According to the Bureau of Labour Statistics, people stay in jobs for, on average, 4.1 years. The goal, however, is to keep great team members for the long-term, creating a dedicated, loyal, comfortable (i.e. less-stressed) team and avoiding a long and expensive recruitment process.
Don’t get me wrong a reasonable turnover of employees can be good for business, as it means a fresh injection of ideas and thinking. But if the pendulum swings too far, high levels of turnover can be disastrous for a business, drastically reducing morale and reputation.
People leave roles for a multitude of reasons, and many are outside of your control, yet the most common reason cited is dissatisfaction; with management; with benefits; with progression; with the work/life balance. Therefore, at the very least, it is essential for businesses to have a strategy in place which concentrates on retention. At the very best, all of these suggestions I make below become simply part of everyday life, the DNA of the business.
Start with the right people
Hiring the wrong people can have a huge impact on your business. Not simply because they may be the wrong person or in the wrong role, it is the ripple effect that they may have on your other employees if they are low on morale.
Whilst roles may need to be filled quickly it is critical to spend time identifying what the role really does require, what skills are must-have but also equally importantly, what are the must-have characteristics and attitude for the position and the company. It is a question of attitude versus aptitude.
The wrong person in the wrong job will get quickly disillusioned and move on, wasting your time and your money. Reassess your hiring strategy and ask yourself if you’re asking the right questions.
Invest in them
From the very start it is important to support and develop your people, from a proper onboarding process to regular reviews and training and development opportunities, giving them and the business the very best chance at success.
This means a welcome and introduction to the business and its values that is authentic and lives up to what you sold them. It also means not simply waiting for formal reviews to check-in and creating an environment where employees feel comfortable to reach out. We ditched appraisals in favour of more meaningful very regular wow chats over coffee and people are happier and more engaged.
And it means providing great opportunities to learn and develop as an individual, from wellbeing to qualifications and beyond. Actively investing time and resources shows that you are interested and value your people and the reward is in people developing to the be the best that they can be, for themselves and for business.
The right connection
This is all about how connected your employees feel to the business. Do they understand their role and their importance in the wider health and success of the organisation? Do they understand how they make the difference? Are they engaged?
When we designed our new HQ a key component of the final result was input from our employees. We asked each and every member of staff what they wanted and what they would benefit from, and we listened to them. This gave them ownership and a connection to their new space.
If your employees are engaged, they understand their role, their purpose, and their value ‘ their contribution to the overall results. And they have some ownership of the matter. In order to achieve this communication is the key and it has to be open, clear and honest and it has to be two-way. Celebrating, nurturing, and empowering employees not only leads to an agile decision-making culture it leads to a happier workforce and increased retention.
The small stuff
These are the everyday things that make your company great, and they actually don’t have to cost a lot. And it’s not always the serious stuff, we all love a little laughter! They are the handwritten notes from the CEO acknowledging a great job, free breakfasts, flexible working, great outside space for picnic lunches, parties and celebrations and a great environment in which to work.
Make it happen every day
All of the above comes down to your culture. If you make people the heart of your business’ values and purpose from the very beginning it will become simply part of everyday life, how things are done around here.
Creating a place where people want to work is the answer to the trend of decreasing time spent in jobs. In general, employees don’t want to leave, they don’t want the hassle just as much as you don’t. They leave because they feel that there are better opportunities out there for them.
Employees are your biggest asset; they are responsible for keeping your business moving forwards. Businesses invest so much time and resource finding the right people and training them up that many forget that this is a partnership, a long-term relationship. On the other hand great businesses understand the importance of investing in the relationship beyond the probation period, retaining, engaging and empowering them for the good of everyone involved.