By Gary Addison

To some extent the recovering economy has reduced the fear for employees of moving jobs, simultaneously introducing a challenging situation for company owners and HR departments to retain their best staff.

Poor retention rates can affect a company’s bottom line, as well as staff morale. The costs of losing a member of staff include the loss or slowdown of production, expenses in training a new employee and the time that takes, as well as the monetary cost of advertising or hiring a recruitment firm.

So how do you deal with high staff turnover rates and retain the loyalty of your highly-valued staff? Here are five ideas:

1. Put in place better recruitment practices

Be ready for the time you need to recruit by implementing better hiring practices. You can test new candidates’ skills on a practical level, as well as carrying out the usual CV sift and interview, to narrow down your search for the best person.

You’ll get to see how they work in practice, and under pressure, if you mimic a work-related scenario, or set a personality-based test that helps you decide whether or not they would fit into the team.

Although it will take a little longer, you’ll reap the benefits in the long-term and find the best person for the job.

2. Develop a culture of praise and recognition

It’s human nature to seek recognition for a job well done, and very de-motivating when it is never offered. People will respond positively to praise and encouragement, so try developing a culture of appreciation when it has been earned.

From a simple ‘thank you’ to offering practical rewards and incentives, you’re sending out a positive message to those who work hard for you, and encouraging those who don’t to make improvements.

3. Think about flexible working practices

Lack of flexibility in working hours or a poor work/life balance is a common cause of complaint in the workplace, but by implementing new systems you could encourage loyalty and staff satisfaction.

For some people being able to work flexibly can be equally or even more important than their pay, particularly those who care for a young family or elderly parents. Ask them what they need, and see if it can be incorporated into a new way of working – flexible starting and finishing hours may change their mind about leaving.

You’re being an understanding employer by recognising that people have a life outside of work, and this alone can make a huge difference to staff retention.

4. Invest in staff development

Having a good structure in place that encourages loyalty and ensures that staff are happy and engaged, means you can invest in their development with confidence. This reduces the chances of losing your most talented staff to the opposition, and provides them with more opportunities to grow.

Take the time to train and mentor your staff, setting goals and targets along the way – you’ll demonstrate commitment to their development, and that you value their input.

Career progression is an important aspect for many people, and to see there is room for movement up the ladder will help to encourage staff retention.

5. Keep communications open

From regular staff meetings to a staff suggestion box, there are many lines of communication that can encourage employee engagement and make people feel they’re an essential part of the company.

Actively seeking opinions will also help you spot any signs of dissatisfaction among the workforce, placing you in the best possible position to take action and prevent the next resignation.

Gary Addison has over 20 years’ experience advising directors when facing the threat of company liquidation, particularly in the area of director redundancy and statutory entitlements.