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50 ways to retain staff

Australia has become an employees’ market. So how can you maintain a low staff turnover without blowing your budget? Here are 50 cost-effective ways to retain staff by keeping them happy and loyal.

1. Salary
One of the biggest employee motivators, pay is what attracts us to most new positions and encourages us to stay. Reviewing annually will help to show us what you think we’re worth.
2. Remuneration package
It may be tough being a SME, but it’s not always easy working for one either. Think about other perks, besides pay, which you could use to lure and keep staff, including salary sacrifice, bonus super, and novated leases.
3. Respect
Your grandmother had it right: treat others as you would like to be treated.
4. Resources
Staff tire pretty quickly of faulty and out-of-date equipment. It doesn’t have to be the newest or the best (it’ll help if it is though!), but it all needs to work.
5. Green factor
Green is in, and we’re now looking at a company’s vision before signing on the dotted line.
6. Location, location, location.
News flash: we don’t want to work hard to get to work. Consider parking and public transport availability when setting up shop or making a move.
7. Leadership
Sometimes it’s best to turn to the movies, in this case, Remember the Titans, where a key line in the football movie is: “Attitude reflects leadership.” Make yourself approachable and available and give updates about changes in the business.
8. Recognise and compensate
It might seem obvious, but we hate not getting paid for work. And almost 80 percent of us don’t get paid for overtime, according to a News Digital Media survey. Whether cash compensation or time in lieu, reimburse us if you want to keep us!
9. Take responsibility
Own your mistakes, don’t just dump them on us. We all make mistakes, so we’ll appreciate your maturity and show understanding when you make them too.
10. Listen
How often do you listen to your staff? Not showing interest in what we have to say will only show us that you don’t care.
11. Follow-through from management
“When issues are raised, do something about it,” says Campbell Sallabank, CEO of LinkMe. “There’s nothing worse than an employer who doesn’t push your cause.”
12. Dress code
Adopt a relaxed dress code, or at least casual Fridays—it’s still a winner for many of us. 
13. Goal-setting
Believe it or not, we actually like working towards something.
14. Fostering skills and ability
Training is a great way to ensure we don’t becoming stagnant and can move into new positions. Would you like being glued to your chair?
15. Incentives and bonuses
The best gifts are thought out and meaningful, so consider spa sessions and massages if your employees need to relax, or give out simple hampers at Christmas; a time when we’ll really appreciate them.
16. Adequate and stocked facilities
We don’t like nagging for supplies—so don’t make us.
17. Personal days
Even for those who love their job, work gets a little blahblah at times. Who wouldn’t want the occasional breather?
18. Coaching and mentoring
We actually like to learn in our jobs, and when managers take the time to coach or mentor, their charges tend to ‘blossom’ under their tutelage.
19. Reverse mentorship
Don’t be afraid to learn from us. You might be surprised by what we have to offer.
20. Job sharing
We like having time. And you might find that two part-timers suit your needs better than one full-timer.
21. Safety
It would be great if you could do us the favour of making sure we don’t get zapped or fall flat on our bottoms at work. To update your knowledge of workplace health and safety policies, visit the OH&S web portal at www.workplacehealthandsafety.com.au and register your interest.
22. Performance reviews
It’s not all about money, we like to know how we’re performing too. And we like the opportunity to provide feedback on your performance.
23. Privacy
Give us room to work. Constantly looking over our shoulders won’t motivate us, but it’ll definitely agitate.
24. Progression
If you show us there’s room to grow, we’ll be more likely to sign on and stay.
25. Security
Walking through dicey streets in the dark and on your own—not exactly what dreams are made of. Do us a favour and plan for physical security. Getting home in one piece is always nice.
26. Trust
If you don’t trust us to do the job then don’t hire us. But if you decide to try this wacky concept, you might notice it being returned your way.
27. Team-building exercises
Whether it’s throwing some paint on a canvas or white water rafting, throw your staff together into a fun group activity. 
28. Job satisfaction
Ask what makes staff happy during the interview process. This way you’ll know what’s expected before someone new comes on board.
29. Work environment
We spend a third of our time at work, according to Constructive Recruitment, so it pays to make it somewhere we want to be. Consider throwing in a couple of pot plants and some comfy seating, or try your hand at Feng Shui.
30. Financial support services
The cost of living is going up, but our wages aren’t. If you’d like us to smile, financial support is a great start, whether it’s an advance on a salary or distributing pay into separate accounts. 
31. Make our work agreements clear
There’s been a whole host of changes to IR laws since the recent federal election. Let us know what our rights are, because many of us no longer have a clue.  
