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10 top tips for retaining talent


These tips were contributed by Sue Harley, Managing Director of IQdos.


1) Be clear about what you are trying to achieve
What are your business goals? Do you have an inspiring vision for staff? Successful companies are those that know why they are in business and what they stand for.

2) Communication
Regular communication is vital. Are staff aware of business goals? Have company benefits been fully communicated to them? Communicate all changes whether large or small, good or bad. Ensure staff are fully involved in company processes. Employees are often an overlooked means of communication and can convey brand messages to potential customers.

3) Recognise success
If you're asking for exceptional performance, show exceptional appreciation. This creates goodwill and appreciation within the workplace. It is now recognised that although financial reward is important, job satisfaction and personal recognition is critical to employees and can result in a greater level of commitment. A recent survey by IRS Employment Review (August 2002) highlighted that recognition of contribution is an important factor in the workplace, with 70 per cent of respondents citing relationships with line managers or supervisors as key.

4) Regularly measure performance
Appraisal systems and performance management tools provide a valuable framework with which to nurture staff. They allow management to tell individual members of staff that their contribution is appreciated and that their longer-term prospects for the organisation are appreciated.

5) Extend the possibilities
Ongoing training is vital to any organisation. Ensure training is carried out throughout the company, from the most junior to the most senior. All staff need to be reminded of key skills and it sets an example to the whole company that everyone can learn, whatever stage they are at in the company.

E-learning is an attractive option for those who want to retain talent. It provides flexible opportunities for employers to develop skills and expertise online. Online courses can provide a return in investment. Staff can log onto tailored learning programmes instead of spending whole days out at a training course, which may not address their real training needs.

6) Stress management
Employers need to be aware of workplace stress. Staff who are stressed at work are more likely to fall sick, perform poorly or leave. Encourage a culture of openness where concerns can be openly expressed.

7) Calculate the return on investment
By training staff and nurturing talent you are saving costs. Staff will be more efficient at their jobs, and improved staff retention levels save unnecessary recruitment costs.

8) Renumeration packages
Even if wage increases are not possible consider other ways of rewarding staff such as extending business health schemes to friends and family. Consider bonuses, share options, pensions and life insurance.

9) Perks
Consider employees individually and ask yourself how they would like to be rewarded. The perks don't have to be complex. Something as simple as negotiating with an existing supplier to offer staff discounts or offering staff prizes could be enough.

10) Flexible working
More workers want to strike a balance between their personal and professional lives. This can be a great motivator and boost productivity and efficiency. One way of addressing this is to give individuals more flexible working hours. For example some employees may be happier to work earlier in the mornings. In addition not everyone needs to come into the office every day. Think about remote working.

A survey carried out in September 2002 by the Department of Trade and Industry's Work-Life Balance Campaign revealed that 7 out of 10 (72%) highly stressed workers do not have access to any formal flexible working practices.


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