HR & Management

How to stop your January staff exodus

3 min read

17 January 2017

Freezing weather, broken resolutions, that Christmas weight that just won’t shift… you can see why January is renowned as the most depressing month of the year - no wonder job searches and applications now peak as Brits try and find a way to do something positive. So here's how to keep the staff exodus at bay.

A swath of candidates is great if you’re recruiting, but terrible news if it’s your best team members who get a case of itchy feet and lead the January staff exodus.

As with most problems, prevention is better than cure. Here are some top tips to stop those down-in-the-dumps employees flying the coop:

1) Start with confidence

Starting the year on a happy note will help lift the mood and prevent a staff exodus. Schedule a companywide presentation in the morning over a ’staff breakfast’ where you thank everyone for their efforts last year and outline the company’s plans for 2017.

2) Reward and recognise

Employees don’t leave for money, they leave because they don’t feel recognised or valued. Schedule one-on-one meetings with staff and outline how they are positively contributing to the business and how you see them developing the short to long term.

3) Set goals

Ensure staff are emotionally invested in staying with the company by setting goals that have an emotional attachment, which the business can support – such as going on a holiday of a lifetime, being healthier, having more time with family etc. Setting an emotional goal is hugely motivating and, once identified, you can put some development steps in place to help the worker achieve them. With an emotional goal in place, staff will be much more likely to complete and stick to the steps that are necessary – and ultimately want to stay with the company to see them through

4) Fill senior roles internally

The rule of thumb should always be fill senior roles internally and then hire junior replacements for these team members. Psychologically this makes staff feel like they don’t need to look further afield for career development, as the company they are with will promote and develop them.

5) Don’t avoid the ‘b’ word

Many businesses haven’t reinstated bonuses since the recession, even though they are now in a much better financial position. When your employees hear about other businesses that are sharing wealth with workers in April they understandably will feel a little resentful. The key here is communication – if you can reinstate bonuses then announce it now; if not, don’t avoid the topic and be sure to explain when this will change and why staff should stay.

Shaun Thomson is CEO at Sandler Training in the UK

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