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How to retain your brightest and best

John Salt, group sales and marketing director of totaljobs


Employee behaviours are changing. Whereas once a ‘job for life’ was a badge of honour, now the title is both more unobtainable and less desired.


Increasingly, Millennials prioritise flexibility and employers can help by trying to be accommodating of the different forms this can take. Maybe employees want to spend one day a week working from home, work a four-day week, or have the option to call on such benefits at short notice. It won’t always be possible to accommodate these requests, but when it comes to staff retention, a little flexibility can go a long way.


Often staff retention boils down to making employees feel valued; something that applies to everyone. Graduate schemes are great for the training and development of those in junior roles, and the clear structures and career progression often associated with such schemes can be applied elsewhere throughout a business or organisation. Knowing what the next step on the ladder could be gives employees something to strive for. In short: When employers have attracted someone in, they need to keep recruiting them.


Don’t stop developing


In my experience, you see greater returns on moving the people in the middle up through training, development and promotion, than you do solely concentrating on the ‘high flyers’. And grads themselves can feel a little directionless if their program finishes and there is no clear next step in terms of learning and development.


Happy days


It’s also worth thinking about what makes employees happy.  In an extensive survey by totaljobs and The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) of more than 200,000 people from 189 countries, we found that the three most important factors for job happiness were appreciation for your work, good relationships with colleagues and a good work-life balance.


The top 10 looks like this:


  1. Appreciation for your work
  2. Good relationships with your colleagues
  3. Good work-life balance
  4. Good relationships with your superior
  5. Company financial stability
  6. Learning and career development
  7. Job security
  8. Attractive fixed salary
  9. Interesting job content
  10. Company values


It’s interesting to see ‘job security’ is only at number seven in the top ten, just ahead of attractive fixed salary. This shows that what was once perhaps traditionally valued by employees is no longer deemed as important. That ‘a good work-life balance’ is at number three, is again confirmation of the importance of flexibility.


People work for people


It’s also interesting to look at number four on the list: good relationships with superiors. It’s certainly my experience that people work for people, so if an employer’s management team isn’t inspiring loyalty, then it’s only a matter of time before staff head for the exit. If employers invest in managers that know how to bring people on, ultimately they will be investing in a strong team, not a strong individual.


And topping the list: appreciation for your work. To retain staff, regular check-ins to ask them about how they feel they are progressing and regular feedback on performance is vital.


Staff retention and happiness at work do not exist in a vacuum, and to feel valued it’s important employees feel listened to. These simple points will work wonders for employers’ staff retention and help ensure they keep hold of their brightest and best. 


Picture courtesy of Pixabay

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