Tags: workplace management, staff retention, HR & Development...

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Staff retention is one of the big issues facing companies in their quest to be successful. 

Firms will spend thousands of pounds on recruitment in an effort to get just the right mix of skills and so it can often be frustrating when workers decide to move on to pastures new. 

Companies have a number of options when it comes to boosting staff loyalty, including offering employee benefits packages, yearly pay increases and perks such as free fruit and eye tests.

Bearing this in mind, let's have a look at some of the ways businesses can boost employee retention and minimise staff turnover.

Train up young workers

Barclays' head of early careers Mike Thompson thinks the key to keeping your best workers is to train them early, rather than simply "buying in" talent. 

Speaking recently at the Bett Workplace Learning Summit, Mr Thompson stated too many companies make the mistake of targeting graduates with limited work experience, but these people will typically see a job as a stepping stone to something better. 

On the other hand, taking on and training young school leavers through under-graduate training programmes and higher apprenticeships will generate loyalty, especially if the worker goes on to be sponsored to do a degree, which typically costs around £20,000.

Mr Thompson pointed to statistics from Barclays showing that only 20 per cent of employees that join through graduate schemes stay with the company. However, this figure rises to around 80 per cent for those with the firm from an early age through under-graduate programmes and apprenticeships.

"That's because you're investing a lot of time and effort over three years in somebody, versus buying-in someone at the equivalent level of capability," Mr Thompson said. 

Flexible working

Employees are more likely to be loyal if they feel their employer is taking their personal circumstances into consideration and top of this list is flexible working. A study by Regus discovered 76 per cent of business owners believe flexible working improves staff retention, while 71 per cent think it is a key measure in attracting new talent.

Some 56 per cent of employees said they would turn down a job that did not offer flexible working, while 54 per cent stayed in their last position for longer than they intended to because it was an option. 

This demonstrates just how useful flexible working can be when it comes to boosting the work-life balance of employees, as it typically leaves staff feeling healthier, more energised and motivated.

John Spencer, UK chief executive officer at Regus, said: "Over the last couple of years, as the wide-ranging health and productivity benefits have become apparent, flexibility has become an essential part of any attractive job, particularly for younger workers.

"The message from our research is clear - companies that fail to recognise the role of flexible working in today's workplace risk losing key staff and being unable to attract top talent."

Listen to workers

One of the best ways to make workers feel appreciated is to empower them to gradually take on more responsibility. Getting them to play a more active role in your business obviously makes sense, as it will boost their skills and improve the efficiency of your company.

A study conducted by John Izzo found that 64 per cent of workers think the biggest problem at their firm is that leaders take decisions without seeking any input first. On top of this, 26 per cent felt they had not been rewarded or recognised if they did "[play] outside the lines" and 38 per cent saw their ideas dismissed without being given even a degree of consideration.

This type of behaviour will leave employees feeling alienated and demotivated and, ultimately, seeking new jobs. But if business leaders take time to listen to and encourage blue sky thinking, it could have a number of benefits for the organisation.