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How to retain a new hire in the competitive city of London

Kate Allen, Managing Director, Allen Associates

While finding and attracting top talent in the capital will always be high on the HR agenda, it shares the top spot with the need to retain the talent the organisation already has.

And, although every London-based Employer will have some form of staff retention strategy in place, few deliver much by way of results. So, what is the most effective way of holding on to your star performers?

A study published by Harvard Business Review showed that 40% of the people identified as having the “highest potential” – the ones to watch – within the organisation, end up leaving. 12% said they were proactively looking for a new job.

To understand why their most promising people are looking to jump ship, Employers – especially those in London where the talent war is at its most competitive - need to take a look at how they are managing their teams and how they can best incentivise them to stay.

Here we take a look at three of the most effective ways Employers can improve their staff retention levels, and tackle the shortage in their talent pipelines.

1. Never assume

One of the biggest mistakes we see Employers make is to assume they ‘get’ what their people are all about, or what motivates them. Sadly, in many instances, they do not.

Regardless of how talented an individual is, it doesn’t always follow that they have their sights set on climbing the career ladder. Nor does the fact they are in their twenties mean that they want to work in one of those ‘cool’ offices complete with ping-pong tables and ball pits at every turn – if they’re over the age of 30, they most probably don’t.

Research shows that one in four people plan to leave their Employer within the next 12 months, and one in five believe there is a mismatch between what they want from their career and what the organisation has planned for them. Rather than make assumptions, ask questions.

Meet with your rising stars regularly, find out the goals they have for themselves and align them to those of the organisation, check their engagement levels and sense of job satisfaction, and work together to set realistic career expectations, that are supported with the right development opportunities.

2. Get them excited

While the senior leadership team may be enthused over where the organisation is heading, you need your top people to recognise the part they can play in the success story.  That means ‘selling’ the vision, and gaining their buy-in.

Recognise those people with the greatest potential as early into their time with you as possible, celebrate their successes with the rest of the team, and involve them on key projects. When people feel that their contribution, ideas and opinion are valued, they feel empowered, and report high levels of job satisfaction and engagement with the organisation.

Make this the norm, and you will soon find that not only will you have a happier workforce, it will be a more productive one, which not only helps boost staff retention levels, it also positively impacts the bottom line, too.

3. Develop and reward

We have worked with dozens of Employers over the last 20 years, each with their own set of HR challenges. Those who outperform their competitors in terms of retaining their best people, do so through continual support and development.

By combining on-the-job experiences, formal training workshops, individual mentoring and ongoing coaching, Employers gain a greater understanding of how best to motivate their top people, and how best to reward them.

Financial incentives such as performance-related bonuses are obvious strategies, provided they are properly aligned with the objectives of the business, and not offered purely in a bid to dissuade talent from seeking new opportunities with another Employer.

Giving a perceived increase in status can also be a powerful way to reward Employees. For example, if a member of the Marketing team is particularly skilled at content development and social media, you could adapt ‘Marketing Assistant’ to ‘Content Marketing Executive’, or simply add ‘Lead’ to their job title.

There is no silver bullet approach to staff retention, but by following some of the tips highlighted above, Employers can drive improvements in the organisations’ ability to keep hold of their best people.

For more information on how we have been helping Employers like you over the last 20 years, get in touch with the London team today.

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