Employee loyalty, when addressed at a dinner table of elderly relatives, is clearly not what it used to be.
While many of our grandparents’ generation worked for the same company for most of their careers, nowadays it’s unusual – especially for young professionals – to stay put for quite so long.
For this reason, staff retention is of ongoing concern to businesses up and down the nation.
Regardless of the reason an employee may choose to jump ship, a high turnover rate within a team is costly, can damage the perception of a business, and worst of all, threaten to derail the remaining workforce.
– Yet what has changed over the years to encourage this act of ‘job hopping’? And what, exactly, can businesses do to exceed the expectations of those prospective employees?
What do employees want?
A stronger pension? Workplace benefits? A knock-out staff canteen?
Whatever it was that made the older generation of employees so loyal, will not always be fit for today’s playing field, despite the competitive jobs market.
Popular loyalty incentives differ greatly from industry to industry but never have the expectations of jobseekers been so high.
– Yet a company car, complimentary gym membership and whole Tardis of other shiny rewards are not always what people are looking for…
Invest in potential
More often than not, an employee’s main reason for leaving a job relates to the lack of prospects, often paired with feeling undervalued.
By choosing to invest in staff training, no matter how big or small, from First Aid courses to gaining a new qualification outside of working hours, a business can better its chances of securing its most valued employees.
Striking the work/life balance
Flexible working, family-friendly hours and a whole reel of other benefits can also help boost the happiness factor within a workplace; from Cycle to Work schemes to changing the way we talk about mental health.
“Small changes can make a huge impact on the wellbeing of employees, with a healthy heart only ever as good as a healthy mind.”
Whatever commitments your employees may have outside of work, time remains (as always) a precious commodity.
While for some this means more flexible hours around the school run, for others it may be enjoying regular office socials or introducing an early Friday finish to give workers that extra incentive throughout the week.
Make these adjustments now, and not only will you boost morale (and thus staff retention), but more importantly, you’ll help reduce the risk of ill health, anxiety and depression among your workforce.
Going beyond the job description
It’s safe to say that, if candidates show willing to go above and beyond for a company, they’ll feel more encouraged to do so should their management do the same.
However big or small your employee benefits, don’t be afraid to shout about them.
When preparing a new job description, be transparent in what you can offer prospective employees in return for their hard work – whether it’s paid volunteer days, the staff bowling team, or bacon buttie Wednesdays.
It’s these small wins that often attract big talent; not only are they nice to receive, but they also serve as a window into the culture of a business, and one that cares about its employees.
In the meantime ensure that your entire team are also receiving the same benefits – from the new starter to the office veteran. Otherwise, like a shiny new phone contract, employees will surely be tempted to move on.
Neil Lancaster is a partner at Adams Moore Accountants and Business Advisers.
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