This week, Investors in People (IiP) hold a 'Smart Retention Strategies Conference' in London to discuss ways in which companies can hang on to their best staff at a time of skills shortages and staff poaching. The days when people stayed in one job for five or ten years have all but disappeared; nowadays, you're lucky if they stay for two years. Just when they know how to do the job, they're off to the next.
Investors in People have published their own top tips to retaining your staff:
- Recruit for attitude, train for skill. Employing someone with real willingness to do the job is vital - experience or qualifications do not count for everything.
- Treat employees as individuals. We all need to be valued as a person - regardless of whether we are managers or shop-floor workers.
- Develop employees' skills by ensuring that learning continues throughout their working life - not just at the start.
- Build teams to create an environment of inclusion - nobody wants to feel alone at work.
- Be creative; tailor systems for your particular employees; your current benefit structure may not be the most effective for the people on your team.
- Treat employees as humans; boost morale by always acknowledging their efforts.
- Encourage senior managers to take personal interest in their employees' development.
- Don't rely on a top-down style of leadership - your employees' ideas may be better than yours!
- Create a long-term training and development programme, giving people real opportunities in acknowledgement of their loyalty.
- Communicate the objectives of the business to everybody. Making people feel part of the organisation increases thier aspirations to contribue.
Whilst there's nothing dramatically new in the list, it's a convenient and timely reminder (in Adult Learners Week) of the importance of treating staff with respect and providing them with continuing opportunities for development. We particularly like the emphasis in the first tip - one which too many HR departments sidestep by over-reliance on "policy and procedures".
We'd be interested in stimulating debate on these issues. If you'd like to comment or add your own tips, please use the Comments feature below.