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Should they stay or should they go? The importance of an effective staff retention strategy

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Richard Branson is cited a great deal in blogs like these, and I hate to be another to do it, but I am yet to read an alternative quote that can encapsulate the true importance of effective employer-employee relations.

Written proudly on his website is the following quote: “Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to. If you look after your staff, they’ll look after your customers. It’s that simple.”

And it really is that simple.

Why do employees leave?
I recently spoke to a gentleman as part of a Talent Consulting project, and when I asked him about his current situation, he replied with: “Whilst my job is secure, the business has lost a great deal of employees in such a short space of time, and it made me think about the security of my position, and the trust I have in the management team.” This struck a chord with me, and I began to think about the importance of staff retention.

First of all, let’s think of the reasons why people may leave a business. These could include remuneration; lack of training, development and opportunities; unequal work/life balance; poor management; poor culture and poor relationships with colleagues. In addition, there may be reasons beyond the employer’s control, such as the employee’s personal circumstances or their desire for a career change.

What are the effects?
Sometimes an overhaul of staff may be a good thing – it can give a business the chance to make a fresh start and effect change, but sometimes the negatives can outweigh these advantages.

If a business experiences a large exodus of employees, a number of repercussions can arise, such as the cost of hiring replacements; the impact on morale; and the tarnishing of the organisation’s reputation both internally and externally. This has been made particularly easy due to the emergence of company review sites, such as Glassdoor, which allow current and former employees to post anonymous, and often critical, feedback.

So, what can you do?
Perhaps now, more than ever, businesses need an effective retention strategy. It is not easy to re-build a business once its reputation has been damaged, but more importantly, a business that invests in people 100% will result in a workforce who are loyal to their employer in return.

Some of the ways in which organisations can retain staff include:

  • Complete investment in employees through training, development and progression
  • Competitive remuneration
  • Creating a positive culture
  • Flexible working
  • Allowing a generous work/life balance
  • Transparency
  • Routinely seeking and valuing all opinions
  • Simply hiring the right people!

How important do you think it is to have an effective staff retention strategy? All opinions and comments are welcome!

Jessica Isherwood – Research Associate

This article was also published on Pulse. If you’d like to comment, please do so here.

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