Staff retention is one of the most important responsibilities of being a manager or business owner. With more open IT positions than there are skilled professionals to fill them, it’s never been more important to make sure your staff retention processes and efforts are as effective as they can be.
At Dynamic we speak almost exclusively to people who aren’t happy in their jobs. In fact one of the first questions we ask is “Why do you want to leave your job?”: And the answers we hear are always the same, and they’re always preventable. So we’re sharing with you the most common reasons we hear about why people leave their jobs, so you can avoid them.
- 11 Tips For Staff Retention
- Why Your Staff Are Leaving
- The Importance of Staff Retention
- What To Do When Your Staff Retention Efforts Fail
11 Tips For Staff Retention
1. Be Transparent With Progression
Progression can mean more than simply a lateral promotion: Continual training and development throughout an employee’s career, external and internal training, support for paid certification: These are the things we see our best clients offering their employees.
Regular investment in and providing people the opportunities for training in themselves eliminates employees’ perceived need to leave to learn new skills: And it’s important to make employees aware that this personal development is available by asking for it.
But to others, progressing upwards in their career is what is most important. So it’s important to evaluate your own hierarchical structure. What room is there for upwards progression? And what do your staff need to do to achieve this?
Setting targets for what people need to do to reach this next level makes progression a tangible reality and something to strive for. What skills do they need to learn? What do they need to achieve in their work? Your employees are less inclined to leave when they know the route of their progression, and know how far along they are in it: They don’t want to throw away months or years of work towards their promotion.
2. Have Regular Conversations About Salary
Surprisingly, the second most important to your employees satisfaction at work is salary. And regular salary increases or evaluations show your recognition of your employees continuing work and increasing value to the business.
“As business owners, we like to conduct regular salary reviews to let our team keep moving forward, keep them progressing and stop them stagnating in terms of wages and in terms of their work.
You shouldn’t think of it as “the cost of paying your staff more”. Instead you should consider the “cost of projects not being completed on time”, or the “cost of not being able to secure new business opportunities”. Because this is the reality of losing too many staff.”
Adam Law, Sales Director, Dynamic Search Solutions
Our best clients have regular salary reviews, yearly or even progression reviews every six months if you’re working in an industry with a faster turn around.
3. Recognise and Reward Hard Work
It’s important to have the processes in place so that you can recognise when your team or individual members are delivering a good level of work. And then rewarding this work is what leads to appreciation, and to employees who like their work and work hard.
Because if you don’t recognise and reward the hard work of your team, you can bet that there are businesses that will.
4. Show That You Care
Ask your employees if they’re happy and what you can do to improve their work and their satisfaction. Not everyone will take you up on the offer, but letting your team know the support is there if they need it goes a long way to show that you care about not just the work your employees do, but their happiness while they do it.
5. Get Regular Feedback
Anonymous employee satisfaction surveys are a great way of getting honest feedback. Ask for feedback about what you could do better. Make the questions and results generalised, not opinion based. This will give you information on areas to improve the business, without just giving you a list of employee complaints.
6. Create a Positive Company Culture
A company culture and positive work environment that make people want to work for you are a byproduct of a healthy working atmosphere. This can be regular social events, team bonding activities, early finish on fridays with drinks after work: This is especially important with new starters. Making them feel a part of the business.
7. Be Susceptible To Change and Ideas
Some businesses see IT as a cost centre, not something that produces profits; so aren’t always receptive to ideas about change.
“I work with many candidates who share the same frustration, their employers are reluctant to invest in IT projects as they run IT as a cost centre and non contributor to the top line of sales.
The IT Consultants of today are looking for an employer who values their service and appreciates that they can add value in other ways other than cost reduction. Technology has had such a positive impact in all global businesses over the years, the ones who embrace innovation are typically hiring the best talent and have the lowest staff attrition rates.”
Adam Law, Sales Director, Dynamic Search Solutions
Just remember, if there’s something you won’t offer to your employees, there’s a company that will.
