9 Strategies to Retain Key Staff

Retaining key staff is vital for any organisation, no matter how big or small. With that in mind, do you have anything in place to make sure this happens? One of the best ways to achieve this is to ensure you have a retention strategy in place. This can include various things, but the main point is ensuring that your employees feel valued. Ovation Incentives have over 20 years of experience in achieving just that. We help you make sure that your staff retention strategy puts your employees at the forefront.

What is a Retention Strategy?

When you hear or read the term 'Retention Strategy', what does this make you think of? Is it keeping employees at any cost or cherry-picking the employees you feel are important to your organisation and making sure they are happy and looked after?

A retention strategy is much more than this. It's about making sure that all employees feel wanted and looked after. Having a successful strategy in place can help achieve this. Things that can be included within the retention strategy are employee perks, making sure everyone feels included, a sense of purpose, clear leadership of the company and having open and honest communication with your staff.

Not having a strategy in place and focusing on the above can lead to a high staff turnover which is bad for business on multiple levels. It can harm morale for both other employees and clients outside of the business and can have high financial costs due to hiring and training new staff.

Benefits of an Effective Retention Strategy

Having an effective retention strategy in place is great for staff morale. Not only will they feel valued, included, and incentivised, but they will have a clearer vision of their role and the impact they have within your organisation.

However, if you fail to have a staff retention strategy, or even an effective one, you could face a higher staff turnover than expected. As mentioned, a high staff turnover can impact finances, morale and even recruiting new staff. It can be costly recruiting new staff; you have the expense of the recruitment campaign itself and then staff taking time away from their traditional roles to interview and train new staff. Both of which will negatively impact the organisation as you try to cover the roles of the team that have left and the staff taking time away to train new starters.

Why Employees Leave

Understanding why employees leave and look for new roles elsewhere is a great way to start your retention strategy. Below are some of the main reasons why employees become unhappy and leave their roles:

  • Non-competitive salary and benefits
  • Overworked and unsupported
  • No career advancement
  • Work-life balance
  • No recognition
  • Not being challenged
  • Lack of leadership
  • Unable to put their ideas forward or listened to
  • Other companies providing more attractive options

By looking at the above reasons, you can see where you could begin creating a retention strategy for your organisation and making your employees happy.

Elements of a Retention Strategy

Any organisation experiencing a high staff turnover must look into why employees leave. If we were to look at the list above, we could begin to format a retention strategy of our own. For example, we can look at the first two items, non-competitive salary and benefits and being overworked and unsupported. This can be achieved by introducing an incentive and recognition program to your organisation where employees can feel motivated within their roles and also have the ability to recognise other employees for the help and support that they have been offering. Another possibility could be work-life balance; perhaps the employee has a long commute to get to their place of work. Obviously, you can't change the company's location for the employee, but maybe you could allow working from home to make it a little easier.

Effective Employee Retention Strategies

A vital feature of an effective employee retention strategy is how quickly you can implement it if staff members are considering leaving your organisation. You need to ask yourself if you are doing everything to keep them engaged and included.

It is also important to remember that no one magical strategy will instantly fix employee retention. It will vary from role to role and organisation to organisation. Bearing that in mind below, we will take a quick look at some tremendous general steps to ensure your retention strategy works for you.

Recruit the Right People

The first step might seem obvious but making sure that you are hiring the best person for the role and the best person for your organisation is crucial. You might offer the best incentives and most competitive salaries, but if you are hiring a career hopper or quitter, you will unfortunately not be able to change this. Look to hire people with the most relatable/suitable career history and glowing references. These are the people you want on your team.

Engage with Onboarding

Once you have the right person, it's now time to make the right impression, and your onboarding process is the best way to do this. Here, you can teach your new employees about their role, the company, and their place within it. Make sure that this is an engaging first interaction as this will stay with them throughout their time at your company.

Competitive Salaries and Benefits

Now is perhaps time to talk about the elephant in the room competitive salaries. This may seem daunting, but in reality, it is one of the main reasons employees will look at opportunities elsewhere. A way to enhance this is benefit packages such as providing an incentive and reward scheme to your employees, letting them know that you will reward them if they are doing well. Also, why not celebrate their milestones with service rewards and congratulations on their birthday.

Mentorship and Training

Mentoring programs are a fantastic way for welcoming new employees into the organisation. The mentor can offer guidance, support and be a sounding board for new ideas. This should not be seen as a one-way street and allow the new employee to voice their opinions and ideas.

However, mentoring programs should not just be limited to new employees only, as they can be valuable to current staff and be a critical point in your retention strategy.

Health and Wellbeing

Another excellent step to include in your staff retention strategy is ensuring that employees stay fit – both mentally and physically. This can be done by introducing various management and planning options. These can be things like stress management programs, financial planning training, and incentivising employees to keep fit, whether at the gym or hitting a step milestone whilst out and about.

Healthy Work-Life Balance

Perhaps to some employees, this could be the most important item included on the list. Employees need to be confident that the management team are aware that they have lives outside of work and that this should be managed to keep the balance of the two separate. If the need arises to work outside of the regular working hours, it may be an idea to incentivise them to know that their personal time is valuable.

Open and Honest Communications

It's essential to make sure that all communications, where possible, are made open and honest. It can be detrimental to employees if they are unaware of communications and meetings without their involvement. Try to make sure that everything is handled openly and honestly, and employees are aware of their purpose even if they are not involved. This is a great way to make sure that gossip and chatter are put to bed before evolving.

Recognition and Rewards

Ensuring employees feel rewarded is a considerable part of any retention strategy. It helps employees feel motivated, engaged, and excited about their role within our organisation. However, it can be hard to strike the right balance regarding employee recognition, as not everyone wants the same thing. That is why at Ovation Incentives, we offer a flexible digital reward scheme that offers something for almost everyone.

Frequent Performance Feedback

Long gone are the days of annual performance reviews. Now it is more informal frequent meetings with employees where it is important to discuss your employee's short and long term goals and how they can achieve them. It's important during these meetings to never make promises that can't be kept. However, it is a good idea to look at the realistic way these can be achieved or advanced.

Bridging the gap

In conclusion, employee retention strategies are a massive plus for employees and organisations alike. They help build the bridge between employees and management, encourage honest and open communication such as new ideas and worth to the company, help prevent staff turnover, which is a massive blow to any organisation, and help encourage employees to support employees.

We at Ovation Incentives can help with your retention strategy by providing you with a fantastic employee incentive scheme. We can provide incentives, help you celebrate milestones and make sure employees praise each other. Please book a demo to see how we can help provide this.