How Gloucestershire businesses can retain their best staff, according to Gloucestershire's employee expert

SoGlos speaks to Gloucestershire employee expert, Kelly Tucker of HR Star, to get her insights and advice on staff retention — with practical tips on how to keep staff happy and loyal.

By Chloe Gorman  |  Published
From acknowledging the contributions of long-serving staff members to providing a clear progression path, Gloucestershire's employee expert shares the best ways to improve staff retention.

For Gloucestershire businesses, hiring incredible staff is one thing, but it takes transparency, open communication, development opportunities and fair pay to keep them, according to Gloucestershire's employee expert, Kelly Tucker.

SoGlos spoke to Tucker to get her insights on how businesses can improve staff retention and keep their workforces happy and loyal for years to come. 

When it comes to building a great staff team, hiring the right people is only one step. How important is staff retention for businesses?

Staff retention is crucial for the success of any business. While hiring the right people is undoubtedly important, retaining them over the long run is equally essential. By maintaining a consistent team, businesses can establish a reliable and dependable workforce that can work together seamlessly to achieve their goals.

Moreover, by retaining experienced staff, businesses can save time and resources that would otherwise be spent on continuous training and onboarding of new employees. High employee turnover can inadvertently lead to a negative work environment, cause morale to plummet and ultimately impact a company's bottom line. Therefore, companies must make staff retention a priority and provide employees with opportunities for personal and professional growth, excellent benefits and a positive work culture that values their contributions.

Are there any key things which businesses with good staff retention do?

High turnover rates can be a major setback for any business, making it critical to prioritise staff retention. Successful businesses not only hire talented people but they also work to keep them happy and motivated.

One of the key things that such businesses do is pay fair wages and offer employee perks that promote work-life balance. Another important factor is having effective communication to keep staff informed about the company's vision and strategies, which helps to build a sense of shared purpose.

Additionally, investing in staff development and training can create opportunities for professional growth and job satisfaction, which ultimately leads to longevity. Employee recognition programs also play a role in staff retention by motivating employees to perform at their best and feel valued. Overall, businesses that prioritise staff retention demonstrate that they value the contribution of their employees and recognise how crucial they are to the success of the company.

Is a ‘job for life’ still something employees aspire to, or are people more likely to switch careers now?

The idea of a 'job for life' has been a long-time aspiration for many employees. However, with the changing nature of work and the rise of the gig economy, people are becoming more likely to switch careers. Embracing new challenges and diversifying experiences is now seen as a valuable way to enhance one's skillset and keep up with the evolving job market.

Generational differences have also played a role in this shift, with younger workers being more open to changing careers compared to their older counterparts. Nonetheless, the need for stability is still present in most employees, regardless of age and it is important for companies to provide avenues for professional growth and development to retain their employees.

What are some of the main things which trigger employees to look for a new job?

As someone who manages employees, it's important to understand what factors can lead them to seek new opportunities elsewhere. Some common triggers for employees include feeling unchallenged or unappreciated in their current role; experiencing a lack of growth and development opportunities; dealing with inadequate compensation or benefits; or experiencing a dysfunctional work environment.

In some cases, employees may also be motivated to leave due to conflicts with co-workers or managers, a lack of trust in company leadership, or a misalignment of values with the organisation. By staying attuned to these factors and taking proactive steps to address them, employers can help create a more positive workplace culture and foster higher employee retention rates.

Is burnout a factor? 

Burnout in the workplace can have a significant impact on employee retention. Even if an individual loves their job and is passionate about their work, excessive stress and burnout can cause them to seek out new opportunities.

It's important for employers to recognise the signs of burnout and take steps to prevent it from happening in the first place. This might involve creating a more supportive work environment; encouraging regular breaks and time off; and providing resources for mental health and wellness. By prioritizing employee wellbeing, organisations can maximise productivity, foster loyalty and ultimately, reduce turnover rates.

How important is transparency, particularly around things like experience, skills and salaries?

Transparency is crucial when it comes to things like experience, skills and salaries. It's only fair that when a new job is advertised, current employees are made aware of the advertised salary so they understand what's expected from them should they choose to apply. If they feel as though the salary is unreasonably higher than their own, this could result in frustration and have a negative impact on morale.

On the other hand, potential candidates could be put off by a lack of transparent information and may ultimately choose not to apply. A company that practices transparency can benefit from higher levels of trust and better communication, leading to a happier, more productive workplace. It's clear that transparency is essential, particularly when it comes to creating a fair, open and trustworthy work environment.

Should businesses have a clear progression path for each role?

As businesses grow and evolve, having a clear progression path for each role becomes increasingly important. Providing employees with a documented career roadmap gives them a tangible goal to work towards and a sense of purpose in their work.

However, it's important to recognise that not every individual will follow the same path, so providing flexibility and room for customisation on a person-by-person basis is equally important. By combining a clear progression path with personalised development plans, businesses can create a dynamic and adaptable structure that benefits both the company and its employees. Ultimately, it's about finding the right balance between structure and flexibility to achieve optimal results.

What are the main indicators that staff aren’t happy at work?

When staff aren't happy at work, there are several indicators that can give it away. One of the most obvious signs is a lack of enthusiasm towards their job. They may seem disinterested in their work and not show any initiative. Another factor is an increase in absenteeism and lateness. When employees aren't happy, they may find excuses to miss work, leading to more sick days or frequently coming in late.

A decrease in productivity is also a significant indicator. When staff members are unhappy, their productivity can decline, leading to missed deadlines and poor performance. Lastly, poor communication and a negative attitude towards colleagues and management are also red flags to look out for. When these signs appear, it's essential to address them promptly to ensure a happy and productive work environment.

What can businesses do to show their appreciation for long-serving staff members?

As businesses grow and expand, employees become an integral part of the team. Long-serving staff members are especially valuable and have contributed greatly to the company's success, therefore it's important for businesses to show their appreciation and recognise their hard work to foster a positive work environment.

One way to acknowledge long-serving staff members is by offering a personalised gift or bonus that reflects their interests or hobbies. Another option is to plan a special event or celebration, such as a dinner or outing, to thank and honour their dedication. Lastly, a heartfelt message of gratitude from management can make a significant impact and boost employee morale. By showing appreciation for their long service, businesses can retain talented employees and pave the way for future success.

If a business has identified that it has a high turnover of staff, what’s the first step to turning this around?

High staff turnover rate can be a significant challenge for any business, leading to increased recruitment and training costs as well as a decline in productivity. The first step in turning this situation around is to identify the root cause of the high staff turnover rate.

Conducting an employee survey, exit interviews and analysing internal data can provide insight into the issues, such as a toxic work environment or inadequate compensation. Once the root cause is identified, the business can begin to develop strategies to address the problem effectively, such as implementing a better employee engagement program or providing more competitive benefits packages. Taking these steps will not only help the business retain valuable employees but also improve the overall work environment and boost productivity.

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