HR & Management

These expert tips will help you retain and motivate your staff

6 min read

26 October 2015

One of the most difficult aspects of being a HR manager is the ability to acquire and retain the most capable professionals or "talent".

Not only is it a main priority of a human resources manager, it is essential that they help generate a working culture of nurturing and personal development. 

The current economic climate has had a great impact on today’s human resources departments. No matter what stage your business is at, searching for new recruits can often be a drain on your business leading to financial repercussions. Loss of productivity while searching for new staff, cost of training and finding the right talent can come with significant risks and rewards.

These factors have a serious knock-on effect on employment and employee motivations, which has led to HR managers pursuing new means of keeping staff happy and feeling motivated. It is part of their role to act as intermediaries between top management and staff to generate a balanced solution to benefit all parties.

To avoid unhappiness in the workplace pay incentives can be implemented, as well as promotions and various company benefits. However, these options are not always options which may motivate and generate happiness in an employee.

Here are a number of tips on how to best manage your drive in retaining and motivating staff. The tips also provide guidance on how to influence your business’ culture to build a workplace where employees want to develop.

Invest time in motivating staff

Some employees tend to work and be motivated in different ways. Businesses tend to focus time on identifying weaknesses in individual skills and neglecting how that employee works as part of a team. 

Motivating individuals won’t happen overnight and it’s important that rewards (verbal or non-verbal) are given occasionally, but not constantly. 

Encourage employees to socialise and HR managers can make small alterations to create impact. These include removing desk barriers, introducing monthly staff social events, discussing company updates and announcing good work and achievements.

Integrate an effective management structure

One of the most common reasons for staff members moving on to pastures new is due to a strained or difficult relationship with their boss.

There are several structures in which a business can adopt efficient management practices in order to promote and reward personal growth. The most traditional is a top-heavy vertical approach, which provides benefits of control and close analysis of activity. Whilst highly efficient, it can cause communication issues as decisions can take a while to filter down to different management levels. 

A horizontal approach may be better suited, which involves self-managed teams. Decision making time is shortened and helped by fewer levels of management. This approach promotes employee involvement as this encourages involvement in steering business success, which makes employees feel more valued and motivated. This individually focused structure is also more cost effective and allows the business to be nimble is changes are required.

What are the other key ways to motivate and engage your staff? Read on to find out how you can create opportunities for personal growth and promote an open-door policy.

Create opportunities for personal growth

Developing employee skills is without doubt one of the most important means of reducing staff turnover, but it is often the most difficult to integrate. Staff want to feel like they are progressing in their careers and this can affect happiness.

By reviewing your organisation structure you can examine the role and responsibilities of staff. This could lead to the implementation of specialised career paths, which present short and long term plans; beneficial for the individual and the business. 

Take time to sit down with employees and create a personal development plan which can help them achieve growth and improvement. Build a reputation as a business that gives promotional chances. This can be a huge incentive to potential new recruits.

Promote a culture of an open-door policy

When re-shaping in organisational structures takes place it is important to establish an open-door policy in which all staff can have an element on input and feedback. Whilst this might not result in everyone’s needs being satisfied, it can help to steer a direction for the large majority of the workforce. 

Other ways to gain valuable feedback is to hold face-to-face feedback sessions and departmental meetings. Department representatives may also be useful and provide a great outlet to give staff a voice and make them feel like they have an influence over the business.

Staff turnover is an issue that all businesses will no doubt face at some point. However, by integrating certain procedures you can greatly decrease the amount of staff leaving, and generate a pleasant working environment which encourages success and progression.

Jason O’Brien is chief operating officer at