With the Christmas holidays fast approaching, you may be surprised to learn that according to research by ACAS, 30% of your employees will be looking for new employment in January. Although it’s a traditional time for making resolutions, and the break from work gives your employees a chance to think about their careers, it’s still a bitter pill to swallow, and certainly not the best way to start the New Year. So, what measures can you take as a business to avoid the January recruitment drive and retain your valued workforce?
Keeping the communication channels open between staff is essential to ensure that their concerns are being listened to and addressed. The best approach is to have frequent, informal reviews on either a weekly or monthly basis, with more formal performance assessments every six or 12 months.
It’s certainly prudent to touch base in December, before the Christmas break, to thank your staff for their work over the year, encouraging them to stay on board and feel happy and motivated about their employment.
Regular assessments give both parties a chance to discuss what is going well and what could go better, allowing time to discuss grievances and concerns, such as ironing out ‘small’ issues before they become major problems. One mantra that we support is WWW/EBI - which is based on assessing ‘what went well’ and then suggesting improvement with ‘even better if’.
But these regular reviews shouldn’t solely focus on the individual’s performance, they also provide the opportunity to assess how the company is performing and gain the employees feedback relating to that.
The role of regular assessments is to encourage staff to feel that they are supported. By taking time to help them improve their performance and address any of their concerns, they are being sent a positive message that they are a valued member of the team.
Training has an important role to play in retaining staff, as employees often leave if they are not developing their skills and career as they would wish. Keeping an open dialogue with your staff about their goals and expectations will help you anticipate future training requirements, and whether they can be sourced inhouse or externally. It does not have to cost a fortune.
It’s important to make sure you’ve got a growth culture within your business, whether that’s through expensive external training or sourced in house. There’s always skills that can be harnessed within each business that can be tapped into for the benefit of others.
In house training can work well to engage and further develop your staff, without costing you thousands. One option is a CMI training programme of coaching and mentoring delivered in house, or getting employees involved in a project to develop a specific skill. An example is how a structured training session could be organised, between a member of the marketing department and an already skilled colleague, in how to use automated marketing software for direct marketing purposes. There are plenty of cases where training can be supported and delivered in house.
Apart from being frustrated with the lack of development and progression within work, another major reason for employees to resign is because of inadequate managerial support. Reasons include not receiving clear guidance or direction, or feeling they are being treated unfairly, or concerns raised are not addressed. In essence, management skills are key in retaining staff.
The figures speak for themselves, according to CMI statistics, four out of five managers in Great Britain are so-called ‘accidental managers’. These managers have been promoted because they are good at their craft and have often moved up a rank when a colleague leaves, even though they may lack the specific management training and skills to deliver within the managerial role.
Without this skillset they are unable to motivate and engage their teams, which can have a negative impact on productivity, growth and culture within their organisations. So, with this lack of managerial skill, it’s little surprise that 43% of line managers rate their own manager as ‘ineffective’. They lack the ability to lead change, improve performance, embed strategic thinking into practice, exceed targets and act as role models in their own teams.
Training is necessary to ensure that managers can deliver and support their teams, help them manage their workloads, time and objectives.
The working environment is another factor that influences people’s happiness at work and whether they are likely to stay or go. Frequent reviews with a manager are a good time to discuss terms and conditions and whether greater flexibility in working hours and places or work would create a better work-life balance, is there an option to work from home for part of the working week? Small changes like moving desk, or providing a quiet area at work, may make a big difference to an individual employee’s happiness and productivity levels.
You can find out more about taking care of your employees wellbeing and mental health by downloading our Health and Wellbeing Plan.
As December comes to a close, make sure that all your managers thank their staff for the contribution they have made to the team over the year. By caring and supporting the development of your staff, they will, in turn, will feel nurtured and valued and will help you take care of your business.
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