, ‘you wouldn’t come to work if you didn’t get paid’, which is also missing the point by a country mile. What about all the people who travel to war zones to help displaced families? Volunteers at stately homes? Unpaid staff in charity shops? Money will be in almost everyone’s top three, but it’s often the other major factors that make all the difference, so make sure you look at all the top reasons for someone to work at your organisation.
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3. People leave managers, not just companies
Many reports stress a bad boss as a significant reason for seeking alternative employment. A recent survey by Investors in People revealed that at the beginning of 2016, 49% of people were considering leaving their job within the next year. 43% gave poor management as the reason for dissatisfaction with their job. It’s clear, then, that the relationship with a line manager has a massive impact on an employee’s day and their well-being.
Look at the list of things that matter to an employee in section 2; how many of these are directly affected by the line manager? Answer: all of them. Make sure your leaders and managers at all levels are professionally trained and capable people-managers. It makes all the difference. You can use our leadership quiz to start to get an idea of what kind of leader you are, and what kind of impact this could have on your people.
4. Make sure your working conditions are among the best
Ensure working conditions are among the best in your sector, in your geographical area, and for different specialist roles.
Organisations often ‘sweeten the deal’ by increasing salaries for hard-to-recruit posts, causing existing staff to feel undervalued and disgruntled. Asking new staff to keep their terms a secret is pointless, and it will become known sooner or later. It might be better to consider ways in which you can improve the lot of all your people instead.
Many find that the best way to attract talented new recruits is via existing talent. Such people are probably well connected on social media and through other networks, and will be great advocates of your organisation, as long as they believe it to be a great organisation to work for. So do they? How do you really compare to the other organisations competing with you for the best people?
5. Not just 8.30 to 5.30
These days, especially for specialists and those in leadership roles at any level, the job tends to extend way beyond the boundaries of ‘normal working hours’. Recent surveys have shown that the average manager works closer to 60 hours a week than 40, and the tyranny of the phone and email makes it even worse.
You have a responsibility for your people’s lives. Not just at work, but beyond. How well are you looking after your people? How much do you really care about their health, wellbeing, and work-life balance? I mean really care, not just know you need to do something about it. People can tell.
There are many issues to consider if you want to attract and retain good people, but you have one big advantage. You.
You know how you feel, what matters to you, how you are treated, and how it feels. Use that to ask the right questions of others, and formulate a holistic strategy for getting and keeping the people that will make your organisation fly.
To start becoming the leader you need to be, find out about our CMI leadership mentoring programmes.