Solving the staff retention puzzle

Here, in association with HSBC, we look at the problem of staff retention: how to keep your best people.

Finding and retaining the right level of talent can be a constant struggle for small companies. Even if your business boasts a market-leading product and a good location, attracting and keeping the staff you need often requires more.

To get the complete package from your workforce requires you to offer the complete package as an employer: that is, the right culture, opportunities to learn and progress, sophisticated technology and an environment where everyone’s input is highly valued.

In today’s professional scene, competition for top talent is fierce. If your company isn’t offering all or most of the above, you will lose strong candidates to those that do, and those unhappy workers who don’t leave will probably not be as productive as they could potentially be.

Much has been made recently of the fact that productivity in the UK is at its lowest level since the early 90s. So a key challenge facing businesses is how to do more with less.

Improving employee engagement could be a key component of solving the problem. Having an engaged workforce not only improves your organisation’s ability to perform, it also makes work a more fulfilling experience for its people.

Every organisation is different but when it comes to people, the issues are very similar. People want to be treated fairly. They want to feel they have a voice that is respected and listened to and they want to as though they are making a meaningful contribution.

Addressing a shortfall in skills

It is well known in the jobs market that we are currently facing a latent skills gap. For example, recent figures predict there will be 2.5 million openings over the next decade in engineering companies. But we have an ageing population and a lack of graduates and apprenticeships to fill those roles.

In order to attract and retain the best staff, businesses need to sell the career opportunities within the company.

People are looking for an evolving career rather than a job and companies need to be receptive to this.

It is important to demonstrate a comprehensive career development programme that provides clarity on employees’ career paths, which includes everything from quarterly reviews to further education, multi-skilling, adaptability and flexible working.

Interestingly, many businesses are coping with the skills gap by trying to multi-skills staff, bringing in interim people, looking at the overseas market and creating more apprenticeships.

Acquiring or merging with a competitor may not be on the radar on the many businesses but it is worth acknowledging the issues that can arise around people when two businesses come together.

Any acquisition or merger must understand the value of people and the secret to making an accurate business valuation is to get to know its people. It’s not just about the products and services but about the skills and expertise that people bring to the deal.

As businesses expand overseas they may need to look at the impact on the workforce, with the possibility of overseas postings. And in an increasingly global marketplace, businesses and their employees need to have the processes in place to allow for mobility.

It is important to be sure that any overseas assignments justify the cost involved and that employees, and possibly their partners, have the necessary support both in terms of settling into the new location and dealing with any tax implications.

In managing any aspect of business, it is not just about financial support but also having access to expert advice and insight.

The Elevator Talks

A unique series of live-streamed events featuring top business leaders and experts. Each talk will focus on a key theme to spark business growth, and will feature insights, inspiration and an opportunity to interact with our speakers.

Whether you’re getting your business off the ground or looking to take it to the next level, The Elevator Talks will surely help you on your way.

The Elevator Guides

Essential reading for anyone wanting to take their business to the next level. The Elevator Guides will offer practical tips and advice to help you overcome barriers to growth and achieve your business ambitions.

Our guides will explore some of the fundamentals of launching and growing an enterprise, from the secrets of business planning to unlocking innovation and perfecting your pitch.

Further reading:

> Taking your business to the next level

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel was the editor of from 2010 to 2018. He specialises in writing for start-up and scale-up companies in the areas of finance, marketing and HR.

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Retaining staff

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