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Staff retention strategies

One of the greatest challenges facing employers today is finding and keeping good employees. Employee retention is critical to the long-term health and success of your business. Retaining your best employees ensures customer satisfaction, product sales, satisfied co-workers and reporting staff, effective succession planning and building organizational knowledge and learning.

Again something obvious: the first step is to understand why employees leave. The second is to implement employee retention strategies to get them to stay.

During a recent interview Angela Ahrendts, Apple’s Senior Vice-President declared: “We just ended the year with the highest retention rates we’ve ever had - 81%. And the feedback [from Apple Store employees is that it’s] because they feel connected. They feel like one Apple. They do not feel like they’re just somebody over here working with customers. I do not see them as retail employees. I see them as executives in the company who are touching the customers with the products that … the team took years to build. Somebody has to deliver it to the customer in a wonderful way.”

Inspired? So now, with Apple story in mind, here are 5 ways to retain a great employee: 

1. Working environment

The primary employee retention strategies have to do with creating and maintaining a workplace that attracts, retains and nourishes good people. This covers a host of issues, ranging from developing a corporate mission, culture and value system to insisting on a safe working environment and creating clear, logical and consistent operating policies and procedures.

Environmental employee retention strategies address three fundamental aspects of the workplace:

a)      the ethics and values foundation upon which the organization rests;

b)      the policies that interpret those values and translate them into day-to-day actions,

c)      the physical environment in which people work. The overall goal is to make your company a place where people want to come to work. 

2. Expectations

Management thinkers all agree that a satisfied employee knows clearly, what is expected of them every day at work. Changing expectations keeps people on edge and creates unnecessary stress. They rob employees of internal security and make the employee feel unsuccessful. This is not advocating unchanging jobs – rather just the need for an environment within which people clearly know what is expected from them.

3. Design & implement Employee relationship strategies

Employee relationship strategies have to do with how you treat your people and how they treat each other. Developing effective employee relationship strategies begins with four basic steps:

Step 1) Give your managers and supervisors plenty of relationship training. If your supervisors have the knowledge, training and sensitivity to work effectively with people on an individual level, you will probably get the bonding you need to retain employees.

Step 2) Ask employees why they work for you. When you do, two things happen. One, employees reinforce to themselves why they work for you. Two, you gain a better understanding of what attracts people to your company!!! You can then use that information to recruit new employees, saying: "Here's why people work for us. Maybe you can share with us your talent and get benefit of sharing our values”.

Step 3) Once you have the information about why people work for you, ask: "What can we do to make things even better around here?" Do it in a positive way, why not having a mailbox where employees can write down suggestions, comments, and constructive critics to get better the internal environment? You pay your employees for their talent, so use it!!! Out of this mailbox will come many good ideas, not only for improving conditions for your employees but for all facets of your business.

Step 4) Help employees to set life goals and be focused on where they want to go. Then help them to see how their goals match up with company goals and that they can achieve their goals by staying with the company. If people believe they can achieve their goals and objectives by working in your organization, they will think twice before going somewhere else to work.

4 Pay-for-performance plans

Effective employee compensation strategies stem from one fundamental principle: money alone will not retain most employees. In the old days, companies essentially paid people for their time. Today, more and more companies pay for performance in every position, not just sales. To retain employees, your compensation plan needs to incorporate this trend.

Pay-for-performance plans come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but they all involve two basic activities: defining the job and checking performance against expectations. When people exceed expectations, give them a bonus. It helps to lay the plan out ahead of time so that employees understand your expectations and know what they have to do to get the bonus. However, make sure you base it on predefined profit goals, so that you don't pay out if the company doesn't make money. If you are not offering some type of incentive or pay-for-performance plan, you are putting your company at a terrible disadvantage. Smart employers use a variety of hard (monetary) and soft (non-monetary) employee compensation strategies to make it difficult for other companies to steal their people away. These include: 

  • Discuss total employee compensation (salary, benefits, bonuses, training, etc.).
  • Design reward systems to stimulate employee involvement.
  • Use flexible employee benefits to respond to a changing workforce.
  • Offer stock options for loyal employees
  • Offer sabbaticals and other forms of non-financial employee compensation.
  • Provide childcare and/or eldercare.
  • Provide employee assistance programmes.
  • Fund fitness club & cinema memberships. 

5. Career path plan

Employee growth strategies deal with personal and professional growth. Good employees want to develop new knowledge and skills in order to improve their value in the marketplace and enhance their own self-esteem.  Take time to explore your employees' different needs and the best way to meet those needs. There are many ways to help your people with personal growth that not only make a difference in their lives, but also bond them more closely to the organization.

Here some tips how you can set an internal Training and education programm

  • in-house curriculum for skills training and development (you can use senior manager experience)
  • outside seminars and workshops (there are also many initiative free of charge)
  • paying for college and continuing education ( also available online course to be more flexible)
  • CD/DVD, podcast webinar
  • cross-training
  • having employees present workshops in their areas of expertise (improve self-esteem)
  • job rotation within company or just around other branches in another country
  • offering mentoring and coaching session and 360 degrees assessment

When you offer these kinds of learning opportunities, it sets you apart from other employers and shows that you truly care about your employees. It is one thing to provide training that helps them to do a better job because your company benefits from it.

DO NOT FORGET!!!

In the end, thing about this assumption: in today's market, employees have control. They say: "You're lucky to have me working for you." If you do not believe that and treat him or her accordingly, they will quickly find another employer who will. That is why employee retention strategies are important.

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