8. Give Your Employees Purpose
It’s much harder for your staff to leave, when they feel invested in their work and in the business. One way to achieve this is by giving them insight into the future of the business.
Involve your employees in what your three year or five year plan looks like: What their role would be or what would they like to be doing? Making people aware of the company direction and the projects that are in the future gives people a sense of involvement in the business, and lets them feel they have a part in the direction.
9. Offer Flexible or Hybrid Working
Hybrid and flexible working are at the forefront of every recruitment process we see at the moment. Thankfully, IT is one such industry where managers can give their employees more autonomy in their work.
Where possible, give your team flexibility in choosing what days and time to be in the office, their core hours, and provide opportunities to work from home. It shows that you trust your employees to get the work done, which is absolutely something candidates and employees realise and consider.
And there are benefits for you to consider when it comes to hybrid working. If you can create an environment where people only need to be in the office once a month rather than 3 days a week, you open yourselves up to whole new talent pools.
10. Work – Life Balance
Work – life balance has never been more important to employees. And ‘The Great Resignation’ has shown that people are more willing than ever to vote with their feet when it comes to finding working conditions that suit them.
Changing your focus from an input led mentality to an output focus is a great way to build trust with your staff, and create a positive work environment. Here at Dynamic, the focus is on hitting your own personally set and individual targets; not on how many hours you spend sitting behind your desk.
11. Make Yourself Approachable
Having a social relationship with your employees as well as a professional one. This makes you more approachable and helps you recognise when your employee changes and isn’t happy. Because recognising the signs that your team isn’t happy is essential: Otherwise you’ll be finding out when they hand their notice in.
Why Your Staff Are Leaving
As a manager, it’s your job to make sure your employees aren’t stagnating in their careers. With how much opportunity there is for IT professionals, if you don’t offer what your employees are looking for, there is a business that will.
Stagnation could be due to a lack of a salary increase, not having the opportunity to learn new skills, or no progression prospects within the company. It’s your job to stop people getting bored in their role, and what this looks like is different to different people, so you have to take an individual approach.
And people do get bored in their work, especially IT professionals. Providing your employees with opportunities to upskill and learn more about the business while trying something different will keep your staff engaged and excited about their work. Having the opportunity to move laterally within a business and learn new skills is 2.5 times more important than salary to employees, and is 12 times more important than offering a promotion.
The Importance of Staff Retention
The costs of replacing your workers can be huge and incalculable. Some of these costs aren’t immediately apparent, and side-effects like employee attrition only become evident later down the line.
The immediate costs include extra work for your internal hiring team, or the cost of hiring a recruitment firm to find the replacement.
Then comes the cost of your time to interview candidates for the role, and investing in training and onboarding to have the new employee working at the same level as the previous.
Alexis Wilkie, Managing Consultant of Herd Digital discusses just how long it can take to replace your staff:
“It normally takes an agency around 1-3 months to find a new employee. That person will then have a 3 month notice period. It will likely take them at least 3 months to get to the point where they’re performing at the previous employees level. This means it’s going to take 7-9 months before the team is back to normal working capacity.”
And if the person you’re replacing has been with the company for 5 years, the loss of their knowledge isn’t something you can replace so quickly.
Costs that become apparent later can be the cost of not having that person on board: The damage to your team with the increased workloads and loss of morale, as well as factoring in how their departure affects project timelines, and your ability to commit to and accept future projects.
What To Do When Your Staff Retention Efforts Fail
But despite all your best efforts, sometimes your staff will leave for reasons completely out of your control. They may be looking to learn new skills or enter a field that your business doesn’t offer, or could be moving geographically etc.
So it’s important to look at the positives in all of this. Staff leaving is also an opportunity: to bring fresh ideas into the business, to find out why they’re leaving and use this knowledge to improve the workplace for your employees.
As experts in recruitment, we can help you not just hire new staff, but advise you on what you can do to improve your employee retention. Reach out to us here, to let us know about your hiring needs, or contact us here for free and confidential advice on staff retention.