Here for the long-run: key strategies for retaining staff

Joe Caccavale

19

May

2019

|

5

minute read

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How long a company hangs on to its employees says a lot about it. Those with a staff turnover rate akin to that of the White House are likely to be having problems (sorry, Donald, but it’s true), whilst those with veterans in the ranks are probably sailing steady to success. 

Keeping hold of people has multiple benefits. It helps an organisation create a real sense of community, develop expert company knowledge, and increase efficiency, to name but a few. 

With job hopping on the rise, how can companies keep their best talent from jumping ship? In this post, we take a look at key strategies for retaining your staff. 


Getting off on the right foot 

Before you even think about how to get staff to stay, you should be considering how they’re hired in the first place. A smart recruitment process finds the best person for the job by focusing on how they perform in activities they’d actually do in the role. It sounds so obvious but more often than not,often recruitment is based on arbitrary aspects such as where someone went to university (if at all!), what their job history is, and even how they look (!?!?). 

Blind hiring takes all of this out of the equation and puts the emphasis on the stuff that matters, such as ability in relevant tasks and values shared with the company, both of which have been shown to be more reliable indicators of future success for candidates. By prioritising competency and values over background and experience right from the off, you’ll be more likely to find a competent candidate who’s in for the long-haul. 

Money, money, money… 

A lot of the time, the matter of staff retention comes down to cold, hard cash. Regardless of how much they might love the job and their team, the size of their pay packet can still play a big part in making them move on. According to research conducted by Monster, more than a third of UK workers move jobs for higher pay. 

If you want them to stick around for longer and grow with your company, there are a couple of things to remember. Firstly, it’s important to be clear what the salary is for a particular role from the very beginning; our advice is to include it in your job ad. Not only does this show that your company is pretty transparent about pay structures, it also sets expectations going forward. 

As employees get settled in their roles, we’d also recommend getting regular salary reviews down in the diary. A meeting once every 6 months or so helps you to give feedback on how they’re doing. It also gives people the chance to voice any concerns over pay before they start looking for more lucrative opportunities elsewhere. 

Calm vibes 

Money pays the bills, but it doesn’t necessarily make the day job more enjoyable. What does, though, is company culture. The latest stats from the Job Exodus 2020 report by Investors in People show that the majority of job-changers (77%!) last year felt under serious stress in their previous roles. What contributed to this, according to the report, was a poor work/life balance and a hostile working environment. 

Changing the culture of a company to improve staff retention is certainly not an overnight job; you can’t just buy some beanbags and book a monthly meditation session to make people stay. Culture change is a long-term project that requires a shift in mindset right from the top of the pecking order. When employees see management taking steps to look after their own wellbeing and create a more inclusive work environment, they’ll feel liberated to do so themselves. 

The topic of creating a better working atmosphere is huge and can’t be given justice in this post, but the fundamentals are clear enough. Workers are more likely to stay with a company that trusts them, gives them flexibility when needed, and empathises with them through the ups and downs of everyday life. 


Invest in development and opportunities 

If an employee doesn’t feel like they’re getting anywhere with their current company, they’ll soon move on. This doesn’t always mean regular promotions and pay-rises (though this can help), but more a willingness on the part of the company to invest in their future through training. A study down a couple of years ago by LinkedIn found that as many as 93% of employees would consider sticking with their company if it offered them better opportunities for professional development. 

What does this mean practically? Well, you could help them to bolster their soft skills like communication and time management through in-house courses, or get their hard skills up to scratch (everyone says they can do a VLOOKUP, but can they really?). If you show your employees that you’re thinking about their long-term future, they might just hang around long enough to share it with you. 

Hiring the best people is difficult enough to start with, and getting them to actually stay can be even more of a challenge. For the companies that keep their employees coming back year after year, the benefits are obvious – greater job satisfaction, a better sense of community, and improved results all await.

Struggling to retain staff? The best place to start, as they say, is at the beginning. Applied helps companies to improve their hiring processes by using AI to remove unconscious bias from decisions. The result is a more streamlined recruitment process that brings out the most competent, value-aligned candidates who are in it for the long term... Compared to a national average of ~80% across the UK, 96% of candidates hired through Applied are still in their job a year after joining. Curious? Request a free demo to see how our software works, and how your company could benefit from it.