By Corporate English Solutions

29 March 2022 - 09:36

An employee writes at her desk with a smile on their face.

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Although staff attrition can be due to circumstances beyond management’s control, some simple changes can help reduce staff churn, and ensure they continue to perform well. We share 5 staff retention strategies to help your organisation.

 

With the phenomenon of the recent 'Great Resignation', companies are experiencing unprecedented employee turnover, and the cost of attrition - advertising, recruiting and training - can be staggering.

It is often said that staff don’t leave companies, they leave managers. If an organisation wants to reduce staff attrition rates, they must consider how they can support their staff and accommodate their needs, so they benefit from a happier, more productive staff. 

1. Support staff through change

The global pandemic has caused huge changes for businesses, and everyone involved in them from senior managers to junior staff. Whilst change always has been and always will be inevitable, the current level of disruption is such that if leaders want to reduce resignation rates, they need to up their game and provide the pragmatism and reassurance that staff seek.

Managers should show that they empathise with the concerns raised by staff, and that they appreciate the efforts staff are making during these uncertain times.

More importantly, they need to prepare staff for change, and help them cope. Failure to deliver effective turnover management can result in staff feeling anxious, stressed, and in the dark. The next logical step for such staff is to find an employer who understands the importance of staff retention.

2. Have regular and meaningful meetings

Companies with high retention rates are good at communicating with staff. Workers need to feel that managers value their efforts, and at times of uncertainty, just the annual performance review is not enough.

While people already have a lot on their minds, it may be difficult for them to keep their focus on long-term goals. Instead, managers should consider setting shorter-term goals and having more frequent one-to-one meetings.

Meetings like this can also be used as an opportunity to let staff talk about whatever is on their mind. Maybe they have an idea they’d like to discuss, or perhaps they’re interested in taking on more responsibility. Even if they have personal issues they need to talk about, using these meetings as a platform can help them feel supported which will encourage them to stay and boost the staff retention rate. 

3. Give rewards and perks that matter

Money is not always the greatest motivator, and attempting to reduce staff attrition with salary increases usually only works in the short term.

To expect high employee retention, organisations should also consider a range of motivating perks to suit a wider range of needs. Providing things like gym membership, yoga or language classes, tells staff that their employer takes their personal development and well-being seriously.

A perk such as training is especially cost-effective in decreasing employee turnover. People constantly need to upskill in order to do their jobs to the best of their abilities. It can boost their self-worth and make them feel valued as their employers invest in them.

The amount of investment an employer makes in training depends a lot on the size of the business, but even a small organisation should be able to fund some online training courses as well as giving staff the time they need to undertake training. Whatever the cost of training, it is likely to be far lower than the cost of turnover. 

4. Recognise staff achievements

Organisations experiencing high staff turnover may be failing to recognise the achievements of their workers.

When an employee works hard, they deserve genuine gratitude. Acknowledgement of what the staff member did and how it benefited the organisation shows that the boss truly understands the significance of the worker’s efforts and can have a massive impact on morale and staff retention.

Managers might consider setting up a rewards system so that staff know what kind of efforts generate recognition and can act accordingly.

In addition, acknowledging certain events, whether personal or work-related, can also show staff that they matter. Wishing someone a happy birthday in front of the rest of the team costs nothing but can mean so much. Praising a member of staff for exceeding a sales target or doing well is a low-cost way to reduce staff turnover.

5. Embrace flexible working 

One reason for the 'Great Resignation' is because employers fail to embrace flexible ways of working. Staff often have busy lives outside of work, possibly young families or elderly parents to care for. To ensure that they continue to experience job satisfaction, managers can offer flexibility. 

When managers do this, their staff are more inclined to return the favour. That’s good for increasing the staff retention rate and for reducing the cost of staff turnover.

The pandemic resulted in thousands of office staff working from home as a temporary measure. But and it also meant that many people rejected a return to the office having discovered the benefits of remote working. Rather than arriving at their desks already exhausted after spending hours on the daily commute, they were able to start the day full of energy. Employers who are concerned about the cost of high employee turnover need to recognise this. 

Of course, certain circumstances can mean that permanent remote working presents difficulties. In such cases, it may be possible to introduce a four-day working week or take a blended approach where staff attend the office for one or two days a week and work remotely for the remainder.

Demonstrating flexibility and an openness to trying new approaches is a valuable employee retention technique as it sends a message to staff that the manager values them and can reduce staff turnover.

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