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Want to keep hold of your best people?

By Beth Wingad

Picture the scene. Your best performer puts a 1-2-1 in your diary, sits down in front of you, and tells you they're leaving. Oh *insert swear word here* you think. 

You know it'll be a tough task to replace them with someone just as good. You ask them why? They say they've been a bit unhappy for a while. You ask them if there's anything you can do to make them stay? They say sorry, their mind is made up.

That's a scenario everyone is trying to avoid, but one that can creep in if your retention efforts are reactive rather than proactive.

Why's it so bad to be reactive?

Well, it's a bit like trying to bail out a sinking boat with a thimble when you could've found the hole before you set sail.

Terrible maritime analogies aside, it's much easier to make things better if you identify problems early on and before they become big issues. Staying ahead of the curve means you can combat any major issues or gripes your employees might be experiencing before they rear their heads and push people out the door.

By being reactive and only responding to employee issues when they've already handed their notice in, you'll find yourself on the back foot and make it harder for yourself when it comes to retention. You're almost always fighting a losing battle.

So how do you stay ahead of the curve?

It's all about communication. The best way to check if your people are happy is to ask them!

There are a few key ways you can do this:

  • Foster open dialogue - create a company culture where people aren't afraid to talk to management about a problem they're facing or something they'd like to see change. Employee voice is key!
  • Surveys - regular employee engagement surveys (we've just done one!) are a great way to gauge what your people are thinking. These can be particularly effective for business-wide change if done anonymously.
  • Good quality, regular 1-2-1s - making time for your people is key so quality 1-2-1s that don't just focus on KPIs, but also on employee happiness, will tell you a lot about whether someone is likely to jump ship.

Maintaining open communication with your people is crucial to getting to the crux of what your employees need - whether that's compensation related, work-life balance related, or something else entirely -  as well as giving you a clear picture on what you're doing well and areas where you could improve or implement new policies/actions. And with 75% of the reasons for employee turnover being preventable, getting abreast of what your employees care about can really make an impact.

Ultimately, identifying these things will help to ensure employees feel secure, happy, and valued, and will go a long way to preventing them from leaving. It also helps you stay ahead of the curve, and combat any issues before they rear their heads and push people out the door.

Retention is also a great attraction tool

You might be thinking 'but you're a recruitment company, surely you want us to hire new people', and whilst yes, we'd obviously love to help you grow your team, the truth is that attraction and retention are all part of the same strategy.

Get retention right and it'll have a positive impact on how easily you attract the very best candidates. In fact, high-retention workplaces tend to attract more, better engaged candidates. If someone looking at you as a place to work can see that the people already there have longevity in their careers, it gives them the impression that you're a great place to work and makes you more likely to be somewhere they can see themselves forging their own career.

Trust us, it's much easier to get candidates interested in a company that have a great rep for looking after their people than ones with high staff turnover rates…