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Choosing the right staff member

Attracting & retaining staff beyond 2011

Employee retention matters, and is one of the primary measures for the sustainability of your organisation. It’s achieved by taking proactive measures to select, motivate and keep high performance individuals.

Here are 10 great tips for attracting and retaining staff in 2011 and beyond:

1. Hire the right people in the first place. It is very costly to your business to make an incorrect hiring decision so by doing a thorough analysis of the success factors required to do the job from the outset means you’ll be better prepared to conduct a behavioural based interview. This approach gets candidates to provide examples of what they have done in previous jobs so you can predict how they are most likely to behave in your workplace as past performance is the strongest indicator of future behaviour.

2. Provide a comprehensive and WOW induction. The first impressions matter and it is also a critical time to lay the foundations for a long term employee commitment. If you invest the time with a thorough, well executed induction program, it provides you with a well trained employee as well as demonstrates employer commitment to a new hire’s success.

3. Management thinkers from Ferdinand Fournies (Why Employees Don’t Do What They’re Supposed to Do and What to Do About It) to Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman (First Break All the Rules) agree that a strong performer knows clearly what is expected from them every day at work. Your staff need a specific framework within which they clearly know what is expected so you must clearly communicate goals, responsibilities and expectations. Do not make an employee guess, speculate or assume they know what you expect them to do as this wastes valuable time and may increase their level of frustration.

4. The quality of the supervision an employee receives is critical to employee retention. People leave managers and supervisors more often than they leave companies or jobs. It is not enough that the supervisor is a nice person, starting with clear expectations of the employee, the supervisor has a critical role to play in retention. A key role of the supervisor is that they recognize performance appropriately and consistently. This means praising accomplishments, small as well as big, however supervisors must also not tolerate sustained poor performance. Studies show that most employees don’t believe that poor performers are dealt with effectively.

5. The ability of the employee to speak their mind freely within the organisation is another key factor in employee retention. Does your business solicit ideas and provide an environment in which people are comfortable providing feedback? Consider setting aside a portion of your staff meetings to brainstorm new ideas or to address concerns. Make sure the forums are non threatening and conducive to constructive discussions. Also, encourage initiatives as you want to reward creative ideas as ultimately these can contribute to the ongoing growth and development of the company.

6. Talent and skill utilisation is another factor your key employees seek in your workplace. The irony of retaining good people is that the more they feel they are able to grow and become more marketable the more likely they are to stay. Employees are taking ownership of their careers and so the more easily accessible and relevant training you can offer, the greater the likelihood they will stay and be an engaged employee. Furthermore, without the opportunity to try new opportunities, participate in cross team work groups, attend seminars, be involved in one off projects, they feel that they will stagnate. A career-oriented, valued employee must experience growth opportunities within your organisation.

7. The perception of fairness and equitable treatment is important in employee retention especially where salaries or bonuses are concerned. Ensure that you put some objective and quantifiable measures in place so that your decisions around emotive topics, such as salaries and bonuses, are unbiased.

8. Your staff members must feel rewarded, recognised and appreciated. Rewards should be immediate, appropriate and personal. The reward does not have to be monetary so consider providing small tokens of appreciation such as cards, flowers, certificates of accomplishment and movie tickets. Remember that it is the little things that tell an employee you recognize and appreciate their efforts. Don’t forget to celebrate successes and milestones reached – both organizational and personal- so that your staff know that they are an integral member of the team. Create an organizational culture that is open, trusting and fun.

9. Share information – promptly, openly and clearly. Remember to tell the truth and with compassion. How do your employees find out what’s really going on in the business?  You need to be providing these regular updates so that staff feel that they know what is going on in the business directly from you as their leader. If there are changes afoot, let your employees know about these and help them to deal with them. Also, don’t rely on email for these important messages, you need to make contact with staff in person whenever possible.

10. Conduct Exit Interviews as knowing why valuable employees are leaving your organisation is instrumental in addressing the reasons for any regrettable turnover. Ideally, exit interviews should be conducted by an independent third party who is skilled in exploring sensitive issues.

Take a look at your organisation. Are you doing your best to retain your top talent? Employ these key factors in your organisation to retain your desired employees and attract the best talent too.