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01 February 2016 · by Huntress How Can You Improve Your Employee Engagement & Retention

How to stop your top talent from leaving.

Engaging and retaining employees is a tough challenge that many organisations are currently facing but may be unsure of how to tackle. Whilst it’s a well-known fact that businesses work best when talented employees can put great time and effort into reaching their personal goals and those set out by the company, how can organisations maintain a high level of dedication, interest and morale? And what could be causing the downfall? 

The Company 

Happy and engaged employees don’t just help retention; they also play an important part in attracting new staff and creating a culture where high energy and longevity are considered the norm. A great way to get started is by focusing on your company-wide communications, ensuring transparency in strategies and upcoming projects, as well as trust and respect between core business functions and your immediate team. 

Other areas where companies can excel include: 

  • Understanding the demands of projects. Employees respond best when they see a positive difference resulting from their efforts. Hardworking and talented employees may lose focus and commitment if they become inundated with work which is poorly managed by their superiors. Companies which manage workloads and have a good variety and balance of tasks emanate feelings of support and understanding of the needs of their employees, which helps to maintain focus and engagement.
  • Sharing good news and recognising accomplishments and milestones. Providing a platform for managers and employees alike to share their positive news is a great way to make everyone feel involved. Not only does it help the employee feel appreciated, it’s also a good way for others to learn about their colleagues. Working towards common targets, such as incentives, can strengthen engagement and dedication within teams, whilst awards ceremonies and prizes for long service ensure recognition and encourage staff to continue working through tough patches.
  • The opportunity to progress. Progression needn’t be vertical, and it can be good for employees to find out what other departments do by providing shadowing programs. This could encourage unhappy employees to move internally into a new role where they are happier, as opposed to leaving altogether. 
  • Regular one-to-one meetings with your team. Offering a chance for your employees to discuss issues or areas they feel they could develop is a fantastic way for your staff to know you are personally acknowledging their concerns and you’re looking into viable solutions. Furthermore, one-to-one and team meetings offer you greater knowledge of the dynamics of your team and its structure, in addition to providing a platform to discuss relevant communications, tactics, or common problem areas. 
  • Good/relevant employee benefits. It sounds simple, but actually asking your staff which realistic benefits they really want, you will often find the top answers tend to include flexibility in working times, increased annual leave for long service and good employee pension schemes. The act of asking alone shows that as a company you care about your employees; and that in itself encourages them to feel engaged and believe staying could benefit them in the future. 
  • Getting involved with CSR. Corporate social responsibilities let your employees have a voice and an impact on areas outside of their work which matter to them. Getting staff involved with charity days and events, wellbeing campaigns, the environment and helping the local community are great ways to improve staff morale and reveal the human side of your company. And of course, getting involved with CSR helps with lots of other good causes, and makes your employees feel proud to work for your company.

Training and Development 

There has been an ongoing debate about the benefits of training your staff, and if you choose to, what extent you should go to. Employers want to know if it is worth their effort, time and resource to train their employees, especially when they could leave at any point. And what happens if you train your staff to a point where they feel they have outgrown their role and are prepared to leave? Equally, what would your company look like if you offered your staff no training at all?
 
Retaining and engaging your workforce through development is about finding the right balance for both the individual and the company. If you under-train your staff they will feel unable to perform their role adequately, becoming frustrated if they are unable to hit targets or progress into more senior roles. However, if you over-train your employees they may begin to feel unchallenged, and as a subsequence will expect greater responsibility, pay and quicker career mobility. If these options are not available to them, employees may feel their role is becoming stagnant and thus become disengaged and unmotivated.

It’s paramount to develop your staff for the level they are at for every stage of their career. This ensures they are left feeling knowledgeable and valued, whilst showing them that their dedication could result in career progression. 

Our Learning & Development Manager, Paul Kimberley, explains:

Devloping an employee to reach a level where they are satisfied with their position is questionable to the opportunity of how far that role can develop. What appeals in employee attraction is hat feeling of something new and different. My advice would be to keep variation and development a key priority in the emplouee's role, whilst avoiding the attraction of something different appealing to them. Why would you move to do the same role elsewhere, if the role you are in can offer further development?


However, as much as you try to retain your staff sometimes it isn’t always possible for reasons beyond your control. Should you find yourself short-staffed, we are here to help you. Contact us with your urgent temporary or permanent recruitment requirements across Office Support, IT and Accounting & Finance.

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