Strategies to motivate, develop and retain employees

by L&D27 Jul 2016
Providing adequate career planning for employees, offering incentives for top performers, and asking for feedback, are just some of Robert Half’s recommendations for companies to motivate, develop and retain their staff.

These suggestions come after their research found that 37% of Australian employees said better pay would be the most important factor which would prompt them to leave their current job.

Another 28% said a better work/life balance would be the major factor in the decision to change jobs, while 12% said further career development. This was follwed by an enhanced geographic location (8%), corporate culture (8%), and the relationship with the boss and/or colleagues (7%).

Moreover, recent research from ManpowerGroup’s report Millennial Careers: 2020 Vision found three quarters of  Australian millennials said that learning new skills is a top factor when considering a new job.

And 60% of millennials indicated that they’d prefer to stay with their employer for more than three years as long as they were provided with new learning opportunities. 

As businesses look to grow, having a well-developed retention strategy in place is still a top priority on the business agenda and "can be a decisive factor to gain a competitive edge", said David Jones, Senior Managing Director Robert Half Asia Pacific

“With remuneration still being a decisive factor for many employees deciding to leave their current employer, companies should regularly benchmark the remuneration and benefits offered to existing staff to ensure they are competitive alongside companies in similar sectors.”

Organisations that succeed in keeping their top employees motivated and loyal to the company are one step ahead of the competition, added Jones.

“There are many reasons why an employee can decide to change jobs. An effective retention strategy should therefore be flexible. There is no standard approach for employee retention," he said.  

"Employers should make an effort to check in with their top employees to find out their individual motivations. Good communication is essential for a good HR policy. Employers who know exactly what their employees are looking for will be able to bind them more efficiently to the company.” 

Robert Half recommends the following strategies to motivate, develop and retain employees.
  • Communicate openly and clearly with your employees about their expectations, concerns and needs. 
  • Do not underestimate the importance of recognition and appreciation.
  • Offer a personalised and competitive compensation package with sufficient attention to non-financial benefits.
  • Offer incentives to top performers after successfully completing a project or at the end of a successful year in which the goals were achieved.
  • Give adequate attention to career planning of your employees.
  • Promote your 'employer brand' by regularly and consistently communicating the company’s mission, vision and values, and by linking it to the business and working methods.
  • Ask feedback from tenured employees and find out what their motivations are, as well as potential reasons for which they might decide to leave the company. Incorporate this information into your retention strategy.
  • Organise structured exit interviews so you can prevent other workers handing in their resignation for the same reason.