staff retention

A growing skills shortage makes finding and keeping top talent a significant challenge. Methods that worked even a few years ago are no longer effective, thanks to evolving technology and a general change in employees’ attitude. All this means that HR executives have to find innovative ways to win loyalty and improve staff retention.

Although this responsibility predominantly rests with HR professionals, becoming an employer of choice and building staff loyalty depends very much on the company culture. Of course, culture management starts at the top tiers, from CEOs to executives and senior management who dictate the pace and define company values. HR is the link between C-suite executives and the existing workforce, as well as potential new recruits. That means that HR has to become a disruptor and a driving force of change.

The workplace environment must adapt to change

An outdated one-size-fits-all approach will not attract the best talent nor curb attrition. A lot needs to be done to adapt the workplace environment to meet the needs and expectations of employees.

Companies and departments differ, and so they attract specific types of people. Attraction, loyalty and staff retention practices and policies must be compiled with this in mind. They must be agile enough to allow employees to have choices and flexibility without tight constraints.

Accessible and transparent channels of communication have to be established to increase employee engagement. Today employees want to be heard, and they also want to be kept updated on what is happening.

To win employee loyalty, you must give recognition where it is due. Millennials are already dominating the workspace, and they are not willing to be just another payroll-number working towards a long service award.

Statistics estimate that Australian millennials will make up 75% of the workforce by 2025, so their expectations cannot be disregarded. Contrary to previous generations, millennials do not only consider salary when deciding to accept a job offer. Work-life balance features very highly on their list of priorities as does an organisation’s values. Millennials also have a strong drive to contribute to the success of their employer and to know that their efforts add value.

What attracts great staff?

Employer branding is crucial to attracting candidates that are right for your business. Creating your employer brand goes way beyond just details about your products and services and listing vacancies. People want to work for companies that are in alignment with their own personal values and aspirations.

Your employer brand must clearly state your company values, vision and define your future plans and goals on every platform where it is listed or advertised. Stay true to your principles! Being honest is vital because employees want to see that the employer brand image projected is the reality of the workplace environment.

Friendly job adverts, detailed job descriptions, easy application processes and open lines of communication are what makes the first impression. Your careers site and posts on job portals and social media are where most people will sum your employer brand up within seconds. Do it well and make it count!

There are many other creative ways to attract top talent to your company.

Losing Staff that do not fit the company vision is an opportunity

Nothing remains static, and neither do business goals or a company’s vision. As your business evolves to keep its competitive advantage, HR practitioners are becoming intrinsically involved in cultivating and maintaining a high-performance culture.

Unfortunately, many people resist change. Implementation of technology, in particular, is essential to maintain a competitive advantage, and some employees are unable or unwilling to adapt.  These employees can become troublesome because their attitude and performance can negatively impact their colleagues and even entire departments. Attrition, at this level, is an excellent opportunity to bring in new talent that is aligned with the company vision and goals.

What can managers do to foster loyalty?

Previously managements’ prime focus was on getting the best results and meeting targets through ensuring staff productivity. Nurturing and mentoring is not necessarily an innate trait of all management. HR needs to infiltrate the thinking of line and department managers to bring about change.

Innovation and creativity are essential, and HR must be the catalyst for introducing talent attraction efforts and employee benefits that will add value, and retain top employees. Different things appeal to different people. Offer benefits and incentives that have broad appeal and give employees a choice that will foster loyalty and increase retention.

Some examples include:

  • Reward and recognition, but the rules of reward and recognition must be well defined and implemented on an equal basis throughout your organisation.
  • Annual leave is an area that can easily be incentivised. Consider loyalty leave based on years of service. The longer the years of service, the more annual leave an employee accumulates. Flexible and extended paid paternal leave is another option.
  • Expert predictions rate creating a safe working environment that is free of bullying, sexism and all forms of harassments as essential in 2019. It has to be much more than just lip service! Employees must be encouraged and feel safe to speak out about any incidents. They must also know that there are policies and procedures in place that will not only hear but also address their concerns.
  • Mentorship and coaching, not only management has a massive impact on staff retention. Managers develop skills and offer guidance, whereas mentors go a step further. They are invested in employees’ future career growth. On the job mentorship and knowing that there are future prospects within a company is a valuable benefit for many employees.

Managers need to be developed to improve staff retention

Strong leadership is essential for staff retention, and staff retention is critical for business success. In these times of rapid change and market unpredictability, mangers need help if they are to be held responsible for the stability of their workforce.

Low retention figures, disengagement and constant conflict, has been identified as the core reasons why managers have to do more than just organise labour and workflow. iHR Australia’s management training, Stepping Up – Frontline Managers Program, ensures inexperienced managers understand that they have to be an effective leader, not just a supervisor to increase staff retention.

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