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How to ensure employee retention in your workplace

by , 03 October 2013
Every company is looking for a competitive advantage. The truth is people are the key differentiators between companies that are successful and those that aren't. Here's how to ensure employee retention in your workplace so you can keep your key performers and give your business a competitive edge.

Companies are working harder, faster and cheaper and struggle to attract and keep good employees, says the Practical Guide to Human Resources Management.

So how do you strike a balance between investing in your workforce and the need to cut costs?

It's simple. Implement an employee retention strategy.

Use these four steps to ensure employee retention is implemented in your workplace

Step #1: Identify key retention issues

  • You must identify issues that affect your employee retention. You can do this by conducting an audit. In this audit, you can ask your employees questions like:
  1. Why do you work for the company;
  2. What attracted you to the company;
  3. What makes you feel you make a difference at the company;
  4. What would make you leave, what would make you stay;
  5. Would you advise your family and friends to work for the company? If so, what are the things that you like about the company? If not, please tell us how we can improve.
  • Analyse the critical jobs. Ask all your managers which jobs are the most important. This will help you understand who you want to keep and who is not so crucial.
  • Conduct a workshop with your managers. Ask them to analyse the jobs which are critical for them to meet the goals of their respective departments.

Step #2: Set up a retention committee or staff association representatives

Put together a retention committee or appoint staff representatives and train them on retention principles.

Consult with the retention committee when you implement your strategy. The committee may include representatives from management, HR practitioner, Employment Equity forum representatives, the union and relevant staff association representatives.

Step #3: Address key issues

Once you've identified key issues which hinder your staff retention, address these in a systematic way and use your retention committee to help you prioritise and address change implementation.

For example, you may have identified the following critical areas for influencing staff retention:

  • Not recruiting the right person for the job.
  • No career-paths for staff, so they don't know how they can grow at the company.
  • Reward and remuneration isn't in line with market levels.
  • No mentors for junior staff and a 'sink-or-swim' approach to management.

Your implementation strategy might involve the following actions:

  • Recruitment practices will be audited on an annual basis to ensure they are aligned to the retention strategy.
  • All employees will be continuously audited to ensure they're on an IDP (individual development plan), to be updated bi-annually or in line with the performance management process.
  • Remuneration will be benchmarked with our competitors to ensure alignment with the current market-related salary rates.
  • Identify role models to be available as mentors for the development of junior personnel. These mentors, once identified, will be trained and a process put in place to ensure good mentoring strategies.

Step #4: Continuous monitoring

It's important the retention process isn't static. There's a continual process of change in organisations. It's vital you:

  • Analyse your exit interviews
  • Continually do staff surveys to measure commitment and retention
  • Maintain openness and honesty as a culture of your organisation
  • Market your brand internally on an ongoing basis.

Well there you have it. Ensure employee retention is implemented in your workplace so you keep key performers and give your business a competitive edge.

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