7 Tips for Improving Retention

7 Tips for Improving Retention

by Mike Wilson | AUGUST 2017

How many of your employees are thinking about leaving?  It is probably more than you think.  According to a recent Gallup poll 60% of millennials are open to a new job opportunity (45% for non-millennials).  Due to the cost of recruiting and on-boarding replacement staff, businesses need to think more about how to keep the people they have.  Here are our thoughts on how to improve retention in your business, starting at the recruitment stage.

  1. Recruitment – Think Cultural Fit

    Have you ever recruited someone who has all the skills and experience you are looking for but turns out to have the wrong attitude, perhaps disrupting existing staff?  Instead, recruit candidates who have the right attitude.  Skills and knowledge can be learnt.  Also look for a cultural fit with morals as well as attitude.  If an employee does not share the values of your company then they may be asked to do something that conflicts with their values.  This results in stress, disengagement and loss of productivity.  Reinforce corporate culture through continuous communication and recognise behaviours that align with your culture.

  2. Be wary of Intuition when Interviewing

    Nobel Prize winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman discusses this in his bestselling book “Thinking, Fast and Slow”.  He says;

  3. “Suppose that you need to hire a sales representative for your firm.  If you are serious about hiring the best possible person for the job, this is what you should do.  First, select a few traits that are prerequisites for success in this position (technical proficiency, engaging personality, reliability, and so on).  Don’t overdo it – six dimensions is a good number.  The traits you choose should be as independent as possible from each other, and you should feel that you can assess them reliably by asking a few factual questions.  Next, make a list of questions for each trait and think about how you will score it, say on a 1-5 scale.  To evaluate each candidate, add up the six scores.  Firmly resolve that you will hire the candidate whose final score is the highest, even if there is another one whom you like better.”

    Intuition is less reliable than this because it can be influenced by factors such as mood, tiredness and appearance.  Don’t forget to put extra emphasis on a good cultural fit.

  4. Make a good first impression

    Amazingly, 1 in 25 employees leave on their very first day (HR Tech Weekly, August 2016) and 21% of millennials say they have changed jobs within the past year (Gallup, May 2016).  Make new recruits feel welcome from the outset by making their first day fun, interactive and friendly.  Build on this by mapping out clear goals over the first few months and never assume that new employees know everything when they join. Read the full article about on-boarding from HR Tech Weekly here.

  5. Personalise Your Benefits

    Your employees are individuals with different needs and will value benefits depending on their circumstances.  Offer a flexible benefits scheme to enable each employee to shape the package that really works for them.  When managing employee choices using software, simplicity of design and user experience will maximise success.  To further emphasise the value of core benefits, such as pensions, you must educate your workforce through clear communication.  A recent survey by Reed found that over half of respondents who receive a workplace pension say this is a key reason to stay with their current employer.  Make sure they hear from you about the long-term benefits of your company pension and personalise the message where possible.

  6. Live values don’t just talk about them

    Motivational slogans like “Walk in your customer’s shoes” or “Empower yourself” will only demotivate if your line managers don’t help with customer complaints or micro manage.  Failing to adhere to high-level values like “Caring for our communities and our environment” can cause even greater disengagement from staff as this famous resignation letter from a disgruntled employee of Whole Foods demonstrates.

  7. Encourage Openness

    “Loneliness is not being alone, it’s the feeling that no-one cares”.  A key contributor to happiness at work is knowing that your employer cares about your opinion.  Promote this feeling in your workforce by addressing the 2 main reasons why employees don’t speak up, a sense that saying something won’t make a difference, and a fear of the consequences for themselves.  Read more from the Harvard Business Review on this topic here.

  8. Motivation

    Be very careful when you decide to motivate your staff by offering financial rewards for good results.  This may work well for mechanical, mundane tasks but research has shown that in roles that require cognitive skill, reward leads to a reduction in performance.  Don’t believe me?  Then watch this.  The key point to remember is that an employee who is motivated by a desire to do a good job or to contribute to something meaningful will perform better and feel real job satisfaction.  Better for them and better for your business.

We would love to hear how you tackle retention in your business, so get in touch for a chat.


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