Talent retention goes beyond just benefits and perks

To encourage high quality employees to stick around, businesses must focus more on how they’re treated at work, argues Joanna Howes

Take a moment to think about how well you treat your staff. Not financially, but how you support and care for them. Why do they get out of bed and come to work for you?

Look at the lists below – which one would describe your team the best?

Team A

  • High energy
  • Teamwork
  • On time and shows up 100%
  • High contribution and engagement
  • Asks for help

Team B

  • Low energy
  • Working in silos
  • Late to calls and meetings with cameras off
  • Low engagement and waits to be told what to do
  • Feels they are on their own

If you recognise a lot of team B in your company, then you are at high risk of losing your people and even your star talent. The pandemic has emphasised and brought to the fore the need to feel happy and fulfilled in work, and this has taken over any financial reward by a long way. In Jacob Morgan’s ‘future leaders’ research, he discovered that 47 per cent of senior executives believe retaining and attracting talent is going to be one of the top challenges for the future.

Looking after your team must become a high priority if you want your company to still be around in the future; your company is only as good as its people. Here are three core areas your company and leaders need to focus on to make your team members want to stay and be loyal to you.

To know they matter

One of the core needs humans have is to know they matter, to feel like they belong and are good enough to contribute to the company. 

Here are some simple gifts you can give your team to know they matter:

  • A simple ‘thank you’ after a job is done well or someone has gone over and above;
  • To listen to your team member and for them to feel heard by you;
  • To validate someone’s experience and not make it about you;
  • To focus on them and not be on your phone or writing an email;
  • To give regular feedback so they know how they are progressing;
  • Asking them if they are okay and how you can help them.

Contribution and growth

To reach high energy and performance in a team, they need to feel they are contributing and then as a result they are growing. One of the highest forms of motivation is progress. When we do not feel we are progressing, we can actually slide backwards and this is when uncertainty creeps in and the team begins to question if they should work for you.

Think about how you can create a collaborative environment that encourages all voices to be heard and given feedback on their ideas vs. everyone's too busy and just doing what needs to be done.

Ensure you have set your leaders up for success and allow time to nurture and grow the team. Leaders need to feel valued and validated in their contribution to the company and not stuck in the day-to-day to prove their worth. 

Profit vs people

Your team are not robots and they have a certain bandwidth of work they can handle. Burnout has been very real these last two years, and it cannot continue. I would put the ‘Great Resignation’ down to people feeling used and expected to deliver too much and therefore the team do not feel good enough as their work output has become below the standards they hold themselves to. This creates many question marks for people over what the company really values: is it profit or people and their wellbeing?

People want to be treated fairly and have meaningful work more than a big paycheque, and if your company is prioritising profit then your hiring costs for 2022 are going to be very large. 

It’s time for people first

The main learning and insight is that if you take care of your people, they will take care of your company. Be the leader your team deserves and maybe you wished you’d had. Move with how the world is changing to ensure your company can still be around in the future and grow future leaders who know that it’s all about the way you look and care for your people which equals sustainable success. 

Joanna Howes is a coach, behaviour expert, author and founder and CEO of The Change Creators