SUMMARY: Staff turnover can prove costly and also cause difficulties in attracting new recruits. It is therefore important that employers consider how they attract and retain the best talent.
Is it all about the money?
To have strongly defined recruitment and retention strategies an organisation needs to understand what motivates its staff.
Often it is mistakenly assumed that it is all about the money. This is not usually the case. One of our clients recently reported that an employee had turned down a job with a competitor, even though the salary was higher. The employee apparently had no qualms in turning down the offer because it was not just about the money.
Financial reward will undeniably play a significant role in any recruitment and retention strategy but there are many other factors which will influence an individual’s decision to stay or indeed join another organisation.
Why identify what motivates your workforce?
An organisation successful in retaining its current workforce is likely to be meeting the needs of its staff which, in turn, means it is probably also attracting new recruits. This organisation is likely to have taken the time to consider what drives individuals – identifying their needs, expectations, and values.
Whilst not purely a legal matter, we are often asked to advise on how an organisation can identify what is important to its staff and in particular, what steps can be taken to obtain employee feedback.
Taking stock, whilst providing an invaluable insight into what motivates individuals will also add further value – there is likely to be a greater feeling of inclusion leading to increased employee engagement; reduced absence levels; lower staff turnover; becoming known as a “good employer” to work for; less workplace conflict; fewer disciplinaries and grievances; less tribunal claims; increased productivity; higher profitability rates; and surprisingly some innovative ideas to improve the business may also be identified.
How to identify what makes a “great place to work”?
There are many different ways of gaining an increased understanding of the issues that are most important to individuals. For example,
- through the running of employee forums, focus groups and staff meetings;
- via suggestion boxes;
- setting up dream/vision boarding exercises;
- exit interviews; and
- by implementing staff engagement surveys.
Staff engagement surveys usually offer the best opportunity to facilitate real business improvement on a more formal basis. Committing to such a formal process demonstrates to staff that they are being taken seriously. In turn, staff are more likely to want to contribute.
A survey can take the form of either a number of generic questions or more importantly, where needs and values are being identified, bespoke questions tailored to address particular or unique circumstances. Fundamentally, any questions must be aligned with the organisation’s overall strategy if the results are to add value. The results will also provide invaluable data to be benchmarked for comparison purposes including looking at industry specific data, to understand how the organisation performs alongside other organisations; this may be important when reviewing any recruitment and retention strategy.
Surveys can be carried out in a variety of different ways such as over the telephone, as paper based exercises or on-line. Some survey providers are now coming up with more creative ideas to get the required results. Important in all cases is that staff are provided with anonymity and the opportunity to offer their opinions on a confidential basis.
Before engaging in any exercise there are some key considerations:
- How will the process be managed and communicated?
- How will the expectations of participants be managed in terms of deliverable outcomes including sharing the results (warts and all)?
- Will there be a willingness to take action?
What might the results say?
The results of any staff feedback exercise are likely to identify that staff have a variety of different values.
If the focus has been on retention then it is likely to become clear that for many individuals money is not the main motivator. Increasingly catching up, and in some instances overtaking financial reward, main motivators are flexible working arrangements, homeworking, challenging and stimulating work, structured career development prospects and recognition for going above and beyond within peer groups.
The example referred to above supports these results; the employee cited a number of reasons for staying including a supportive culture, interesting and varied work, and a flexible working arrangement which provided a good work/life balance.
For some individuals money will be of paramount importance and for others it will be a flexible package. Get it right and the workforce will be more engaged and far more likely to stay; a highly engaged workforce is also likely to attract the best talent.
For more details please contact:
+44 (0) 808 172 93 22
This update is for general guidance only and does not constitute definitive advice.