Staff Retention, Is it Always Just About the Money?

Business Insights

While your employees certainly need to know that they are being paid the market rate for their role, and the most frequently cited reason employees give for leaving a company is salary, it often isn’t quite so simple.

When managers dig a little deeper, other reasons start to emerge such as better career advancement opportunities, better location and a better benefits package.

Ian Wright, from SmallBusinessPrices said:

“Job perks are taking the stage as an increasingly important factor in people’s career choices, which is why some employers are raising the bar and even going beyond the standard travel card loans, “cycle to work” schemes, flexible working times and health insurance benefits.

“The right company perks and benefits can improve a workforce’s happiness and boost productivity as well as attracting the right employees."

So while, yes, salary is important, it is often the benefits package a company offers, such as health care, insurance, and company pension scheme that makes the difference when it comes to employee retention.

With recruitment specialists agreeing that employee retention and job satisfaction should be high on every organization's list of priorities, creating effective retention strategies to decrease turnover should be one of management's most important jobs.

Start by really getting to know your people and what matters to them, through having a real conversation about their lives and aspirations. Everyone is different and each will have their own priorities and career goals, so as far as possible aim for benefits that will actually be seen as beneficial to that individual, and don’t make assumptions. For instance, people with young families may value flexible working, whereas others might prefer more money for child care. Extra paid holiday days are a really popular perk, and the provision of a company car is also highly valued.

Every person wants to feel appreciated for what they do. Good workers are easily taken for granted. Be on guard for employees who may not be complaining, but are quietly feeling exhausted or frustrated about the amount of work expected from them.

Make it a habit to recognise and thank anyone who goes that extra mile, whether with a simple thank you, a sincere email, a gift card or an extra day off. Show your employees you appreciate them, and share how their hard work helps the organization. Some companies set up reward systems that incentivize great ideas and innovation, but you can institute recognition programs even on a small team with a small budget.

Never underestimate the value of small gestures, such as sending out for piazza, bringing in pastries at coffee time, and thanking people who have done something extra in front of the whole team. Celebrate major milestones, whether the team just finished that huge project under budget or an employee brought home a new baby, seize the chance to celebrate together with a shared meal or group excursion.

Employees want to feel valued and appreciated by their employer and treated fairly, but they also want to be challenged and excited by the job they're asked to do.

Careful recruitment should mean that you have hired the right person in the first place, but it will be the training and support you provide from the outset that will set the tone for the employee's future with the company.

Aim to develop a process where new staff members not only learn about the job but also about the company culture and how they can contribute and thrive, with ongoing discussions, about their goals and opportunities to address questions and issues as they arise.

Pair each new employee with a mentor wherever possible, so that new team members can learn the ropes from an experienced hand who can offer guidance and act as a sounding board, to help them feel part of the company culture.

Keep the training going, smart managers invest in their workers' professional development and seek opportunities for them to grow. Provide opportunities for continuous learning, paying for employees to attend conferences or industry events, providing interesting and engaging team building events, or by reimbursing tuition fees for appropriate qualifications.

Make sure you connect with each staff member on a regular basis — don't let issues build up for the annual review. Your people need to know that they can come to you with ideas, questions and concerns, and likewise, that you will be honest and open with them about improvements they need to make.

Finally, assess your employee retention strategies regularly, to stay current on market salary rates and benefits, and best practice in developing workplace culture and manager-employee relations.