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Retention Strategies: The Why and How

Recruiting people is never easy. Finding the right fit for your organisation can provide a range of challenges. Do they have the right experience? Is there an alignment in our values? Will our goals motivate them to perform? But amidst the pressures of sourcing and hiring the right person, a fundamental element is often overlooked – how will we keep our hires within the organisation?
A retention strategy refers to the procedures, policies and plans that organisations implement in order to reduce employee turnover, and ensure employees are motivated, satisfied and productive. As with any business strategy, a retention strategy is designed to align with your business goals and generate a return on investment. It goes without saying that an effective retention strategy is a critical element of human resources management, and can seek to build value for your organisation through knowledge, organisational culture and productivity. If you have made the investment in hiring an employee, the lack of a retention strategy will render those investments made obsolete. So what steps can your business take to create an effective retention strategy?
Open Communication
Having an organisational culture embodying open and clear communication channels, particularly with management, allows for everyone to offer ideas and ask questions. Consequently, issues can be dealt with in a transparent nature, and employees will feel comfortable in airing grievances or providing potential solutions for improvements.
Setting Performance Targets
On the surface, setting performance targets may sound as if it would be a detractor for employee retention. However, much research exists linking setting achievable performance targets (think SMART), to the overall motivation and satisfaction of employees. Which leads to the next point.
Having a rewards program – or other forms of recognition – is a great tactic to have in place. When people feel they are being noticed and valued for their contribution to the organisation, particularly in circumstances of exceptional performance, their motivation and loyalty will grow. Formalising your employee recognition program will solidify recognition in company culture.
Engage Employees in Decisions
Of course, this element should be applied only in appropriate circumstances. This is particularly applicable when coming to decisions affecting the employees directly – such as their performance targets or objectives. Engaging employees in the decision-making process will lead to greater feelings of trust and belonging and will lead them to greater motivation to achieve the agreed objectives.
Earn Trust
This is ultimately the hardest element to satisfy, but can be borne out of demonstrating the traits of an effective leader. Loyalty cannot be enforced, but rather it is a product of the trust, respect and commitment shown by an organisation’s leadership. Loyal employees naturally engage better with the organisation’s goals and values.