Chances are that attracting and retaining great people is a challenge you find yourself considering often. If you’ve already got a superstar team, then you’ll definitely be thinking about how to keep them.

In the modern world, the demand for talented staff is higher than ever, people are more mobile and new opportunities bombard them incessantly via their smart phone. If you want to keep ahead of the game, you need to be investing considerable effort into smart and cost effective strategies to keep those important people.

While a competitive remuneration package is a critical starting point, we’ve discovered that some of the best ways to retain staff are actually easy to implement and relatively low cost.

1. Encourage flexible work arrangements

Don’t merely offer flexible arrangements if someone asks, proactively encourage these for everyone, in every role! Flexible work arrangements are frequently ranked as one of the most valuable employee benefits in Australia. The best thing is that they can be easily implemented in almost any business.

Recognising the complexities of modern life and the various circumstances of your people means that flexibility is a great way to keep employees for the long term. Flexibility is different for everyone. You may have an employee with caring responsibilities, another who plays sport, someone with a long commute to the new office or someone keen to study. There are a myriad of reasons why people enjoy accessing flexibility at work and there are numerous ways that businesses can support this balance.

Encouraging flexible work arrangements is an important of demonstrating that you value people as individuals and their contribution to the workplace. It’s important to understand what matters to each person and to ensure that it’s of benefit to the company as well.

2. Recognise employee contributions

When people feel valued by their employer, they’re more likely to deliver above expectations and they’re more likely to stay with the company for longer. It’s never been easier to recognise people’s’ contributions in the workplace in a meaningful way, no matter what size business you work in.

We often hear people say, ‘employees are paid a wage, that’s their recognition’. While this may be true, the difference between staff who do the bare minimum versus those who contribute above and beyond, is significant. Recognition doesn’t have to mean paying a higher salary or a bonus. It could be as simple as a personal thank you to an individual for helping out or a team lunch to celebrate an achievement.

Being thoughtful about recognising your employees is easy and the benefits are often far greater than the time or cost invested.

3. Communicate clearly and honestly

It’s one of those fundamentals that companies often neglect. Everyone is so busy getting the work done that we sometimes forget to check that we’re communicating as well as we should be.

People want to be kept in the loop about what’s happening in the organisation. They typically don’t like surprises and they want to understand how they are expected to contribute. Ensure that you’re engaging with staff on regularly, both on an individual and team level. Involve them in upcoming plans, ask for their feedback, get them involved in solving problems so that they feel connected. Most importantly, take a proactive approach to difficult conversations.

If something isn’t quite right, be honest about it so that people have the opportunity to fix it. In our experience, nothing good ever comes from ignoring that difficult conversation.

People are the lifeblood of your business and a high performing, engaged team is your single most valuable asset. Just like other assets, you need to protect it and continue to maintain it’s value. Having a retention plan is a smart business strategy. It will allow you to build motivation and loyalty which will reduce your recruitment and training costs. In securing your experienced and talented team, your business can continue to achieve it’s goals.

If you want to learn more about retention strategies or how to build a great workplace culture, get in touch with the team at Davis Bibby & Co.

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