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Can I make my employees stay?

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There will always be free will and as employers there is nothing we can do to make someone stay if they have made up their mind to leave. However, there are a number of things you can look at in your business to encourage valued members of the team to stick around.

When you invest money recruiting and inducting employees into the business it’s always preferable to have them stay for at least a year and, in an ideal world, it would be longer especially if they are the right fit for the business. Recent information from Statistics NZ says that 15-24 year olds will have an average tenure of 1 year, and 25-34 year olds increase slightly to 2.2 years (male) and 2 years (female). As we age, our staying power increases, as you might expect.

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employees and kob tenture statistics


With this in mind, we have gathered a few ideas to assist employers with some ideas on what they can do to get employees to stick around.

Stay bonus

We have had a number of members ask in recent weeks if they can pay an employee to stay? The short answer is – yes. We refer to these as a ‘stay bonus’. Stay bonuses can be created to mark the anniversary of staff or whenever the employer would like to have this recognised. It can be a one-off bonus or a reoccurring bonus. Another option to consider is extending annual leave past the legislated four weeks and including an extra week or more after a certain length of time (again this can be ongoing or a one-off). If you are including this in your offer or as a sweetener later on, make sure the terms are in writing outlining all details, occurrence, length of time and so on.

Recognise their efforts

There’s nothing better than your boss telling you they recognise how hard you’ve been working and what a great job you’ve done. The truth is that a simple pat on the back is one of the most effective things you can do to keep your employees engaged and happy. Call out specific things employees have done that were impressive, such as going above and beyond the call of duty to taking on a task that no one else wanted to do. It’s sure to brighten their day and make them feel like they’re an invaluable part of your business.

Keep challenging them

When employees are bored on the job, they’re unproductive and can let their standards slip. It’s a careful balance, but challenging your employees enough so they continue to learn and stretch their skills while still being efficient at key tasks is critical in their happiness on the job.

Keep lines of communication open

Often times, employees leave a job or company because they’re not sure they have the support and the ear of the management team. It’s critical that each of your employees know that they are valued and that you are available to support them. You could consider having “on call” hours, when employees can reach you on your cell phone to talk about important matters that you may not have time to discuss with them during a busy shift or a regular day.

Foster and reward employee development

Most employees are extra motivated by their ability to grow within your organization – whether that means taking on additional shifts or expanding into an entirely new role. By encouraging these ambitious employees, and offering ways for them to expand their knowledge about the business, you’ll show that you’re invested in their future and that you care about their goals.

Offer small, personal perks

Hourly wages and salary aren’t the only incentive that will motivate your employees to do their best work and to stick around for the long haul. Small perks can be a great way to remind employees on a daily basis that their work is valued.

Most restaurants offer their employees free or discounted meals during shifts, but have you thought about offering a family and friends discount as well? This way, employees will feel motivated to bring their family and extended network in for a meal exposing more people to your business and providing a positive experience that they can share with others. Other small perks like small holiday gifts or extra time off as reward for a job well done can help make your employees’ experience more rewarding.

Offer schedule control and flexibility

Another reason employees leave a business is because their manager isn’t willing or able to work with them responsively on schedule needs. And while this is a crucial part of an employee’s experience at work, it can be difficult for some employees to proactively bring it to your attention.

Investing in a shared scheduling platform helps give your employees access to the scheduling system so that they can notify you in real-time of changes or updates. And keeping this system transparent shows your employees that you value their input and respect their role in your company.

Check out our resource on Staff Retention and Recruitment Strategies.

Some ideas taken from an article written by Ben Bartling, from Zoom Shift.

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