How can I boost retention rates and stop staff leaving my company after three years?

Q: I’ve been running my own business for the last 10 years and several staff have been here since the beginning. However, we are having trouble retaining new hires. Anytime someone new joins, it starts off extremely well – but then they leave after two to three years. How can I grow my business when I can’t retain new people?   A: While turnover in an organisation is normal and healthy, it appears that you are struggling to retain employees at a particular stage in their career. This may be due to internal factors or to external ‘pulls’ from competitors. The modern career is often characterised by three- to five-year cycles. Ensuring employees are engaged and developing through these cycles should ensure the longevity of your workforce. You must gather information on why it is happening from as many sources as possible. Here are a few pointers:   1 Focus Group: In order to solve this issue, it is vital to first understand the underlying causes. Insights can be gained by conducting focus groups with employees regarding their levels of engagement, any differences between their initial expectations of the role and the reality of their day-to-day work lives. Care should be taken in preparing for these sessions. All communications shared must be phrased positively, the confidentiality of information guaranteed and a safe space for discussion established. While encouraging useful discussion is a priority, avoid negative confrontations or irrelevant chat. To this end, it may be useful to engage an expert to assist you. Following the discussion, it is vital that an action plan is developed so that your efforts have an impact on the organisation and the participants feel their voices are heard. It is vital that there is no negative impact on employees who share less favourable feedback.   2 Exit Interview: Once an employee has handed in their notice, it is usually too late to make any changes to their conditions that would encourage them to stay long term. Research has shown that up to 60% of employees who accept a counter-offer from their existing employer change roles in the subsequent 12 months. However, their experience of your organisation and their reasons for leaving may help to build a clearer picture of any issues. Exit interview questions should be developed to capture the employee’s impression of working conditions, compensation, and benefits package and the organisation’s position in the marketplace.   3 External Marketplace: It is important to note the employee is not only moving away from you but also moving towards a new employer. Is the compensation and benefits package offered by your organisation competitive? Are there schemes or initiatives being run by competitors that could be implemented in your organisation? Are your organisation’s structures appropriate to the market? Answering these questions should give you an insight into your organisation’s strength and brand in the employment market. This information should then be used to develop an action plan to boost your organisation’s competitiveness regarding recruitment and retention.   4 Recruitment Process: The initial stages of forming an employment relationship continue to affect your employees long after they have signed a contract and joined your team. Examine your recruitment process to ensure appropriate expectations are set for the candidate’s performance, their role content and their career development. Employees may become disengaged or disillusioned if the perks of the role or potential for development were oversold at interview.   5 Career Development: Ensure that all employees are aware of the opportunities available for development. Clear pathways should be developed, charting an employee’s potential development through several levels of the organisation and providing training or experience required to achieve this. This information will allow the employee to strive to achieve more.           Caroline Ward HR Services Manager Collins McNicholas Recruitment & HR Services Group This article was first published in the business section of The Sunday Independent, on April 29th, and the original version can be read...

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I know I am being managed out of my HR job by firm’s new owners – what should I do?

Question: I’ve enjoyed my role as Head of Human Resources with a large tech company for five years. A year ago, the company was taken over and the new owners brought in their own executives. Since then I’ve been moved to a smaller office and excluded from important meetings. I’ve been in the industry long enough to know that I am being ‘managed out’. Should I stay and fight or accept the inevitable payout? Answer: The turbulent times brought about by a company takeover can be challenging and unsettling in the immediate aftermath and the initial transition phase. Adapting to new approaches, while struggling to establish yourself in a changed environment, can become a negative cycle if not managed carefully. I suggest these steps: 1.Investigate the situation objectively It seems that the transition period has been particularly difficult for you and has left you feeling unappreciated and disengaged. It is important, however, to take time to assess the situation objectively before making any firm decisions. Coaching sessions can provide a safe space to consider the reality of the situation and assist you in separating your emotional response to the changes from the business reality. Work with a coach who is appropriately trained, experienced and understands your needs. Questions you may consider include: How has your role changed? How has the organisation changed? How have my feelings towards the organisation changed? Is the situation short-term or long-term? 2.Explore your options Having established a strong relationship with a coach, you can now explore all options in a safe space. This will help you to plan potential conversations with management, discuss your...

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Why do I feel like my role hasn’t changed since my promotion to a management position?

Question: I was recently promoted to marketing manager within my organisation. During my interview, I was told that I would have more responsibility over certain project duties. But six months on I am still doing the same work. While my pay has increased, I feel like I’m not being challenged. I would like to take on more responsibility and progress my career. How can I address this situation with my boss? Answer: Firstly, congratulations on your promotion. In many cases, internal promotions do not get the same level of credence as moving to another business does. Selling your capabilities to your existing organisation can be more difficult, as they are acutely aware of you before the interview even happens. There isn’t always a job spec with internal promotions, so if you do not have one, your first step is to request one from your manager. A suggestion would be to create a draft job spec, based on your knowledge and expectations of the role, and send this to your manager to review and confirm. Your manager may not be fully aware of what you do on a day-to-day basis, and this is an ideal opportunity to further highlight your value to the organisation. It is important that you structure your approach to ensure that all parties are on the same wavelength. Start by setting up a meeting between you and your manager. While you have been promoted, it appears that you have only received a pay rise – and no extra responsibilities. This may be enough for some, but you want to progress your career so it is important...

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