If 2021 was the year of the “Great Reshuffle”, 2022 is shaping up to be the same. Losing great people from your business is difficult at the best of times but in a market where finding, attracting and engaging highly skilled people is difficult, the effects often will be felt in every part of the business.
I hear some of you thinking, why would a recruitment company write a blog to help me to retain staff? At Jonathan Lee Recruitment, many of our clients have worked with us over years and some even decades and we find the most rewarding part of our role is to see the people we place flourish, adding value to their employer, growing and developing their careers and nurturing new talent in their turn.
Since the middle of 2021, we have seen demand for skills in engineering, manufacturing and advanced technology spike sharply, with huge competition for the best candidates with the right skills for the future. A spate of resignations can have a huge effect on the morale of those left, resulting in lower productivity, the last thing any business leader wants, especially if the investment you have made in developing your top talent comes to nothing.
So to help you get serious about retention, we’ve come up with 5 things to think about when you are putting together a strategy to protect your business.
1. Are they the right people?
There might be a very simple reason that you are losing staff and it can be a bitter pill to swallow for some leaders. Have you ever considered whether you are hiring the right people to start with? Hiring people who truly fit your business starts with the recruitment process. Have you really considered what you need now and how that role will develop over the next 2-3 years and beyond?
Have a slick and robust recruitment process. Work with the right partners who really understand you and can take your culture and needs out to the candidate market. Make sure you know what you are offering, why people should invest their career with you. It’s also important to have a structured and consistent interview process so that you can really evaluate candidates on an even playing field and when you find the one? Keep in touch with them through the notice period, make them feel wanted and welcome and you will be better placed to avoid counter offers.
2. Best foot forward
You do not get a second chance at a first impression so make sure that you have planned before the new hire arrives. A proper onboarding process will ensure that every new recruit gets the best possible start when they join the business. It will introduce them to their colleagues, make them comfortable, introduce the business, culture and processes in a structured way and provide a great foundation for a strong and long-term relationship.
3. Keeping the connection
How connected are your existing employees to your business? Do they feel that they are part of the big picture? Do they understand how their role affects the business performance and how they can make a contribution or a difference?
Employee engagement is a really important factor in stopping your top talent looking for new pastures. This is engagement across the business, top down communications from the leadership, team meetings, briefings, focus groups and social events all contribute to engagement and to staff wellbeing.
4. It’s not all about the money
Our data shows that whilst salary is a major factor in decisions about a change of job, it is not the most important consideration. Work/life balance and flexibility are what people crave more than just pound notes. Free tea and coffee, fresh fruit in the kitchen, subsidies for gym memberships and other small benefits can keep people really engaged. Having flexible work patterns, well-being initiatives and a healthy approach to work/life balance are all key factors in deciding whether to remain with an employer.
Try to ensure you pay people as much as you can afford to, based on their performance, experience and time with the company. It won’t go unnoticed that you are being fair. If you have to offer a huge pay rise as a counteroffer, that tells your employee that you have been getting away with paying them less than they are worth.
5. Plan for personal and professional growth
Staff will feel valued if they can see that that you are invested in them and their future and again this is not about money, it is about providing opportunities for learning, development and training.
With the advent of the digital age, it is easier than ever to access these opportunities and they can take many forms, from traditional academic or vocational qualifications, personal development and coaching, to skills development and practical courses either locally or remotely, for individuals or for teams.
Nobody ever complained that their employer was too interested in their personal development and consider the business benefit; if your staff have the latest knowledge, the best tools and training, it gives you an edge over the competition and another selling point for your customers.
Unless there are serious, fundamental problems within your business, more likely than not your people want to stay with you. You just need to ensure you are giving them a good enough reason not to leave! In the most competitive candidate market we’ve experienced for many years, there are certainly opportunities available to anyone looking to switch jobs. So take retention seriously, begin as you mean to go own and if you are not sure what your employees really think, why not ask them?