5 actionable staff retention strategies

By Robert Half 9th March 2018

There’s an art to people management. There is a fine balance that needs to be found when trying to engage employees and keep them challenged. Push employees too hard and they’ll become over-stressed and under productive. Don’t push them enough and they’ll resign in search of a more exciting role. 

The war for talent has impacted most UK industries, seeing those few highly qualified candidates on the market being inundated with offers while businesses struggle to find a good fit for open roles. Research for the Robert Half 2018 Salary Guide has shown that 40% of businesses find it challenging to source candidates with the right skills. This is supported by findings from PwC which suggests that CEOs are worried that the talent deficit will impact growth plans and digital transformation projects for the coming year. 

There are several ways that this war for talent can be won: strong employer branding, blended workforces, competitive benefits and remuneration packages, faster hiring times and—most notably—a solid staff retention strategy.

Here are 5 of the best retention strategies for 2018 that will support initiatives to keep top performing staff within your business, while increasing their productivity.

1.    Check your remuneration package is competitive

A competitive remuneration package isn’t just for attracting new talent to your ranks. They are also imperative in keeping your most valuable top performers, too. 

Using a report like the Salary Guide from Robert Half can give you a full picture of the hiring landscape in your region, industry and for each job role, so you have something to benchmark your offering against.

2.    Promote a good work-life balance

Workplace stress is more of an issue than it’s ever been. Staff often feel constantly ‘switched on’ and are unable to escape workplace communications outside of the office. 

Related: 4 reasons your finance employees are showing signs of stress

A Robert Half study into happiness at work, It’s Time We All Work Happy™: The secrets of the happiest companies and employees has shown that the complex juggling act of home and work can easily lead to stress and disengagement. You can encourage balance by leading through example; leaving on time, taking breaks, refraining from sending work emails out of hours and by using annual leave allocations.

Our research also shows increased agile working and ‘hot-desking’ are part of the 2018 plan for several UK businesses (29%) in the coming year, with a view to helping support employee work-life balance. 

3.    Empower staff with targets, training and development

One of the biggest take-away points from the 2018 Salary Guide was the impact of training on staff satisfaction. Employees have revealed that they seek development and growth opportunities within their careers and actively welcome them from employers. We’ve found that professionals occupying more skilled roles are happier (71%) and more interested (77%) in their work. Staff training and development isn’t just good for them, it benefits the company, too.

Start the new year by sitting down with your staff and fleshing out a career development plan which factors in the long and short-term goals of the business in tandem with their personal career goals. Use a report like the Robert Half Salary Guide to pin down the emerging skills for each role in the coming year. You can use this to help employees set manageable targets for each quarter, which include training and development programmes.  

4.    Create a positive workplace culture

Workplace culture is one of the lesser-known factors which impact staff retention. You can help improve a work environment and culture by ensuring you work with a skilled recruitment agency, like the team at Robert Half to hire professionals who are the right fit for the company culture. One bad hire can destroy the entire team dynamic, so ensuring that you have the right cultural fit is becoming just as important as finding an employee with the right technical skills.

5.    Review your salary benchmarks

Along with a competitive remuneration package, knowing what the salary benchmarks are within your region and industry can go a long way to helping retain top performing staff. Check the 2018 Salary Guide to see what others in your industry are paying to make sure you don’t lose staff to better paying positions with another business.

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