How to keep your best staff - cost-effectively

Finding and training new employees can be a disruptive, costly and risky process, so reducing staff-turnover is a priority for many businesses. But how can you encourage your current staff to stay with the company without causing too much damage to your bottom line?

Here are some strategies to help you keep your staff, and your profit:

1. Offer non-financial rewards. There are ways to reward staff other than just pay rises and bonuses. You might publicly reward achievements with presentations and prizes such as a meal at a good restaurant, or offer other 'perks' like a bonus day off for a special occasion or even healthcare 'freebies'. Free flu jabs for everyone in the company, for example, might save you more than their cost in reduced absenteeism.

2. Know your staff. Ensure that your employees understand their role and are capable of fulfilling it, and that they are given the opportunity to use their individual talents to full advantage. Find out what their ambitions are, and seek to help them achieve these with your company.

3. Take training seriously. Devise a detailed staff development plan. As well as providing employees with up-to-date skills, this also has the benefit of maintaining interest levels, thereby increasing productivity. Applying for status as an Investor in People could help you to achieve your business goals and improve your company's image, internally and externally.

4. Actively encourage communication. This is a key factor in creating a positive and productive working environment. Research shows that employees who feel that their input is valued are more likely to demonstrate loyalty. Be open about the company's goals and welcome ideas from staff. Regular staff meetings and appraisals will provide you with useful feedback on your policies and training programmes. This is free, easy to implement and will help your profitability.

5. Promote from within. Promoting staff internally is cost-effective, and will encourage your best performers to remain loyal, knowing that there are opportunities to progress within your company.

6. Create a comfortable environment. Comfort in the workplace should not be an optional extra. If you want people to enjoy coming into work, make sure that the office or workplace is at an appropriate temperature and that comfortable seating and good lighting and other facilities are provided.

7. Be flexible. Try to accommodate the needs of your workers. Show that you have a positive approach to diversity in your workforce, including issues of age, race, gender, and parental obligations. A flexible attitude to working hours will also discourage absenteeism and discourage staff from looking around for an alternative employer who will better meet their work-life balance requirements.

Links

Investors in People: www.investorsinpeople.co.uk
  - the national Standard which sets a level of good practice for training and development of employees.

UK Skills www.ukskills.org.uk
 - independent charitable organisation promoting occupational skills at all levels through various competitions.

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