One of the important questions we always ask the candidates we interview is, “Why are you looking to move on?” We’re looking to find out what their motivations are and what they want from their next step, but of course from this we also end up with a good idea of how their current companies may have failed in keeping them engaged.
The average candidate we see in communications or digital moves jobs every 2-3 years. While you can never keep your staff around forever, there are some ways you can improve your retention rates.
How often do you check in with your team to find out if they still find their job scope challenging and rewarding (in the right measures)? This is not just something that you save for reviews, but an ongoing pulse check of whether people are still enjoying the bones of what they come into work every day to do.
A thoughtful and well delivered plan could save many a company from losing staff to competitors, or being squeezed to offer salaries that are higher than they’re comfortable paying. Deliver internally through your managers and agree with staff during their reviews where they might also benefit from external training. Whatever the level, every member of staff should still enjoy learning - it helps them feel more capable and equipped to deal with the challenges of their role.
Reviews help you work out how your staff are faring on the two points above. Where do they want to be heading, how can they get there? People tend to be more motivated by a journey towards a bigger goal where they can see progression and achieve wins along the way.
The little things really do add up! Making sure that people are comfortable, have a good work ambiance and an office that’s in a convenient place all scores you points when employees tot up their enjoyment of their job.
Culture is less mysterious to define than you may believe. It’s about setting goals for your organisation’s structural and emotional etiquette and helping each member of staff live them. Write down your company’s mission and values and assess all incoming candidates for their fit into those values, as well as technical skills. You’re then building a workforce with a shared culture that is set to your own vision.
This spins out from culture, and if you have a healthy culture you’re likely to have a sense of community. This means enjoying spending time with like-minded people and a management who fosters this with team events, rewards and socialising (occasionally on the company’s dollar!)
Last but not least. Too many companies think this is the most important point when it comes to retaining staff – but our feedback from candidates moving on will tell you it’s one of the least important areas. Sure, you have to keep in line with industry standards, but it’s making sure that you’ve covered points 1 – 6 so that you are not left with the often feeble tactic of giving people money to make them stay. Instead, give your company margins a break and work out some of the (often more thoughtful) strategies that ensure employee satisfaction and engagement and you’ll be the one benefiting from the loyalty that engenders.