Stop your best employees from quitting in the New Year

Posted by | January 28, 2019 | Employers, Retention

The new year is traditionally a time when people look to make changes to their lives – which can often include a change of job or career.

Losing good employees can be costly in so many ways – from the cost of recruitment and training of a new employee, the loss of knowledge and skills to the organisation, as well as the less measurable costs such as the gap an individual leaving can create to the team and culture – particularly in smaller workplaces.

Interestingly, research by Canada Life Insurance in 2016 found:

46% of respondents who are looking to move jobs admit they could be incentivised to stay in their current role. 


So, the question is how do you keep your best employees from moving on this New Year? Here are ten ways to help stop your employees quitting in the New Year.


#1. Regular get-togethers 

Make sure to have regular get-togethers where you discuss matters with employees (both individually and as teams), in an open non-threatening environment. This can give you good insights into how staff feel in their current role. It might provide indications as to where the role is lacking or not serving their long-term career plans.

#2. Life goals 

Find out what your employee’s long-term career, as well as non-work related life goals, are and see what could be done within your organisation to align with these goals.

This may seem counter-intuitive, but helping your employee achieve their ultimate goals is likely to make them more loyal, no matter how long they stay with you.

To help meet work goals, the organisation may be able to offer things such as job rotation and internal transfers (offering exposure to new areas of interest and development). An individual’s other goals may still link to work such as salary, environment or hours. For instance, if someone was saving for an overseas trip, offering extra shifts or job opportunities which offer a higher pay rate, as well as enabling the employee to take leave in advance, or extended leave for the trip will mean they will be more likely to return.

#3. Growth and change within

Look at what opportunities are realistically available and can be built into their role to enable staff to achieve more. For instance, providing a mentor either in-house or externally, or giving staff the opportunity for shadowing another staff member in a different area or a more senior role.

#4. Development planning

To enable the above to be tracked, put in place clear training and development plans together with timelines to enable staff and the organisation to see how and where staff are progressing (and what additional steps can be taken internally to help them to continue doing so, successfully). This could be linked into organisational succession planning. If people can see they have scope to advance within their current work place and will be given tools and time to assist with this, this could be the difference between them staying and leaving.

#5. The big picture 

Talk to staff about how their role fits in with the wider organisational structure and strategy. This should also be explicit within job descriptions. If your staff understand how their role fits into the bigger picture, they are better informed to make decisions that contribute toward the strategic direction of the company. This can be both empowering for individuals, and also good for the organisation.

#6. Salaries

Are you paying your best employees what they are worth, and is it reflective of the work they do? Acknowledging there are financial constraints within any organisation, especially not-for-profits, it is worth revisiting the position description for each role in the workplace every couple of years to ensure it is accurate and actually covers what the job entails.

Getting a job evaluation done is a good first step. Whilst employees don’t necessarily leave primarily over financials, looking at their role demonstrates that you value their contribution to the organisation and are willing to pay them fairly for what they do. It also helps to ensure fairness in terms of performance and relativities between staff undertaking the same job.

#7. Values 

What are your employee’s personal values and how do these align with the role they undertake? Are there other roles within the workplace the employee is able to undertake (even with additional training or study) that may be a better fit, leading to greater work satisfaction?  Are their other ways in which values can be met within your work environment (perhaps through group activities, charity fundraisers etc).

#8. Giving staff what they most want  

Look at alternative ways you may be able to accommodate your team members individual needs and wants. For instance, is flexibility something that’s really important to some people in the group? This could mean looking at enabling staff to have some autonomy around how and when they do their work (obviously this depends upon the nature of the work itself), such as flexi-time, working remotely for part of the time, or the ability to take a sabbatical or unpaid leave. This also means you are demonstrating trust in your staff to manage their time effectively. Setting clear expectations on outcomes, timelines and quality of work will help to make this workable.

#9. Culture 

Don’t underestimate the role of culture in people’s decisions to stay within, or leave, a workplace. A toxic culture wears people down. Preventing a poor workplace culture permeating your organisation means continually fostering a good culture. For instance, through modelling the behaviours staff have agreed on, setting expectations and being vigilant for threats to a good working environment.  Deal swiftly with issues such as bullying and harassment. Issues need to be handled fairly and according to procedure (and any relevant Employment Legislation). This means you need to have good policies and procedures in place, preferably ones that staff have been consulted on, and had input into, and feel confident in the way the organisation applies them.

#10. Look at yourself!

Finally take a look inwards. If you’re the boss, would you want to work for you? People leave managers, not companies as this popular article on intercom discusses. What could you do differently to make the work environment the best it can be, and one people want to be a part of?

Show your appreciation to staff when they have done a good job. Support staff at work by asking what they are working on and what you can assist them with – do they have everything they need in terms of tools and support to be successful? Learn to relate to your employees as individuals with a life outside the office, simply asking if they had a good evening or weekend and listening to the response. When staff know they genuinely matter and are being heard they are more likely to stick around.

We hope these points help you to keep your staff happy in the year ahead! Do you have any other advice to add? Share it in the comments below!

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