How to retain restless staff during peak job hunting season

Brian Murray

December 31 2019

If you’ve had a successful 2019, expansion may be on the horizon. While that’s great for your business, there are existing business issues that sometimes get overlooked.

Among those is employee retention. Hanging onto your best employees means you have a reliable foundation to build on. But how do you go about keeping your best talent? And what could prize your star employees away?

Renewed goals

Your employees may have fresh goals for 2020. They could be planning their career paths, personal growth and looking to be challenged more. Is that with your business? You would hope so but you can’t take this for granted.

January and February are the busiest months for jobseekers. Recruiters know this and that’s why the risk of losing staff at this time of year is particularly high.

Another factor making it hard to hold onto employees is the highly competitive nature of the Irish jobs market. Recent HR surveys show that almost half of Irish employers expect to increase their headcount this year. This suggests that the battle between employers to attract and retain talent will be just as fierce this year.

As there’s no shortage of opportunities, your highest-performing employees are likely to be targets for your competitors. If you don’t give your top performers a reason to stay, you risk losing their experience and expertise.

Focus on workplace culture

Should I stay or should I go? That’s a question your employees may be asking themselves at this time of year. One key reason employees might be seeking a new role is workplace culture. This isn’t an easy concept to define. Workplace culture includes your company’s values, leadership style and opportunities for growth.

Are you doing enough to ensure employees’ voices are heard for instance? Are you promoting healthy attitudes, behaviours and work ethics? If employees don’t share your company’s values, they're less likely to stay and build their career with you. 

How to retain employees

There are several ways to improve your chances of retaining your best employees. Consider the following:

  1. Encourage managers to conduct career conversations with employees. The conversation should be open and the employee’s views should be highly valued. Taking their opinion onboard will also provide invaluable insights.
  2. Find ways to develop opportunities for personal and career development. Training, education courses and freedom to experiment can all improve employee satisfaction.
  3. Find ways to increase employee autonomy. Having a say in their work and how they complete it improves job satisfaction.
  4. Consider flexible work options. Flexible working promotes work-life balance and affords employees more time to enjoy their personal lives.
  5. Introduce wellbeing initiatives. Chances are you already have wellbeing practises in place. If not, put plans in place to give employees time and resources to focus on their mental and physical health.

These may seem like simple steps, and they are. Yet, their impact on staff wellbeing and the workplace environment will be beneficial for both your retention rate and your entire business.

The importance of employee engagement

When it comes to employee retention, it’s vital that you give your employees an opportunity to have their voices heard. A once a year review is no longer sufficient. Conducting regular employee surveys and responding to their feedback is a good way to demonstrate that you value your employees’ opinions and take a ‘bottom-up’ rather than a ‘top-down’ approach.

Need our help?

If you would like further complimentary advice on employee retention from an expert, our advisors are ready to take your call any time day or night. Call us on 1890 252 923 or request a callback here.

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