With the Office for National Statistics reporting another record high in UK job vacancies, peaking at 1,298,400 between November 2021 to January 2022, retaining staff is arguably THE biggest business priority employers are currently facing.
Staff retention not only ensures continuity within teams, deters other colleagues from leaving their roles and helps to provide a consistent service in customer-facing roles, but it is significantly more cost effective too. According to NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) the average cost per case of staff turnover is an incredible £15,334!
While keeping workers happy during this particularly challenging time may seem a feat too great, there are some tried and tested techniques which can help. Here we provide our ‘dos and don’ts’ of staff retention.
DO: Provide flexibility
In our State of the Deskless Workforce Study in 2021, a staggering 65% of workers from sectors including hospitality, healthcare, logistics and retail, told us that if they felt unwell, they were either not allowed to swap a shift or were unable to switch one because of the lack of a tool or mobile app to action the change. In the same study, one third of the 1500 respondents said they had even left a job because their employer did not give them enough notice of work schedules.
Eye-opening stats, aren’t they? And they highlight a very real problem.
We recommend empowering staff by giving them the flexibility to choose their own hours and swap shifts with colleagues if, and when, they need to. By introducing a workforce management tool this can be done at the click of a button – without the need for any nervousness or difficult conversations.
DO: Open up the lines of communication
The pandemic has shaken up the world as we knew it and many workers simply don’t want things to return to ‘how they once were’. So, communicating with them about how they’re feeling, what they want from their role, discussing any concerns they may have, as well as giving them insight into how the organisation is faring, will pave the way for more open relationships.
For those managing deskless teams, it may not be as easy to communicate with staff who are on the shop floor or out making deliveries, but there are tools and methods to engage with them, which make them feel listened to and valued.
These could include an anonymous suggestions’ box in the canteen, a monthly ‘you spoke, we listened’ update on the noticeboard, a team WhatsApp group to share regular news and thoughts and a quarterly survey staff. Any feedback received from these processes can then be used to implement positive business changes.
DO: Train, mentor and develop
Although budgets might be tight for external training providers to be brought into your organisation, delivering grass-roots development and mentoring using existing talent is invaluable.
A training commitment to your workers doesn’t go unnoticed - it proves that they are a valued member of the team and that there is room for growth within their role. Small steps like setting up a buddy scheme, learning lunches and peer-to-peer mentoring can be quickly adopted without too much distraction from the day job.
DON’T: Look for quick fixes
Staff parties, bonuses and flash prizes all sound great but if they are papering over the cracks of a toxic work environment then staff will be turned off. Rewards definitely have their place within people management but it’s important to get to the crux of what makes each employee tick before trying a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach. One staff member may be more motivated by being given greater autonomy in their role, while another would prefer flexibility as they juggle work and home life.
DON’T: Be an island
It’s very easy to feel isolated in a managerial role – keeping lots of plates spinning and never really feeling like you have enough time to concentrate on one activity. While it might be lonely at the top, it doesn’t always need to be. Look at the promising staff in your team and call in their support. Why not appoint a communications champion – they can be tasked with setting up the staff survey and collating feedback from the suggestions box. Ask another to be the training champion – they can identify who can mentor who and what the programme could look like.
For more advice on staff retention, download the State of the Deskless Workforce Report.