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Fast Guide - Attracting and keeping staff

By TLF Research

  1. Company reputation - a good reputation in the market place, a well-known brand or recommendations from friends or contacts are often influential. One employee who took part in a focus group we ran for one of our clients told us “I researched several hotel companies and chose “X Hotels” because it was far more people focused”
  2. Competitive pay and benefits - seen as one of the best around, includes a range of flexible working options and gives some choice over benefits, so the employee can select what suits them best
  3. Impressed with the people they met during the selection process and the way they were treated - the desire to work with people who are enthusiastic, believe in what their company stands for and are engaged in the work they do
  4. Opportunities for personal development - “I knew people working for the company and they told me the training was excellent”.

Why people stay

  • Competitive pay and benefits
  • Great work colleagues - time and time again people say to us...”the friendly people I work with”...“there is a really good team spirit in our department”...“everybody helps each other when we’ve got a special project to finish for a customer”
  • Having the space to do what they do best - being coached by their manager who concentrates on building their strengths rather than turning around their weaknesses (some may not be for ‘turning’) and encourages them to come up with new ideas and extend the boundaries of their capabilities
  • Recognition for a job done well - especially non-financial recognition such as a personal thank you, acknowledgment at a team meeting or an article in the newsletter. This costs virtually nothing and every organisation can give it.
  • Fair performance reviews - sometimes they are contentious, but they should always be fair, open and honest. Without that, manager-employee trust is seriously at risk, and everybody loses
  • Well defined career paths - these actually live up to the expectations the employee had when joining...“our company does a great job at bringing through and developing people at the lower levels in the organisation”. High performers, especially, look for multiple career paths and a highly involving leadership style.

Why employees leave

  • Poor work-life balance...“having to work long hours is part of the culture here”
  • Lack of involvement or no interesting projects - always doing the most routine tasks, not being given extra work to help other departments out when their workload is low, especially when the employee volunteers
  • Career stagnating - feeling pigeonholed, nowhere to go, even if it’s really a matter of developing a new set of skills
  • Cold shouldered, overlooked, being taken for granted...“people who have been here a long time are not always open to new ideas”...“managers who talk down to you”...“I worked really hard to ensure conference delegates enjoyed their stay, but I had no thank you from my manager”
  • Company moves away from its core values/ethics.... “I was told pay was linked to performance but everybody gets the same pay rise, so why should I bother”.

Importance means different things to different people

While these common themes provide a useful backdrop to what is important to employees, there is no off-the-shelf set of reasons that can be universally applied in every organisation. Views about importance vary by factors such as employee group, lifestyle and organisation.

Three key questions for you

  1. Do you really know, through surveybased evidence, what is important to your employees?
  2. Do you have a reward strategy that reflects the needs and priorities of different groups of employees and is aligned with business goals?
  3. Do you measure how “what is important” translates into customer measures and business success?
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