Tips on Staff Retention

What do staff really want?

A survey conducted in January 2005 by Mercer HR Consulting found the main reasons for people wanting to change jobs are:

  • Lack of training
  • Lack of long-term career potential

The ‘What’s Working’ survey of working life in Australia found the key influences in job satisfaction for Australians were:

  • Being treated with respect
  • Achieving a satisfactory work-life balance
  • Culture
  • Quality of communications in the organization

Given these results, here are some suggestions to improve staff retention.

1. Rewards and Recognition

An attractive staff benefits and rewards package is a powerful tool for attracting and retaining the best workers.

People like to be acknowledged for their efforts and achievements.

Satisfaction is improved when staff understand how their pay and promotion is determined. Not everyone can get promoted, but as long as promotion decisions are based on merit and equity and are made clear to staff, then people usually accept this reality.

a. If salary sacrifice is available, make sure that staff understand the advantages and opportunities this gives them.  You may wish to arrange for the manager of the salary sacrifice program to meet with your employees to highlight such benefits.

b. Photo boards with staff pictures and names, photos of events including awards nights and so on, encourage participation and teamwork

c. Organise a lunch to recognize the special effort of a particular team.

d. Offer health checks to staff, or a more comprehensive wellness program, that offers such services as flu shots, diet advice, exercise classes, meditation, yoga, pilates, stop smoking programs, bike maintenance workshops.  You could also arrange for regular fruit deliveries to your team.  You could also start a walking club at lunchtimes.  You may be able to arrange discounted gym memberships to staff.

e. Arrange for an in-service on financial planning for all staff

f. Organise child care on site for staff

2. Good Management

The findings support the idea that people don’t leave companies, they leave managers.  When employees indicated that their manager encouraged two-way communication, nearly four in five said that they had no intention of leaving.  

3. Skills improvement and Career opportunities

Three in five employees who are given opportunities to improve their skills do not consider leaving their organization.  

Most organizations need to put more effort into career planning and skills training.

This may involve starting a mentor program, where senior staff can share their expertise and experience with junior staff.

Staff also need to share the knowledge they gain in courses and conferences by conducting workshops for their colleagues or providing summary notes and any relevant sources of information such as websites and journal references.

Discussion of career goals also needs to be a regular part of performance management.

4. Good Change Management

If change is handled well then staff are more likely to accept changes and work with managers during the change process.

Involving staff in the decision making process motivates them to help the change efforts.

Job sharing is one change initiative that can benefit managers and staff.  Two people sharing a full-time role can add value to the role through two sets of skills, two different perspectives, and provides accountability to each other for work done.

One easy way of seeking input from staff about what they believe needs to change and improve is developing a survey.

WARNING:  There is no point surveying your staff unless you genuinely want to improve conditions and worker satisfaction.

At Charleston Consulting, we offer a variety of services that can help your psychological needs. If you would like to learn more, please check out the Thrive Learning Program course which can help to improve your quality of life.

Feel free to send me an email and tell me what you think. I am happy to have a chat with you about how coaching psychology could help. 

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