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Wits staff exodus highlights the importance of employee retention

by , 01 October 2013
Two University of Witwatersrand (Wits) deans have become the latest staff members to part ways with it, BDlive reports. According to the report, the dean of health sciences and the dean of student affairs submitted their resignations on 26 and 25 September respectively. This came after a number of resignations recently, including that of the dean of commerce, law and management, the director of Wits Business School and many more. Meanwhile, Wits has defended the resignations, saying they're a result of strategic reorganisation while others were for personal reasons. These departures have certainly cast the spotlight on the importance of employee retention. Here's how you can keep your key performers and give your company a competitive advantage.

It's cheaper to keep your employees than to lose them.

Not convinced?

Here are three ways losing an employee will affect your business:

  1. The time to look for someone suitable, recruitment costs, time and cost of training and time lost to get the employee up to speed. It might also result in the loss of talent, productivity and quality shortfalls, poor morale and customer dissatisfaction.
  2. A new recruit only achieves up to 60% output in the first three months of employment.
  3. It takes at least six months for an employee to become 'value-adding' i.e. where he knows your business, your customers and his way around your systems and method of working.

Basically, it's crucial that you create a good retention culture in your business.

But how do you do this?

Use these four methods to create a good employee retention culture…

#1: Create great leadership and an open corporate culture

Leadership is an extremely important aspect of a good retention strategy. If your staff doesn't respect your management team and your corporate culture is rotten from the top, they'll never respect each other and will follow the poor example set by management.

So let your staff raise issues of concern. This is vital to ensure your company doesn't become a negative and toxic environment.

Good whistle-blowing policies can create an open culture, as your employees will feel they can talk about any problems.

#2: Get your employees talking about your company brand

Whatever attracted your employees to your company in the first place is often what keeps them, says the Practical Guide to Human Resources Management.

You probably spend a lot of money developing your brands for the marketplace, but internal branding should be where you start. Your employees can often be walking, talking advertisements for your company.

Remember that pride is a commitment driver.

#3: Set clear expectations for your staff

Most employees like to know what's expected of them. Very few employees are able to create their own job specs and even those employees require information about what the company wants them to do.

The reality is that most companies don't give enough company information during the interview and leave it up to employees to find out for themselves what the company stands for and why they're being hired.

Don't make the same mistake. You should create expectations in the interviewing phase when you're recruiting.

#4: Show your employees respect

Basic respect is one of the key issues to establish an environment conducive to employees wanting to stay.

The Practical Guide to Human Resources Management recommends you use these four ways to create respect:

  1. Communicate with your employees. It's a basic form of respect and good manners.
  2. Treat employees as you would want to be treated yourself.
  3. Proper and prompt feedback is also a sign of respect. Not giving employees proper feedback is disrespectful.
  4. You have to focus on diversity and improve respect for different cultures and language groups. Create a forum where these matters can be discussed.

Remember, it's cheaper to keep your employees than to lose them. So be sure to use these methods to retain your staff.

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