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Top tips for retaining employees


Forget Christmas cheer, there is a more pressing mood that employers should get in tune with and that is employee ambition. The hard-nosed boss is meeting his match with the rise of the hard-nosed employee. This new breed of worker single-mindedly pursues their own career path so much so that one in three starts looking for a better job on the first day of a new one.

Research by Penna Sanders & Sidney entitled Itchy Feet, shows that for just under half of employees polled, loyalty begins at home. Just as the notion of a job for life is long gone equally so allegiance to the boss is on the wane. Four out of ten workers surveyed expected to have quit their job within a year and seven out of ten kept their CV polished in case a better offer came their way.

“The Christmas and New Year period is a peak time when employees look to leave their current employer and seek a better opportunity elsewhere,” warns Paul Armstrong at Penna Sanders & Sidney. “With the job market picking up, combined with the demise of employee loyalty and the ever present war for talent, employers cannot afford to be lax in addressing worker satisfaction. And for those who ignore the new worker trend, an empty workplace may be their New Year’s greeting.”

However, employees polled in the ‘Itchy Feet’ report stressed that faced with an environment of internal promotion (46%), better training and development (41%) and recognition of their work (36%), they would stay put.

Here are Penna Sanders & Sidney’s top tips for employers to ensure that talent doesn’t walk out of the door in the New Year.

  • Develop a retention policy: Remember employee turnover is not just about cost, it is a loss of intellectual capital and corporate knowledge so make it a priority.

  • Communicate with staff: Regular internal communication should be used to research the benefits that motivate people.

  • Tap into aspirations of staff so you can explore creative ways to motivate them.

  • Identify the needs of staff: And plan with them how you can help them meet those needs.

  • Be flexible with job roles: Construct jobs that challenge individuals, consider job swapping, project work or rotation to maintain interest.

  • Set clear objectives: Employees want goals to work towards and milestones with which they can assess their progress and development.

  • Recognise and reward achievement: Opportunity for promotion should be made clear and accessible for those that deserve it.

  • Harness the exit interview: if an individual is determined to leave use the exit interview to explore their issues and learn from it.

  • Recognise that helping people to leave at the right time is a positive: too many organisations only support people when the company wants to say goodbye, not when the individual needs to move on.
  • “This new breed of employee is here to stay. The key for employers is not to fight them, instead make the most of them and strive to keep them on board,” warned Paul Armstrong. Talent rarely lacks ambition and equally it demands respect and recognition,” he added.

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