In the current climate, many employers will feel that their staff are ‘lucky to have a job’ and therefore not give too much thought to how best to retain them. They may well be right; many people do feel that having a job – any job – is better than not having one but that view is far from universal and may appear a little short-sighted when the upturn finally arrives.  
 
 
Some companies face skills shortages due to international competition, some because of local competition and some simply because nobody wants to work there! Some lose money through a high staff turnover – if money was leaking out of the building for other reasons, energy costs or inefficient production processes for instance, one imagines it would be looked at, but many business leaders ignore staff satisfaction as potentially being the difference between a successful and an unsuccessful business. 
 
Skilled, talented individuals will always be sought after in any industry, and you want them working for you, not the competition. Moreover, if you’ve trained people up, invested in them and developed them, then you should want to hang onto them even more. Salary is an important factor, as is loyalty, but there are so many other important issues to consider.
 
Firstly, when attracting people to your organisation, what sort of reputation does your company have as a place to work? Who would create that reputation in the future? Is it likely to improve? 
 
What are the reward packages – look at all the other benefits of working with you, salary aside and judge for yourself if they would be a ‘pull’ factor. What about training & development? Career progression? Varied and interesting work? 
 
Also, what’s the environment like? The physical location and building, of course but also the company culture and morale. Flexible working is now seen as a major plus point for the employers that can offer it and people will also take into account the age and quality of the technology that they will be asked to use. 
 
You may be wondering how best to find the answers to these questions. My advice would be to ask your current employees! Ask them what they like and don’t like about working for you and address those issues. There are various ways of doing this, from staff surveys to an informal chat over a drink or two, but it will be a pointless exercise if the outputs are not addressed. Another good way of gathering useful data on this subject is to conduct exit interviews. Finding out exactly why people leave may help to persuade others to stay. 
 
Perhaps surprisingly, one of the reasons that employees often cite as a reason to stay with a business is strong leadership and a clear vision – and the converse is of course equally true. Ownership of their tasks and a degree of responsibility and autonomy are also very important.
 
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