• Mark Topley

Five ways to stop your staff from leaving

Let’s face it, your team can be your greatest joy, or your greatest drain – financially, emotionally, and even psychologically.

How’s your team working for you at the moment?

Do you look forward to work each day with a group of people who are motivated, competent, enthusiastic and who ‘play nice’ together?

Or does it fill you with dread? Are you constantly recruiting and replacing people, many of whom you’d much rather stay?

Whatever your current situation, you want a workplace that works. If it’s good – you want to keep it that way. If it’s not, you want to make it better.

The good news is that you have a huge amount of control over whether you attract good people and keep them, or they get fed up and leave. Recent research points to just a handful of key factors that significantly influence whether or not people stay. And with the cost of replacing staff calculated to be an eye-watering 33% of salary, they are worth paying close attention to. To stop your staff from leaving…

Provide strong leadership and good management

The quality of leadership and direct supervision you provide your team will quadruple the chances of them looking for work elsewhere. So you have to not only set the example in your behaviour but be clear about the vision, values and ethos of your business. Positive communication, quick and healthy resolution of disputes and all the basics of leadership have to be closely watched. If you have managers, they need the training to develop these skills.

Show appreciation

As well as paying people fairly and making clear what will get them a promotion or increase (and being true to your word), appreciation goes a long way. A huge reason people will leave a job is if they feel disrespected or that their efforts have gon unnoticed. This can be big or small, and take many forms. I’ve used cards, emails, phone calls, small gifts, public appreciation etc. A kind word is both inexpensive and invaluable. Catch your people doing something right – and TELL THEM.

(Continued from November 2019 Advice Email)

Pay attention to work-load

We’ve all had times when work is very busy. There are seasons when it’s all hands to the pump because stuff just needs doing. And you want your team to be committed and work hard.

However, you ignore your team’s need for work-life balance at your peril. You can’t expect people to do more than is possible for long periods. The balance between home and work matters to people. If you don’t value and respect this, expect to lose people on a regular basis.

Establish and maintain a strong culture

It’s unsurprising for me that this has a bigger impact on whether people stay than the quality of their pay and benefits. No-one wants to work in a toxic culture. You might have ‘problem people’ who would be better suited to working elsewhere, but you also need to set the tone for the culture. I’ve written a couple of posts about this which you can find here and here.

Provide development opportunities

Depending on which poll you read, this ranks from number two to number five in the top reasons why people leave. If you don’t develop, train and provide them with opportunities for mastery, they are far more likely to leave. People want to feel they are progressing. Millennials, in particular, will want a sense that they are moving forward and creating a team where development is expected and rewarded and facilitated will act as a magnet to hold your good people in.

When you fail to respect and value your people, if you don’t lead and manage them well and ensure that toxic behaviour is addressed, when you fail to appreciate them and give them a sense of purpose and direction, they will disengage.

If that sets in and if nothing changes then you’re on a rapid path to them checking out. They will lose the emotional commitment to their work and you will lose the value they could be bringing. It’s only a matter of time before they are looking elsewhere for a team that will give them what they’re looking for.

Next steps

These elements fall into the ‘People’ pillar of CSR. You can find out more about how to get started by downloading my free ’60 Minute CSR Plan’.

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