3 Steps to Retaining Great Staff

There’s no doubt that the War for Talent, a phrase coined by consulting firm McKinsey in 1997, is back with a vengeance.

Apart from the obvious challenges to meeting recruitment needs, what are the consequences for HR practitioners and the way they advise their senior executives?

I believe there are three key areas that are proven to make a difference.

Step One – Create an effective retention strategy

A strong focus on staff retention is essential.

Recruiting the right staff is the first step, but if you can’t keep them you are wasting your time.

Right now I believe a number of companies are increasingly complacent about their “great retention rates” and it’s giving them a false sense of security.

The feedback we are hearing from employees is that job security was the issue that prevented them moving during the GFC – it was nothing to do with their employer’s proactive retention strategy.

The importance of a good retention strategy has been recognised by the Federal Government. Over the last three months, in collaboration with Enterprise Connect, Vantage Human Capital has been running a series of seminars throughout regional Queensland and Brisbane covering “Low Cost and No Cost Retention Strategies”.

These seminars have focused on providing frameworks for businesses to formulate their own retention plans. After  presenting to more than 150 individuals from various businesses many agreed that Maslow’s theory of satisfying basic needs through to self-actualisation was a valuable foundation for forming an effective retention strategy.

Step Two – Recognise effort and reward performance

People who dug deep when employers asked them to during the GFC are now looking for the rewards. And you can guarantee that if it is too little too late or not even discussed, they will be looking for a new employer who will fairly reward and recognise their contribution.

Over the past six months, within our Executive Search division, we’ve noticed a significant increase in the number of executives willing to engage in initial conversations about potential new opportunities.

If you think of your retention strategy as a suit of armour for an employee, then you realise that you cannot even allow a small chink in that armour, especially with the current surge in demand for talented staff.

If people have done their job and earned more than expected, your reward scheme should reflect this success. Employers also need to recognise that sometimes to attract the best you need to pay a competitive salary as well as provide the right environment and a challenging role.

Step Three – R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Treat people as you would like to be treated – courtesy and respect are old values that never go out of fashion. How you treat people directly affects your standing in the market place, your employee value proposition and your shareholder value. Remember people leave managers, rarely companies.

In the new War for Talent, get your retention strategy right and you’ll be a step ahead of the game.

Richard Dunks heads up the national People & Performance team of Vantage Performance,  Australia’s leading business transformation and turnaround firm – solving complex problems for businesses experiencing major change.

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