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How to keep your staff happy 13 January 2017

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Job satisfaction is key when it comes to keeping your staff happy and engaged. This might be something you’re particularly concerned about at the start of the year as people make it their new year’s resolution to find a new job, with January 31st being the most popular day of the year for people to quit their job.

Not only this, businesses are also beginning to see a generation of workers (both millennials and generation Z) who are moving from job to job every couple of years. While it is argued that baby boomers job-hopped in their twenties just as much as millennials do now, a survey by Careerbuilder revealed that 45 per cent of employees plan to stay with their employer for less than two years.

Every year on average, employee turnover costs organisations around 20 per cent in workforce salary costs. Oxford Economics estimates it costing £30,614 to replace each employee.

If you can help your staff to feel positive about their job then they are more likely to work hard, perform to a higher standard and stay with you and your company for the long haul.

Be passionately people focused

It is important to create a work environment where your staff feel valued and engaged. By providing people with the opportunity to drive their own learning and develop both professionally and personally, you will help to inspire your employees. To do this effectively you should understand what your staff want from work and deliver this, moving away from a one size fits all approach.

“As a business we are passionately people focused because we want a team of people who are engaged, positive, fun to work with and helpful,” says Polly McAllester, head of engagement at Bruntwood. “We believe that in doing so we are making sure our people are good people to do business with.”

Focus on inspiring leadership

“We want all of our colleagues to feel inspired because inspired colleagues believe in their contribution to the overall purpose,” explains Polly. Of course, for this to work you will need inspiring leaders. This means at every level you should focus on ensuring the leaders within your company believe in the common purpose of the business, and have the skills, tools and support to translate this to their teams in an inspiring and compelling way.

Encouraging senior employees to lead by example and be exceptional managers will in turn help to create an environment built on trust and accountability, where staff feel empowered to take ownership of their work and career.

Create an environment of empowerment and autonomy

World leading business thinker, Dan Pink explains the importance of autonomy as “our desire to be self directed [and] to direct our own lives.” According to Pink, the traditional notions of management in the workplace conflict with this and he suggests that to truly engage staff self-direction is better. “Just one day of autonomy produces things that would never emerge [otherwise].”

Creating such an environment involves every aspect of a company from how your staff work, where they work, when they work and how decisions throughout the business are made. This may mean you want to provide your staff with the space to be creative, work flexibly and ensure they are involved within decision making processes.

By providing workers with the flexibility to work at times that suit them, they can fit their lives around work quite easily, making their employer more favourable. A good office environment that encourages creativity will also will also keep a workforce happy, which is key to staff retention.

Learning and development

This is always going to be a major factor in encouraging engagement of staff, with one of the main reasons for employees moving jobs being that they see little or no chance of developing skills or enhancing their career. It is essential that companies plan ahead for future skills requirement and ensure that training is available to enable this.

“At the moment there is a strong focus on learning being self directed; individuals and managers prioritising learning and seeking out opportunities to learn,” says Polly. “The days of all learning being in the classroom are on the way out and internet based and peer to peer learning should be given as much focus within the workplace.” Companies who invest in employees’ career paths and professional development find their staff are more likely to work harder, be more motivated and engaged.

While learning and development will always be a strong factor in staff retention, the people and culture within a company are also important in keeping your employees happy.


How do you help to keep your staff happy? Let us know in the comment section below.

Staff working together
Staff working together