How to retain your best people

How to retain your best people

Posted on 19/03/2013 by Phil Hall


They say we are moving out of recession and then somebody, or some other august body contradicts and we are told that growth is minimal and we could ‘slip back’. Well from where we stand, talking to friends and colleagues and recently attending the High Sheriff’s Awards at Chester University we believe that there are positive signs of recovery.

It is true that many employees have been sitting tight and that unemployment rates are far too high but as we move into recovery the best and brightest will be considering their options. It is therefore dangerous to assume that they will stay with you…complacency on your part may see you lose some of your star talent.  At a regional meeting of TEAM* network, which I recently attended, vacancies for permanent positions were reported as being on the increase, but regardless of the state of the economy you should be aware of just how your best people are feeling. We believe good HR practice should be always keeping you informed of your employees welfare and concerns.

Its rarely their salary that motivates people to move on, “Time to leave a job is not when it’s difficult or frustrating, but when it’s ceased teaching you things.” Alain de Botton

Top performers thrive on a challenge – assigning them new or different projects will give them a chance to stretch their capabilities and learn something new.  High achievers also like to be recognised and to ‘strut their stuff’; creating opportunities for them to do so by helping others can be very rewarding.  Having them mentor others can achieve this and can also be good for morale generally and improve all round performance in your business.

Of course money matters, we all want to be paid a reasonable salary but this is only one factor in job satisfaction. That good money attracts people and signals success is a no brainer.

 “I don’t pay good wages because I have a lot of money; I have a lot of money because I pay good wages.” Robert Bosch

But it’s not all about money and there are things that people want that you can provide, at very little cost. A good life work balance, flexibility in working hours, the opportunity to make their own decisions can all engender trust and respect. But not least and the smallest and most inexpensive of all – a little praise for a job well done and ‘thank you’ can make all the difference.

*The Employment Agents Movement – a national group of 450 independent recruiters

Kirsty Craig is CEO  HR outsourcing, HR Help-Line, Mentoring & Coaching