Keeping and attracting talent in your business

Employee retention and talent attraction is a major challenge we are helping clients address this year. Post pandemic, people want different things from their jobs, and life more generally. They got used to a different pace and far more flexibility and employees can, and are, voting with their feet. Whilst we would always say it is healthy to have a degree of attrition in your business, there is a balance to be had.

So, what can you do to stay ahead of the game when it comes to attracting and retaining people?

Seek feedback

We bet you regularly ask for feedback from your customers about how you’re doing and what they want, so why not do the same with your people? Knowing what your customer wants helps you to adapt and meet their expectations. The perception, which tends to drive a fear about asking employees what they want, is that it all becomes about money or demands that cannot be met. This isn’t true. Having the conversation isn’t about taking requests- it’s about understanding things from your employee’s perspective, getting under the skin of what motivates them as an individual, what they hope to achieve in their career and how the business might be able to support that. Very often there are win/wins to be had simply by getting to know your people better.

Make it safe for people to be honest

The concept of psychological safety in the workplace has become mainstream post-pandemic. People want to be able to feel safe to share their thoughts, feelings and what is going on for them in work and where they can see potential improvements. Managers and leaders need to encourage this within their teams, but we know they themselves might not always feel comfortable doing so. Ensure there are channels for employees to be able to share ideas and speak up about concerns. Have different mechanisms for this, including something where people can share their views anonymously if they need to. The key to this is in the swift acknowledgement of any ideas or concerns from leaders in the style of a ‘you said, we did’ approach. Creating a culture where people are comfortable being honest and are confident that their ideas get progressed and concerns get addressed will go a long way in helping you motivate and retain your people.

Care more about them as people, not just employees

Like it or not, as leaders the old British ‘stiff upper lip’ is a thing of the past and gone are the days when work and home life were separate. Many of us have embraced the flexibility that hybrid working has given us but that in turn has led to more blurring of the boundaries between the two. Like it or not, life is messy – as humans we have emotions and things happen to us and people around us that we will always have to deal with. From bereavements to relationship breakdowns, sick children or ageing relatives. If you are a people manager you need to be comfortable talking to people about how they feel and what is going on for them, both in and out of work. If you, or any of your people managers, shy away from having real conversations over time it will have an impact on your bottom line. It might start with the odd day of absence; it might be an employee going off for several months with stress – it all costs you time and money in your business. We aren’t suggesting you run counselling sessions with employees (although many businesses are seeing the benefits of offering this), we are simply saying that it is vital to have a degree of emotional intelligence amongst your people managers so that people don’t bottle things up and they know that they are cared about as a person, not simply as an employee.

Encourage everyone to be a recruitment consultant!

Your people provide you with the biggest opportunity to promote your company to the outside world. If you are a great place to work, your employees are your best brand ambassadors to help attract and retain talent. When you have vacancies, encourage your employees to share them on their social media accounts. We have heard of employees finding potential colleagues from supermarket checkouts! When people love where they work, they feel valued and empowered and will talk about their job to family and friends. Incentivise them to recommend suitable people for vacancies – you never know where your next star employee might be hanging out – get your people on the case!

Whilst these might not be the ‘golden bullet’ you are looking for in terms of an immediate fix to stopping people leaving or joining your business, they are proven ways you can help to reverse the tide. Get in touch if you are struggling with recruitment and retention of your people.

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