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Sara Duxbury, head of people at Fletchers Solicitors, which recently ranked in the Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to Work For, gives advice on how employers can improve their retention rates and maintain a committed workforce in today’s competitive job’s market. 

staff retentionAs the economy continues to improve and pay levels rise, confidence in the job market is on the increase. As a result, employees are beginning to realise that there are more employment options available to them and are demanding more from their current jobs. For this reason, company bosses need to be focusing on ways to improve staff retention rates. It’s no longer just about attracting the best talent to a company, but more importantly, actually holding on to them.

Research by Investors in People found that one in four employees feel the job market has improved over the last 12 months, and one in five are now actively looking for alternative employment. Those who continuously feel undervalued and unsatisfied in their current role think they will be more valued by another employer and are considering their next move. With such a high proportion of staff members pondering a move, bosses run the risk of losing quality staff members if they do not address employee concerns such as poor management, feelings of being undervalued, job dissatisfaction, or a lack of career progression.

So how can businesses increase retention rates and ensure they are meeting the needs of their workers?

Supporting continued training and development

Employees need to feel as though there is room to develop and progress within their current company, otherwise they are likely to become demotivated and disengaged with their day-to-day work. In order to keep staff members engaged, it’s important to offer regular training opportunities that will improve existing skills, but also present the chance to learn new ones as well. The focus should be on constant learning throughout the employee’s career by providing skills training, leadership training and professional development. Staff members who feel as though the company is committed to supporting their personal progression will feel more valued and important, and as a result, more invested and loyal to the business.

Be open and transparent

It can sometimes be difficult to listen to and communicate with everyone in the business. This can result in some employees feeling as though they are not important, or their opinion is not valued by the firm. To increase retention rates and ensure that staff members are heard, bosses need to establish an open and transparent culture where employees feel like they can approach senior members of staff and voice any concerns. This will help foster a greater sense of community where everyone communicates openly and can share ideas and suggestions, instead of employees feeling they must suffer in silence if something isn’t working well for them.

At Fletchers Solicitors, promoting an open and inclusive working environment is important so that everyone is kept in the loop about what’s going on in the business. The firm has just reached 300 staff members but still ensures that each one feels valued, priding itself on its excellent level of internal communication.

Offering employee benefits

Offering the right benefits can also help to keep employees happy and motivated. Benefits should be offered based on things that are actually important to staff members. By supporting their needs, this will again help to make workers feel important and valued. For example, within the legal sector, there is a well-establish long working hour culture, but in today’s modern society more people are looking for a better work-life balance. In order to support this, Fletchers Solicitors has established a flexible working structure so that lawyers can plan their work schedule around other commitments, such as family life. This includes allowing staff members to work remotely or have more control over the times of day they work.

The business world is a competitive environment and so when firms do attract the best talent, it’s important to retain them. As figures show that more people are looking to move jobs in 2016, it’s important to understand the key drivers behind these motivations. Businesses need to be addressing issues and concerns and ensuring they are maintaining staff morale before they start losing their top performers to the competition.