You probably already know that the most expensive aspect of recruitment is the replacement of lost talent that leaves the business for preventable reasons.

When a good person leaves we lose knowledge, it disrupts the harmony of the team, impacts negatively on production levels and incurs the replacement costs, that continue until the new individual is fully up to speed.

Here are 8 tactics that all businesses should encourage in order to improve staff retention.

  •     Recruit the right cultural fit
  •     Align work with behavioural preferences
  •     Provide proper support & Training
  •     Provide and support a career road map
  •     Review regularly
  •     Provide independent creative time
  •     Demonstrate you are listening to what they say
  •     Influence your own environment

Recruit the Right Cultural Fit

Research and statistics prove that more than 80% of people that leave a job in the first year of employment leave because of cultural or behavioural issues, not because they couldn’t do the job. It stands to reason then, that we need to get better at understanding what our culture is and recruit people that fit into it better. After all, these people are more likely to be happier, healthier, more productive and will subsequently stay longer. This for me is by far the biggest influencer on staff retention you can have and if you get this bit right at the very start, you will see measurable differences in attrition, for those in their first year of employment.

Align work with behavioural preferences

Do you actually know what tasks your staff prefer doing and do you capitalise on this, by giving them more of that type of work? People work harder and smarter when they are doing work that they are culturally aligned to do. Give people the wrong type of work and they become frustrated, disillusioned and can become a distraction to the people around them. If you take the time to discover what type of work someone is motivated to do, then you have the potential to get more out of them or potentially move them into an area where they can be more productive.

Provide Proper Support and Training

Employees like to feel valued and one great way to demonstrate this is to invest in them. Helping people to feel like they are developing, growing and extending their capabilities, will keep staff engaged and satisfied that they are not stagnating in the job. Encouraging staff to embrace training opportunities also helps the business by extending the capabilities of staff and widens the available skill sets available to the business.

Provide and Support a Career Road map

Research proves that by providing clear goals and direction to individuals, especially in the early days of a person’s career, will not only help those people to stay focused and productive, but also contributes towards retention. The best people will naturally rise to the challenge of working towards the next step on the corporate ladder. Research into exit interviews has established that over 20% of all people leaving a job indicated that career progression opportunities was the primary motivating factor in deciding to move on.

Review regularly

Monthly reviews or appraisals are an essential element in staff retention. They are a great opportunity to review the work completed in the previous month, contribute to work that they are currently involved with and help to plan, prioritise and strategize the work in the month ahead.

Constructive critique and positive appraisal of good work costs the business nothing and yet contributes more towards job satisfaction than most other elements.

A quarterly appraisal of the individual’s progress against their annual business plan also ensures that good staff not only meet the requirements of the business as well as achieve their individual targets and meet their true potential.

Provide independent creative time

If you have never watched Daniel Pink’s animated video on The surprising truth about what really motivates us, I can recommend it as essential viewing. There is a section in this video that talks about the logic and the advantages of giving staff creative time to express themselves. Having done this ourselves for the last few years I can confirm that not only do the team enjoy this creative time, but they also come up with some really cool and innovative ideas.

Pink talks about the 3 primary motivators that lead to personal satisfaction as 1/ Autonomy, in order to drive engagement and self-direction 2/ Mastery, in order to drive and encourage personal development and learning and 3/ Purpose, to drive an individual through the belief that they have in what they are doing as meaningful.

Demonstrate you are listening to what they say

You do not have to act upon every suggestion that your staff make, but it is vitally important that you listen intently. When we speak of company culture, I believe passionately that your company culture is exactly what your staff say about you. Given the right conditions your staff can drive the positive cultural identity of your business.

Many companies demonstrate their appreciation for ideas that are subsequently implemented with rewards or public acknowledgement.

Influence your own environment

It sounds ridiculous to even say it, but Management and the business itself have the power to influence the environment that they want to create. Establish where you want it to be and then establish what will motivate the staff to help make it happen.

It is important to get the existing staff’s input on what environment and culture they would like to work in and if it is realistic and practical a compromise can sometimes be reached to work towards this in return for meeting the businesses goals.

About the Author

Mark Stephens has worked within the recruitment sector for nearly 20 years both in-house and agency side and more recently within the technology environment.

Mark is a serial entrepreneur and is the founder of Smart Recruit Online, the Recruitment Alliance and The HR & Recruitment Resource Library.

Mark has dedicated his time since 2007 researching the online recruitment sector from a user, technology, and candidate perspective and is regularly published and quoted by leading industry publications for his research and personal opinions.

Connect with Mark Stephens on LinkedIn.