It’s difficult not to sense even the smallest feeling of panic when a member of the team leaves. Especially when the business is starting out, the team is young and it feels very much like a family. Staff are an expensive asset, good staff are invaluable. However, with that in mind replacing any member of staff costs time and money; in fact the Wall Street Journal states, “Experts estimate it costs upwards of twice an employee’s salary to find and train a replacement.”
According to Tuckman’s Team Development Model, there are 4 stages to developing a successful team:
By consistently recruiting new team members, you are limiting the progress of the business by reverting back to the first ‘forming’ stage. High staff turnover can impact upon the morale of an established team and failing to repair the areas that are causing individuals to leave can leave long lasting damage to the bank balance and the reputation of a business. The best way to avoid this, is to be proactive in your approach shine a spotlight on your current or proposed staff retention processes. Find below 5 tips to help you in your retention efforts.
Tailor Your Recruitment Process
It’s vital that the quest to find employees that are worth keeping starts at the very beginning of the recruitment process. The way that businesses are recruiting is changing, there is a shift away from education and qualifications and a focus on a culture fit. If your team have a great relationship, recruiting a personality that will fit and cement this, or if you feel it is missing something then now is the time to find the missing piece.
Many businesses are asking questions about candidate’s values, working ethics and personal motivation to gauge the potential fit.
Nav Aulakh from AMZ Tracker explains their process,
“As a location independent Start-Up we have a very unique application process whereby we request applicants to submit a video about themselves as well as submit and show us projects that they’ve completed themselves and more. So these are the key things we looked for:
- Digital marketing background
- People who could point to and submit projects/work that they had completed
- Originality in skills and character – Our team and what makes it unique
One of the biggest things was the effort put into the application – one of our requests was to submit a video. Two people submitted the most awesome and creative videos, it was clear they had put in so much effort and they very quickly made the shortlist and as a result, both were hired. We had quite a long application process with quite a few steps but the idea behind this was to vet out those that didn’t bother completing it as it showed they weren’t really interested or serious about it.”
Focus on a Fair Package
While a competitive salary is very much on the agenda, there are other elements that will influence an employee’s decision on whether to jump ship. It seems that Google have set the bar high when it comes to a competitive benefits package, and many businesses are beginning to follow suit.
Health insurance, pension schemes and a regard for employee wellness are all areas that can help create a content member of staff. Other areas include flexible working, telecommuting and a leniency for paid time off for ill children.
Staff contracts and pay are fast coming under much public scrutiny. Gender Pay Gap reporting is being made mandatory but while undoubtedly raise a lot of questions in all businesses, regardless of size. All of the recent press can make the issue a little overwhelming, but these key notes from Paydata have whittled it down to the information that employers need to know. It’s not unheard of for businesses not to be operating on a linear pay scale or bonus scheme, causing unrest among staff who feel they are being treated unfairly and unequally, and will quickly look elsewhere for employment. The same goes for staff contracts, it really is worth ensuring that all contracts contain the same stipulations, allowances and rate of pay for overtime etc. to prevent discontent and a drop in morale.
Focus on Culture & Environment
It seems that many of us striving to achieve the ultimate work/life balance and are hell bent on creating a life that we don’t need to take a vacation from. For many years we have all worked by revolving our lives around our jobs making it the predominant force in our lives. This often leads to unhappiness and mounting stress as we try to juggle family life, children and other interests whilst trying to perform at 100%.
The culture and environment in our workplaces can have an enormous impact on our motivation and productivity. Teams that work well and bounce off each other must be given the time and opportunities to do just that as well as bond together. The energy within a workplace is often severely undervalued but can contribute the most to the levels of productivity, actionable tasks that raise and maintain staffs motivation and product should be high on the agenda of any business.
As well as being comfortable, well-lit and functional, your physical surroundings should reflect your company’s vision. Having your values and vision statement displayed in the workplace will reinforce the message and keep it at the forefronts of everyone’s minds, reminding them of their purpose within the business and that they matter.
Put an Emphasis on Progression
Progression can be achieved via continued training, reviews and internal hiring. The talent pool is widening and your staff will need to know that they will not become stagnant. Today’s generation are ambitious, determined and driven and need to be kept excited and energised in order to continue to gain their interest.
Regular reviews are a particularly useful activity; not just for the employer to raise the stakes but for the employee. Regular reviews allow us to step back and gain an objective, rather than subjective view and refocus our thoughts and efforts. Having a second opinion on our abilities and outputs can often lead to more efficient and valuable ways of working and the honing of skills. Don’t carry out reviews with solely your benefit in mind, conduct them with your employee’s progression and accomplishments in mind instead.
Consistent training in the form of reading materials, workshops or seminars is often offered and spoken about with good intention. In the majority of cases the notion fizzles out as the workload increases – but this is a mistake on 2 levels. One, if this is something that is offered and not followed through on, you can quickly lose an employee’s trust and interest and two; you are doing your business a disservice by not giving staff the opportunities to learn and improve. Whether it needs to be included into the business profiling with dedicated time each week or month, or it needs a budget allocated; ongoing training should be at the core of a business in order for the team and the company to continue to progress.
When it comes to hiring, there is nothing like snubbing a good employee to encourage them to jump ship. If you have a solid team member who is highly valued by both you, and the rest of the business that could potentially excel in a role, don’t overlook them in favour of new blood. Looking back to Tuckmans Model, bring in a new member of the team that may be “perfect” for the role could hinder performance progression by causing the team to revert back to the ‘forming’ stage. Internal hiring may bring them back to the ‘norming’ stage as everyone settles into new roles and responsibilities but this should be a far shorter period of time and less of a barrier to performance.
Leading a business is no mean feat. With so many people relying on you for direction and guidance, it’s easy to forget how much you in turn rely on your team – as a whole and as individuals. Remembering that employees are human beings goes a long way; congratulating them on their accomplishments, being genuinely interested in their thoughts and opinions and offering your full support when it’s needed will result in a loyal and hardworking team. As the saying goes ‘you have to spend money to make money’, but striving to spend money on strengthening and improving existing employees if far more savvy than spending it on recruiting time and again.