Don’t let gold slip though your fingers….


Last month I addressed the employment market in the Waikato and the war on talent. This month let’s have a chat about retaining your stars – and most certainly not letting that gold slip through your fingers. 

Contrary to popular belief, most people don’t leave a good job for more money.  The number one factor why people leave employment is because of their direct supervisor, and most importantly, their direct supervisor’s behaviour.  That’s kind of scary, isn’t it!  Covid has amplified employee attraction and retention even more.  Let’s break that down – if you were truly valued during Covid, cared for, supported, and even developed, then it’s less likely that you’re on the prowl for a new job right now.  However, if during Covid you felt isolated, your boss wasn’t living up to the company’s publicised values, or you felt vulnerable and exposed, then chances are the loyalty to your current employer has been tested – and you may feel the need for change.

In the current talent shortage, it’s vital that businesses focus on retention.  I mean truly focus on retention!  If you’re waiting until an exit interview to tell you what’s going on, then you’ve missed a golden opportunity.  Not just to keep a productive member of your team but to identify and fix problems in your business before you lose other people.  Employee retention is a critical issue as companies compete for talent in a tight economy.  The cost of an employee is around 2.5 times an employee’s salary depending on the role – let alone the other soft costs such as lowered productivity, decreased engagement, training costs and cultural impact.

If you google employee retention you’ll find a myriad of solutions and strategies to help you retain valuable team members, but let me take you back to what I said before – the direct supervisor has the most impact on why employees move on. When was the last time you or your people leaders took a long hard look at what their behaviour was doing to the culture and climate of the business?  What pain points are you creating in the business?  What could you be doing (intentionally or unintentionally) that could be leading your employee to the exit sign?  Do you actually know why people leave your company or do you just guess?   Personally, I think this is the first place to start if you want to retain the golden stars in your team.  Ask yourself…. “what could I start, stop or keep doing that would make my workplace better?”  And then – ask your people the same questions!  You might be delighted and surprised by their responses.

Once you understand why people stay or leave your company, then you can go about making improvements or changes as you need to.  Beware though    one size doesn’t fit all. Flexible work hours, for example, are very attractive to some employees, but not to others.   There are many employees who thrive on the whole 8am start, 4pm finish routine because it’s how they structure their world.    

Lastly, some employee turnover is healthy for business – we get that.  Change is good!  But you certainly don’t want your best and most productive employees leaving in droves because they can find a culture and leadership that empowers them elsewhere. When was the last time you sat down and put some thought into retaining your best employees?


About Author

Senga Allen

Human Resource Specialist and Managing Director, Everest People. Waikato and BOP people and culture specialists. www.everestpeople.co.nz