Ten things you can do today to keep staff

Brace yourself, we’re heading for that time of year again! It’s a fact, January sees up to a 40 per cent increase in people searching online for a new job.

By Metis HR.

Why do they start to look? Because something is lacking in their current job.

So what can you do to keep staff?

The five most common reasons people look to move jobs are

Job stability - People’s needs are changing. What people are looking for now is to work for an organisation that has a plan, an organisation that seems to know where it’s going and offers some job stability

Money – it’s not rocket science, as unemployment falls, people can afford to be pickier about where they work, and they can hold out for more money. If they’re working somewhere where they’ve not had a pay rise for the last couple of years watch out, as the economy picks up people expect to receive better pay.

Respect – have you heard of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs? If not, find out about it, it really is true! It’s another blindingly obvious fact that if people feel that they’re earning enough to satisfy their basic needs, keep a roof over their heads etc, the next thing they want is to feel valued. Employees want to be recognised for the contribution they have made. That doesn’t mean they necessarily want to be paid more, nor does it necessarily mean they want to be made Employee of the Month but they do want to be recognised as making a contribution

Health Benefits – as more pressure is placed on the NHS and people may be waiting longer for appointments to deal with painful conditions that affect their quality of life, people are looking for workplace health benefits that will help them.

Work Life Balance – at one time more sought after by females, work life balance initiatives are fast becoming more sought after by an even split between the genders. It’s not that people want to work less, they want to work differently to help them balance the demands of work and personal lives and improve their overall quality of life.

So, what can you do to keep staff? Review how you work and make some simple changes, many of them won’t even cost you money!

  1. Communicate your plans for the business with staff on a regular basis. Let them know what the business targets are and how they fit into the grand plan.
  2. Set individual targets designed to help achieve the organisations targets so that each employee can see how what they are doing fits into the grand plan.
  3. Involve staff in coming up with new ways of saving money/increasing productivity/developing new products. Have a look at what Dan Pink shows can be achieved by freeing up staff to think more creatively about what they do at work
  4. Hold regular one-to-one meetings where you review individual performance against targets and make the effort to recognise good performance when it’s been delivered.
  5. Make cash plans available to staff that contribute to the cost of physiotherapy, subsidises the cost of dental treatment, new glasses etc. They don’t have to cost the organisation anything, other than the time to set them up, but offer great benefits to staff. If an employee can claim back £450 of expenditure a year for an outlay of £120 that can be equated to the equivalent of a pay rise, it’s additional money in the employee’s pocket as a result of working in your organisation.
  6. Consider introducing salary sacrifice schemes which allow costs for such things as child care vouchers to be taken out of gross wages, cost savings to both the employee and employer.
  7. If an employee has done something significant make the effort to thank them. A personal letter of thanks that the employee can show to family and friends (the very people that often egg them on to change their job) is a simple but highly effective move to keep staff.
  8. Maximise PR for company achievements. Articles in local media and awards won are all ways of improving the image of your organisation in the local community, as an organisation that’s going places/achieving things. This kind of external recognition of what the organisation does can have real impact on the pride that people feel about working for your organisation, they become proud to be associated with you and therefore more likely to stay longer.
  9. Can you be more flexible in the working patters that you offer people? Do they have to work 9-5 or is it only imperative that they are on site between 10 and 3 as core time but they can choose whether they then work 10 – 6 or 8 – 4? Could you accommodate them working four long days instead of 5 ordinary days (compressed hours)?
  10. Conduct an annual staff survey (anonymous responses give you the best data). Find out how you staff feel about working in your organisation, do they know what’s expected of them, how do they feel that the organisation communicates them, what would they like the organisation to do differently?
You are always going to have some staff who want to move on to pastures new but it makes business sense to keep staff that you’ve invested a lot of time, money and effort in getting them to be a productive member of your team. Why would you want to just hand over that investment you’ve made to a competitor without a fight? It’s never easy to keep staff, it takes effort but it doesn’t always have to cost money.