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shop talk | 10 ways 10 WAYS TO... Keep your staff


Retaining a workforce is one of the most difficult tasks in business and keeping talented staff can be crucial to success, says Nick Easen


Create a good environment


An upbeat working environment is an important factor in keeping employees motivated. Having a positive and enjoyable place in which to work encourages staff to focus on the tasks at hand and remain productive. It takes a lot of work to keep the momentum going in the office, with lots of different ideas, feedback and expectations, and good management of these issues is vital in keeping talented workers happy.


Show your appreciation


Greet staff and colleagues each morning; ask them how they are and thank them for a job well done. A birthday card and a cake, or flowers, is an inexpensive way of expressing your appreciation, while a small gift to celebrate a staff member’s anniversary with the business is always a nice touch. But it should be genuine in its outlook rather than institutionalized. And don’t send the secretary out to pick the card — arrange things from the top.


Be realistic over hours


Be realistic about working hours, times for assigned tasks and the number of jobs you and your staff can get done in a working day. If staff members are overworked or stressed, they’ll leave sooner or later, so it’s important for both employers and employees to find a good balance. Deadlines and goals keep people motivated; high pressure and unachievable targets don’t. It’s worth piloting flexible work arrangements linked to clear outputs.


Get to know your staff


You’re more likely to retain people if you know what makes them tick. And you can only know more about their thoughts and feelings, their background and past working lives if you make a concerted effort to know them better. Research shows people are more likely to stay in a company when they have solid, invested relationships with their colleagues. In today’s working environment, it’s essential to engage the whole person.


Offer training to boost skills


An often overlooked or underappreciated method of retaining staff is to employ training. Those workers who are good at innovating and want to progress up the career ladder — the very people you wish to retain — will be thankful to you and the company for making the effort to improve their skill sets. Yes, it might make them more desirable to other companies, but it’s important to remember you’ll likely benefit from their upgraded skills first.


WORKER ENGAGEMENT


In 2012, research and opinion organization Gallup conducted a survey of 32 top companies, employing 600,000 people globally in industries from hospitality to retail, to evaluate worker engagement. The State of the Global Workplace report found workers who are actively disengaged outnumber those engaged by a factor of 2:1.


Gallup’s research highlights the importance


of good leaders and how they have a powerful trickle-down effect on a company’s culture. Companies in the study with the highest retainment levels know how to recognize talent and incentivize staff. According to Gallup, exemplary companies also ‘lavish support on


managers, build their capability and resilience, and then hold them and their teams accountable’. The research also shows companies get the


best out of staff when workers know what’s expected of them and receive managerial support — then staff ‘will commit to almost anything the company is trying to accomplish’. gallup.com


40 | ASTAnetwork | summer 2014


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