32. Personal development
Our lives don’t just revolve around work. Education and training in areas outside of your business, such as health and fitness and financial management, are great motivational tools.
33. Meaningful work
And we want our work to mean something. What’s the point otherwise?
34. Manage expectations
We’re not mind readers and we’ll have a better chance of meeting expectations if they’re clear and measurable. Clearly communicate your expectations.
35. Challenging work
Another great motivator, it’ll keep us from becoming bored.
36. Freedom of speech
We’re keen on having our voices heard, preferably at all levels of the pecking order.
37. Flexibility
Mobility and provisions to work from home are now the go, as are flexible start and finish times. Whether we’re parents or not, mobility is ideal.
38. Variety
It’s the spice of life. Swap things around occasionally so work doesn’t become repetitive.
39. Encourage healthy habits
We’re less likely to make mistakes when we’re fit and healthy. Consider providing fresh food and snacks, gym memberships or even discounted health cover. You could also get a work sports team going and, as the employer, you shouldn’t be sitting on the sidelines.
40. Hygienic work environment
Funnily enough we don’t want to catch diseases when we come to work. Make sure the place gets a regular once-over, and don’t let bins overflow. Also, keep general cleaning products lying around for accidental spills and messes.
41. Equal opportunity
Treat us the same.
42. Recognition and thanks
There’s little point in slaving away if nobody notices and shows appreciation. This can be anything from a mention in a meeting to shouting a drink at the pub.
43. Break area
Everyone needs a place to relax, so find a quiet corner and throw in some comfy seats. Toys are cool too, especially Wiis. Offering freedom with how and when breaks are taken is always a great incentive.
44. Family friendly
We have lives outside work. Families are pretty important and we like to spend time with them. Also, if you provide family services such as childcare and carer support, you’ll come out in front.
45. Competitions
Want to liven things up? Try organising competitions focusing on businesses ideas, task performance, or anything else you can think of—be creative.
46. Office culture
Hiring like-minded team members helps—office culture and dynamics play a big part. Make your business’ culture clear from the outset and try to maintain it. Social gatherings are always great too.
47. Leave
Life has a lot to offer, and we’d like to take it up on certain things. Whether it’s maternity, paternity, volunteer or study leave, give your employees the time to do what is important to them.
48. Acknowledge special days
Cake on birthdays, Secret Santa during Christmas—yum and fun. Who doesn’t love sugar and presents? Acknowledging certain days is simple, yet effective.
49. Membership loyalty programs
Frequent flyer miles and points on the company credit card are easy to rack up when working, but why should you get the points that we work hard to earn, even if it is your company? Whatever the member reward, let your staff keep it for personal use.
50. Time for work-life balance
Everyone’s always yammering on about work-life balance, but it’s a little hard to maintain when people keep dumping paperwork on our desks. We don’t work overtime because we want to, we work overtime because it’s expected of us.
And you wonder why we sit there grumbling—it’s because we don’t have time for our family and friends anymore.
If the workload is too much for one person, then hire someone to help—the cost will be worth it in the end, because any havoc in our personal lives is sure to seep into your business. Do your part to make sure we have the necessary time to maintain balance and happiness.

5 Top Staff Management Tips

Managing staff creatively is essential to keeping them happy, healthy and loyal. Bas Bomer, Nature Care College business development consultant, offers the following management advice:
1. Invest in health
Assess staff health and provide follow-up consultations with a healthcare professional. This increases general interest in health and wellbeing among staff and gives individuals the chance to implement a personal ‘health action plan’.
2. Offer a variety of stress management options
Team-building activities, stress management workshops, and even exercise sessions are a great way to release tension in the workplace—yoga, meditation, tai chi, and pilates are just a few options.
3. Motivate, educate and support
Organise fun, non-work related activities on a regular basis to increase awareness about the importance of work-life balance, and offer supportive services for times of extreme personal stress and conflict.   
4. Alternative rewards
Salary and other monetary rewards have become expected—including the Christmas bonus. Consider alternative incentives to increase a general sense of appreciation for the reward given.  
5. Involve families in activities
The best way to increase support and loyalty towards your organisation is to involve your employees’ partners and children in activities. Organising a family day, providing staff with gift vouchers specifically for them and their partners, and providing rewards aimed at home life rather than work are a few ideas.    

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