Your employees are your most valuable resource, loyal staff will be a huge asset for your business. The current average employee turnover rate in the UK is around 15% per year. In a new study by Future Workplace and Kronos, they found that 87% of employers said that improving retention is a critical priority for their organisation.

The cost of employee turnover is usually defined as the cost to hire a replacement and to train that replacement. Often the training costs are only seen as those that get the new employee to a productive level, but they should include all the costs of getting the new employee to the same level of expertise as their predecessor. Making your recruitment more cost-effective includes retaining your staff in the first place.

Don’t forget your brand position is determined by the customer’s experience and that experience is delivered by your front-line employees. Employees are your best brand ambassadors so make sure you do everything you can to retain them.


1. Why do people leave?

Does your business conduct exit interviews? Do you ask those leaving your business what has driven their decision?

Analysing the catalysts for resignations can help you spot trends and address any recurring issues. When asked why they are leaving, most employees will say ‘better pay’, ‘better hours’ or something along these lines.

Remember, you’re not just looking to find out why the person left but why they started looking for a new role in the first place. Were the issues raised beforehand? There are benefits of listening to the people who have left and this allows you to be proactive in preventing a mass exodus.


2. Be realistic and consistent

Having clear and structured targets or key performance indicators will allow all employees to understand their aims and objectives. Constantly changing goals, focuses and not allowing projects to be seen through to the end will cause anxiety amongst staff. Stress is caused by unfeasible targets, lack of support, unfair practices and threats of punishment.

Surprisingly though, it has been widely suggested that monetary rewards are not actually hugely helpful when it comes to a wide variety of tasks. In fact, one study actually found that workers with goals were more efficient at completing tasks regardless of whether money was a factor or not.


3. Progression and development

Career development opportunities keep staff feeling challenged and appreciated. Allowing staff to earn more and grow within your business will encourage staff retention tenfold, meaning they won’t need to go elsewhere to move up in their career.

Managers can keep great employees by simply providing a sense of purpose and vision. Remember that classic question; “What happens if we train our staff and they leave”? The response? “What happens if we don’t, and they stay”?

Yes, training can be expensive, however, if the training is right and relevant the long terms benefits outweigh the short term costs.


4. Criticism is demotivating

No one goes to work to hear how they failed on something or to be told they are simply not good enough. Constantly putting staff down or encouraging a ‘call them out’ environment where it’s acceptable for other staff members to point out each others mistakes can cause low morale, friction and a negative atmosphere.

It is a managers job to address any performance related problems. This is why performance reviews are important; these are the times to address issues or training opportunities.


5. People leave managers, not companies

If you fail to create a good, productive and professional relationship with your employees, then chances are the turnover rate for your company or department is going to be extremely high. Bad bosses are the number one cause of unhappiness at work. People see the company only through their immediate boss. A manager who keeps throwing employees under the bus and doesn’t stand up for their team will create an atmosphere of anxiety and distrust.

This is why good employees quit jobs. A culture of blaming, punishment, inflexibility and insensitivity only pushes people away. You can’t buy loyalty but you can earn it. It’s simple, treat your staff well and the respect will be returned. Being supportive, approachable and understanding will go along way in your relationship with your team.


6. Treat all employees fairly

You can’t get on with everyone, that’s a fact. When at work professionalism must come before your personal feelings. You have to remember that every employee is still different. Most employees have different work ethics, styles and skill sets.

Two people might have the same role, but the way they get the job done could be very different. If one employee works extremely hard at getting all of their goals, goes above and beyond, while one simply works to meet the standard, should they be treated exactly the same?

This can lead to resentment and anger for the lack of recognition and loss of motivation.


7. Instill a positive atmosphere

A positive work environment makes employees feel good about coming to work, and this provides the motivation to sustain them throughout the day. No-one purposely goes into work feeling negative, and this feeling can take days or weeks to occur. Positivity breeds positive outcomes.


8. Invest in staff

Investment doesn’t necessarily mean more money. Investing in time, development and training are just as, if not more, important. Employee development programs don’t happen without planning.

The training that worked last year may not work next year. Your business culture might be shifting according to customer and industry needs. You might need to attract a different kind of employee and your development offerings need to shift to reflect that.

An employee development plan that’s going to work necessarily forces you to consider the future path of your business. That’s a good thing. Staying on your toes as far as relevant employee development is concerned means you’ll be thinking ahead of the curve for your business.


9. Reward and appreciate

Not getting great work recognised is extremely de-motivating for any employee. No employee wants to feel unappreciated. Whether with a simple ‘well done’ or something more long term like a wage increase, an employee should feel as though their work has a purpose. As a manager or business owner, it is your job to make sure staff feel encouraged. Small rewards; team meals, staff parties and bonuses can make a huge difference to staff morale.


10. Job security should never be questioned

Threatening someone’s wage, job or position is a complete no no and should never be used as a threat. This is a great way to earn a bad reputation, demotivate staff and decrease overall productivity. If there is issue with a staff member’s performance, this is something to discuss in a professional environment such as 1 to 1s or appraisals.   


11. No one should hate their job

Whether for personal or work-related reasons, when you’ve noticed an employee dragging their feet, producing half-hearted work that’s just about ‘good enough’, or – to the extreme end – bursting into tears in the office, it’s important to have the tools to help at your disposal.

So when faced with a situation where an employee says they are unhappy, a solution needs to be agreed with HR on how to support them along with HR through their issues and steps in place to address the root cause of the problem. In these circumstances, it is important to keep the lines of communication open.


12. Take concerns seriously

Whether you think something is a big deal or not, the fact a member of staff has raised an issue with management means it must be taken seriously. Listen to the problem, investigate and find ways to resolve it. Employee trust isn’t given, it’s earned; make sure you confront the problem areas head on. Prove to your staff you have their back.


13. Listen to your staff

If your staff are on the front line, they possibly know the issues your clients or customers have much better than you. Questioning a strategy or focus isn’t always to be seen as being negative, however listening to your staff could save you a lot of money and increase your brand reputation.

Being a line manager isn’t solely about barking orders from above, it’s about standing up for your team, establishing a positive atmosphere, being forward thinking and proactive and remembering that actions speak louder than words.


Simply Law are experts within the legal recruitment sector if you’re struggling to find the right candidates we are here to help. Discover more by visiting here.

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