Blow your Retention Targets out of the Water

Welcome to this two minute HR blast.

With the job market hotting up and organisations looking to move forwards, it must surely be time to start reminding managers how to keep hold of their valued staff.

Some employees and even some leaders, are of the opinion that managers should be born knowing how to retain good staff and that motivating and engaging staff is easy peasy. Most though, know that it can be nigh on impossible at times to keep everyone sufficiently motivated and engaged that they don’t even want to look around for other jobs.

What managers often don’t know

  • How much influence individual managers actually have over retention rates.
  • That people tend to quit because of their managers, not because of the organisation or their jobs.
  • Staff get disgruntled if colleagues who are under performers are poorly managed.
  • The difference between motivation and engagement and what that means for cracking the retention issue.
  • Employees often want their manager to talk to them about their career opportunities – not just about whether they are performing in the current job.
  • Money is seldom the primary motivator and bonuses seldom motivate.

What managers can do

  • Take this issue seriously.
  • Take the time to learn how to motivate and engage teams.
  • Set the standard in their own organisation, rather than wait for the senior leaders to do that.
  • Measure retention in their own teams and set their own targets (in the absence of any organisational targets).
  • Talk to their staff more, listen to their staff more.
  • Be more visible.
  • Spend equal time on their whole team, not just those they like or tend to gravitate towards.

What organisations can do to make it easier for managers

  • Develop a retention strategy – less than 50% of organisations have one.
  • Put money into developing managers knowledge and confidence in this area.
  • Reward and publicly thank managers who are successful at motivating, engaging and retaining their teams.
  • Ask leaders to set the example of how people are treated.
  • Educate finance teams about the cost repercussions of not valuing staff to ensure decisions about benefits and head count etc. are better informed.
  • Take succession planning seriously, this can be of huge benefit when seeking to engage and retain great staff.

Why both managers and organisations should bother

  • Money, money, money.
  • Engaged staff are more productive.
  • Motivated staff create less conflict.
  • Successful staff retention reduces recruitment fees.
  • Happy staff raise fewer complaints and bring fewer grievances.
  • Greater retention rates mean that knowledge and skills are kept in the business which result in better customer service and continuity.

Want to develop a retention strategy?

Perhaps the following ideas about retaining staff will help…

The workplace
Is there a clear and shared vision for the organisation, are there appropriate procedures and policies in place, is the health and safety of employees considered, is employee welfare viewed as important, is the physical environment a comfortable place to work in, are the hours of work fair and manageable, do staff have the right equipment to be able to do their jobs?

The People Culture
Are staff respected and equally do staff respect their mangers, their colleagues and their leaders? Do staff feel valued, Do staff feel able to ask questions, are they listened to when they do ask, are they seen as individuals or just numbers? Is bullying quickly addressed, are conflicts rapidly resolved, is there open communication? Is there a system in place for supporting staff who are stressed? Is there an attitude of flexibility towards addressing individuals’ needs?

Is the culture one of ‘tell’ or one of ‘lets discuss’, are there regular meetings with staff to understand their work and what support they need, is there a blame culture when things go wrong, or instead a learning culture to ensure things go right next time? Do managers act as coach or act as discipline giver? Is support encouraged across the team with everyone expected to support everyone, or is it more a case of who can stab who in the back and get away with it? Are the organisational leaders and managers visible and accessible and do they live and breathe the people culture?

Development and Career Planning
Is there a clear route and process for developing careers or is the focus more on just what skills the job requires? Do staff regularly get an opportunity to discuss their career ambitions and understand how the organisation can support with that? Does everyone have a learning plan or learning objectives? Does the organisation have a training budget? Are there opportunities for training both within and outside the organisation? Is there a learning culture across the team? Is learning rewarded and praised?

Pay and benefits
Is this competitive with your competitors? Do staff understand the value of the benefits they receive? Are bonuses or rewards structured in such a way that they motivate and engage staff? Is pay paid promptly and regularly without need for the employee to ask or chase. Are any elements of pay and benefits that can be seen to be demotivating at times, removed or reworked before they become a negative influence? Is pay for performance carefully and professionally managed? Is your rewards package flexible and varied to stimulate and motivate employees in a variety of ways?

We hope the above has provided some food for thought for managers seeking to retain the good staff in their teams.

If you would like any support with motivating, engagement or retention please do get in touch or otherwise, why not pre order our next Bag of Learning that is about to hit the shelves: Motivating, Engaging and Retaining Staff – a 12 hour course split into modules that vary in length between 30 minutes and 1 hour 30. Amazing value at just £1,000 + VAT if you pre-order before Friday 24th October 2014. If interested, email us.

The information contained within this article is for general guidance only and represents our understanding of employment and associated law and employee relations issues as at the date of publication. Jaluch Limited, or any of its directors or employees, cannot be held responsible for any action or inaction taken in reliance upon the contents. Specific advice should be sought on all individual matters.

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