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What are the Best Strategies for Staff Retention?

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  • Written By: Jessica Ellis
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 03 December 2016
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A high rate of staff turnover can be costly to a business and cause constant upheaval in the workplace. Staff retention is important to maintaining the image of the business as well as creating a stable, familiar environment. There are many ways to increase staff retention, though it is important to avoid short-term solutions that may actually drive qualified employees away.

According to some studies, one of the largest factors that determines staff retention rates is the workplace atmosphere. Employees need to feel respected and important to the business, as opposed to expendable. How managers and supervisors behave toward employees is of particular importance, since many employees will have to deal with management on a daily basis and may rely on them for workplace reviews, raises, and requests for vacation or sick leave. Training managers to treat employees with respect and conduct business in a transparent manner can be a major factor in keeping good workers on the job.

Fair pay is a major part of any staff retention strategy. Workers will not be motivated to stay at a job where their skills are underappreciated and underpaid. In times of economic difficulty for a business, workers may also be more likely to stay on with a job if it is clear that everyone in the company is taking a fair share of cutbacks; if managers are buying new cars and bragging about bonuses while lower-level employees are subject to furloughs and pay cuts, loyalty will quickly vanish.

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Providing opportunities for career growth can also help increase staff retention levels. Good employees often have great ambition, and need to have the opportunity to learn and grow in order to stay motivated. Keeping a great employee in a low-level job because of his or her superior work is a good way to lose him or her; chances are, someone else in the industry will recognize the employee's skill level and be only too happy to offer more money and a more responsible position. Hiring for upper level positions from inside a company can be a good way to ensure that people are motivated to stick around.

Some staff retention strategies suggest that employees can be motivated by things like staff suggestion boxes, employee of the month competitions, and other small concepts. While these can be useful as part of an overall workplace strategy, they can appear disingenuous, cheap, and condescending if employees do not already feel respected and important to the company. It is important to avoid gimmicks that give the appearance of motivation while serious workplace conflicts are unaddressed.

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