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Ten Ways to Keep Valued Employees

Ten Ways to Keep Valued Employees


Alex Holderness

November 9, 2017


Studies show that around 40 percent of workers are planning to look for a new job within the next six months, and 69 percent say they’re already passively looking.

It’s never fun to lose your best employees, emotionally it can be tough to face but also financially, the costs are much broader than your next hiring fee.

Once you take into account the productivity losses of onboarding someone new, plus the time you invest in finding and training new talent – the costs really add up.  Studies predict that every time a business replaces a salaried employee, it costs 6 to 9 months’ salary on average.

So how can you work on retention? It might appear obvious, but people like to feel valued. Plain and simple.  Employees who feel appreciated feel valued.

When people feel valued, they’re more likely to go above and beyond the day job. They’re quicker to hold themselves accountable and fundamentally happier in their roles, and therefore, less likely to leave.

We spoke to a variety of companies working in the Australian tech space to get a handle on how you can keep your best employees for longer. Here are 10 great ways to show them some appreciation:

1. Treat your employees as people

When you’re focused on tough targets in a high pressured growth environment, it can be easy to overlook how your employees are feeling.  If you foster a workplace environment where staff opinions are important, you’ll ultimately have more success in driving loyalty and getting the best out of people.

Always ask for feedback, check in on projects, ask for opinions and demonstrate that you value your team’s time.

“A company is people … employees want to know… am I being listened to or am I a cog in the wheel? People really need to feel wanted.”

– Richard Branson, Founder, Virgin Group

2. Communicate Goals

Transparency and clear insight into the direction the company is going will give people a sense of purpose toward a common goal. You don’t have to divulge every company secret, but make your targets, ambitions and long-term vision known and heard at all levels.

“If the team understands what you’re doing and knows that their opinions are heard, it fundamentally changes their approach to work. They no longer have a “clock in, clock out” mentality but bring their intellect, their passions and their efforts to apply them to the cause. ”

– Blair Cooke, Managing Director, Amicus Digital

3. Provide goal posts

Aim to create an environment where people feel they can take risks. Failing quickly and learning immediately is one of the fastest ways to

Create boundaries for people to feel they can experiment, set clear goals and pillars that signify growth success rather than a ‘free for all’ to try anything

“The first element is a culture of discipline, without which it just isn’t possible to have a sustainable business – quite often I see discipline being sacrificed in an effort to build culture, this is foolish because discipline is an essential underpinning for all businesses, fun stops being fun when there are no boundaries!”

– Billy Tucker, CEO, Oneflare

4. Bring your tribe together

There’s nothing quite like being part of an awesome team and knowing your teammates have got your back. When everyone is working towards common goals, following shared values, it only ends in good things.

Allow for subcultures to form between departments, but always let your company culture sing loud so every employee can see how they are a valued team player within that.

“A shared culture is incredibly important to an organisation, it creates a personal connection that will ultimately lead to greater engagement and job satisfaction. Without a shared culture, collaboration and innovation suffer as teams become blinkered in their thinking and understanding of broader business strategy.”

– Lisa Sheehan – Chief People Officer from CarSales.com

5. Listen

Don’t assume you know everything, you’ve spent time and resources bringing in the very best talent, their opinions and feedback are well worth listening to. You get fresh new ideas and input, and your employee has been able to contribute to something large, or small that has an impact on the business. So whether it’s a product idea, a challenge to your thinking or just some personal feedback, let the ego go.

“Leaders of any organisation are in charge for a reason, they’ve worked hard and they are experts in their field. But we must never make the mistake of assuming we know everything. A true leader will recognise this and demonstrate they value their team, by actively listening and learning more about them and then using this knowledge.”

Simon Fitzgerald, Managing Director,  Text 100

6. Hire in the right way

Creating a connection with the employee should start from the moment they’re offered the job. Provide clear progression pathways, show an interest in their future within the team and set the employee up for success by matching their skills and passions to the best role.

Don’t delay the interview process, stretching it out for weeks can make the candidate feel disheartened and unsure before they step foot in the door.

“It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.”

– Steve Jobs, CEO, Apple Inc.

7. Demonstrate trust

If you want your employees to really give their all, you have to show them some trust, whether it’s a new project that’s a little out of their normal work or a flexible working schedule that allows for flexible working

There are easy wins here, it’s time to let go of some of those rules.

“I’m working mum, so having flexible time is essential. At Canva I don’t have to rush to the office early in the morning, nor do I have to be late home after work. I can leave early, head home and spend dinnertime with my family, then do some work later at night if needed. If I need to work from home for family reasons Canva is okay with that too.”

– Ellie Shin, Engineer, Canva

8. Do the small things

Celebrate your wins along the way, encourage transparency and a culture of success – nothing makes people feel valued quite like a shout out.

Whether it’s a thank you note, a company-wide email, or a bonus – never underestimate the power of the thank you.

“A text message from your boss at the end of a tough day to thank them for their contribution, public acknowledgement of a job well done, small gifts that aren’t expected but surprise and delight the staff when they go above and beyond.”

– Blair Cooke, Managing Director, Amicus Digital

9. Ask how you’re doing

Working with your employees is an ongoing task, not a one-off exercise and should be regularly monitored and measured in the same way you would any project.

There’s one key way to find out, create a survey and ask. You don’t need a formal program, just be consistent:

“We periodically do anonymous polls where we ask our staff whether they feel valued. This is then benchmarked against other companies. We also watch our staff retention rates.”

Brad Bennett, Managing Director, The Hallway

10. Pay fair dollars

If candidates aren’t being paid fairly, it’s very difficult to feel valued, even with all the above.

If this dissatisfaction is not addressed, you’re more likely to lose great employees and not see it coming:

“It’s important to ensure there is an openness to compensations discussion with employees. When employees decide to leave their employees and if salary is a factor, it’s too late to have this discussion with them. The horse has usually well and truly bolted.

Simon Fitzgerald, Managing Director,  Text 100

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