With job vacancies climbing to a record high of almost 1.2 million in September, employers are struggling to retain staff and fill vacancies brought on by the hardships of the past year. After two periods of lockdown brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, our essential workers showed dedication and passion by continuing to work throughout worrying times whilst putting their health and safety on the line. 

In some cases, this caused employees to think about leaving their job or changing professions. One study found that 38% of employees are looking to change roles in the next year, with worsening work-life balance being the number one reason why.

Unfortunately, due to employers in adult social care and early years continuing operations with a reduced workforce and budget – they’ve prioritised their service and meeting service users needs, rather than staff retention. Most employers are anxious about the mass exodus happening from today’s workplaces and if companies don’t strategise to retain staff, they risk creating a dysfunctional workplace.

The recruitment process can be long and expensive, which is why the repercussions of losing staff can be felt in an employer’s time management and finances. On the other hand, should an employer go through a period of resignations, overall morale or productivity may dip.

To build a robust and healthy business that’s capable of consistent growth and improvement, staff retention should be a top priority. Whether it’s recruitment funding for onboarding or retaining your talent, a strategy for staff retention is a valuable asset that every business can benefit from.

To help build a robust retention strategy, we’re sharing four top tips to retain your workforce.

Pay attention to detail in your onboarding process

Consider your initial approach to new hires during their first week. You can think about:

  • How much one-on-one attention are they getting?
  • Have they been assigned a mentor?
  • Have they been introduced to all of their colleagues?
  • Have you given them the opportunity to ask questions?
  • Have you enrolled them on any training courses?
  • Have they been given a tour or a full overview of their business and their role?
  • If working in a care home, have they been introduced to residents?

Re-establishing the importance of a strong onboarding process will give employees the best possible start when joining the business. This will bring your business culture into focus for new hires and help them to establish relationships and rapport with colleagues early on.

Prioritise equality amongst your entire workforce

Although it’s often thought of as a cliché subject, businesses that treat all employees equally are more likely to retain them and keep morale high amongst the wider workforce.

Unfortunately, the subject of equality is a subjective matter to both employees and departments. Cases or feelings of inequality often happen without knowledge to the management team. For example, incidents could present themselves as a manager unintentionally spending more time with one employee, or a department not getting the recognition they feel they deserve. Businesses can prevent inequality by:

  • Paying employees a good wage, championing it and actively encouraging business partners to do the same.
  • Creating a diversity task force with the mission of creating equal opportunity and encouraging employee business partners to do the same.
  • Prioritising transparency, openly addressing employee concerns and adopting it as a company value.

Additionally, encouraging line managers to pay equal attention ensures that your workforce is treated equally and any concerns are dealt with. If leaders regularly meet with their entire workforce to acknowledge their efforts and celebrate success, then drive, enthusiasm and staff retention are likely to improve.

Offer noticeable benefits

A business that offers benefits to its workforce understands how the little things impact overall happiness. A workforce is far more likely to be happy when they receive exclusive benefits for simply being in employment. Consider your employee’s needs when offering benefits, some include:

  • Regular team social events
  • Financial bonuses and incentives
  • Additional annual leave such as birthdays
  • Private healthcare and dental care offers
  • Additional parental leave
  • Seasonal events

Additionally, 34% of small to medium-sized enterprises say that they have staff with mental wellbeing issues. Therefore, investing in creating a mental health inclusive workplace is likely to be both cost-effective and beneficial to your workforce.

Rather than attempting to offer as many benefits as possible, focus on the things both relevant and popular with your employees. These seemingly ‘little things’ could be all that’s needed to both retain and attract talent.

Engage your employees through training

When it comes to keeping your employees engaged, try to consider:

  • What are their goals for the future?
  • How knowledgeable are they about the industry you operate in?
  • Are there any skills gaps in your organisation?
  • Are employees motivated by your business goals and mission statement?

Offering structured training programmes with the reward of nationally-recognised qualifications will incentivise employees and improve engagement. Apprenticeships are a perfect way to upskill your workforce whilst giving you a significant financial return on investment. You can find out more about the return on investment of apprenticeships, including how to gauge the success of apprenticeship programmes in our free financial benefit of apprenticeships: measuring your return on investment e-guide.

Partnering with a training provider to implement an apprenticeship programme will help employees understand how to contribute to the mission of your organisation, fill skills gaps and improve staff retention.

Discover which of our apprenticeships can support your business and how to fund training today.

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