Winter is coming…5 recent survey tips to help retain your employees

Winter is coming…if you’re a GoT fan, you’ll no doubt be starting your preparation and planning for Season 6 which starts in a few days.  You will have already watched the new season trailers on Youtube (15 million+ and counting),  read various wiki’s, fan pages etc, and with your work colleagues (who are fans) tried to drop into a conversation “winter is coming” to change the subject to start talking all things GoT!

Now you’re probably thinking ‘what’s this got to do with hiring and retaining exceptional talent?‘  Well, this month we conducted a survey of candidates predominantly employed in the ICT sector in Australia, asking them a range of questions about their employers.  The survey allowed employees to provide anonymous feedback to a range of questions, and by responding will give them some insight into what it’s like to work for other employers in Australia.  We’ll be publishing more on our survey, the research and the important results in the future.

BUT, why the reason for the GoT reference?  Apart from millions of people (including Presidents of country’s) getting excited about the start of Season 6, it was this firm in the UK’s GoT perk for their staff, and it coincided with our initial survey results.  Like some of our survey results, we thought this retention technique was quite unique, but not unexpected…

This UK firm provides staff with a morning off as a perk following the screening of each seasons first episode of Game of Thrones

1. Promise a castle, before the Kingdom of “Westeros”

  • Employees value your ‘metronomish’ execution.  Our survey showed that any promises (explicit or implied) or commitments that are met on a regular, timely (think almost metronome) manner are highly valued by employees.  If managers are supposed to meet with team members on a monthly basis for a regular catch up and this doesn’t happen, or weekly one on one’s are constantly changed, it has a real impact.  Managers may think this is petty or insignificant, but for some staff, it’s a big deal.

Commit and follow through on the small things (castle),  before you commit to something larger pay rise, promotion, bonus etc (the kingdom).

2. Recognise and promote your warrior employees

  • Recognition and rewards are key to your star employee motivations (Maslow), and importantly their retention. Yes, money is a motivator, but there are a number of things you can do to recognise, and where appropriate promote your staff.  There are many, many things you can do in this area that won’t break the bank.  Great place to work may provide some ideas.
  • Surprisingly, employee feedback from our survey also said some employers lacked manners (a simple thank you) and professional courtesies (managers not saying good morning or acknowledging staff), to changing the goal posts on a bonus or team incentive.

Good manners and ensuring commitments (particularly financial) are written down is priceless.

3. Reward your “warrior employees” appropriately

  • When was the last time your business had an independent review of your salary and compensation plans?  The world changes at a rapid pace and if your firm is off the compensation pace by too greater margin, you will lose key staff.  Remember, compensation has several components, so even if you’re a start-up or established business, there are a variety of ways you can compensate staff for their efforts – try starting by just asking them?  You may be surprised by some of the responses!

Once you have a firm baseline and completed your primary and secondary research, ensure you have a mix of financial and non-financial rewards for your key staff.  Review this regularly as everyone’s life and personal situation changes.  For example, working from home may not be value for a staff member until a life change occurs and they have a child or have to care for an elderly parent for example.

4.  You’re awesome.  You have a best practice recruitment process, hired smart people, now get out of their way!

  • Some survey respondents felt their employers had a better process for managing their finances than recruiting people.  Well done if you have a best practice recruitment process and hired some great people – now get out of their way and let them do their job!  Employees felt with a clear job description, realistic expectations, the right resources and a commitment from management, they could achieve some great results.  However, the initial employee survey results show some businesses are still too bureaucratic, don’t stick to an agreed course of action for long enough, have inexperienced management or suffer from the ‘Peter Principle‘, and not prepared to fail quickly to have long term success.
  • Encourage questions, debate and ‘Flearning (fail + learn = success) – we encourage our children to do it, so should adults.

Results from ‘stay interview’ surveys show clear, concise and candid communication always rates highly with employees as one of their key reasons for employer loyalty.

5. It’s hard to have everyone sharing the company vision and journey, but worth it.

  • Having all your staff including contractors sharing your company vision, objectives, and team goals is tough but worth it. The survey showed whilst having teams of people pulling together in the same direction was great for staff retention for example, having everyone in the WHOLE BUSINESS going in the same direction was priceless.

If needed, seek expert strategic advice on what your business can do to encourage the behaviours and actions that reward people who share the company vision and journey.  There are plenty of examples of companies who have this right, and just as many where your business can learn from their mistakes.

If you would like more specific information about this blog or how you can Recruit, Retain and Retrain A-Player employees, please get in touch.