Mike Clark’s Business Bites: Staff retention is a hot topic among employers

Nice toilets with showers could be part of a package to retain your staff. Photo / Unsplash

Are you dependent on your team? What would happen if you lost your best team member?

How easily could your team be attracted?

I had the privilege of traveling a lot last week. The top questions and discussions among my clients have centered around manpower – or more specifically, the lack of qualified people. Were other companies struggling to find good people? Were other companies encountering competitors trying to poach their best workers? How many companies have had to dramatically increase salaries just to retain people?

The questions have been there for months now, but the intensity of the requests from people across a wide range of industries really hit me last week.

And you? Staff loyalty is a popular topic of management training and leadership development, but how easily could a competitor poach the best members of your team? What impact would this have on your business? If you lost people, did you replace them quickly or are the remaining team members trying to cover themselves?

How long can they last go beyond? What is the cost of replacing a team member – the research, training, equipment and development added to lost productivity while a new person gets up to speed?

If you’re in business, I can almost guarantee you’ve had a conversation about the above topics and themes in the past month. January typically has one of the highest quit rates – people have a Christmas break and the prospect of returning to work makes them realize they need a change. One of the key metrics that every business should measure is retention rate or employee turnover.

Do you have an attraction and retention strategy? It is dangerous to count on paying more – someone is always ready to pay more. Consider what matters to your team members – often creating the right package is more attractive than higher salaries, but you have to pay market rates.

Strategies that have worked well include flexible hours, one day off every fortnight, gym fees covered, cell phone, laptop, vehicle, health insurance, training, time to study and course fees covered if successful, early imitations, bonus programs, clothing allowance, team days, good smoko rooms, nice washrooms with showers, in-house gyms, lunches provided, social clubs, development plans personal and professional, staff purchase rates and charitable support.

The key here is that many of the above items have high perceived value to an employee. They are not enough on their own. They are most effective when they complement a great company culture. People have to like coming to work, they have to feel appreciated and know that their work has meaning. If you haven’t spent time on it yet, take some time this week to think about your attraction and retention strategy.

• Mike Clark is a director, lead trainer and facilitator at the business training company Think Right.

Jessica C. Bell