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Sure, there is a war for talent going on. But amidst that, empower the best among your existing talent. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Hiring the right people is fundamental for success, yet most organisations continue to find it a challenge. The phrase ‘talent war’ is something we hear a lot, used to justify regular recruitment woes and high rates of attrition. However, it’s somewhat of a myth.

Good people are always hard to find, while happy staff are less likely to jump ship, regardless of market conditions. Getting it right is about culture. You shouldn’t need to battle it out, paying ever-increasing sums to lure supposed ‘stars’.

If you create solid foundations, setting up your company to be welcoming, safe, open, honest, interesting, fun and fair, jobseekers will hear about you, come for opportunities, and stay long-term. That’s the way to build a great team, and great teams always beat great individuals in the end. To some, company culture might be just another box to tick.

But it’s incredibly dangerous to ignore how much value instilling purpose, responsibility, and belonging brings.

Prioritising engagement

Top-performing companies worry about engagement for a good reason. We know that engaged employees work harder, stay longer, and undertake more discretionary activity (i.e. going the extra mile). It definitely makes good business sense to have engaging workplaces. Plus, from a personal perspective, we have a duty of care to our employees.

Staff should want to go to work on a Monday, or at the very least, not dread the thought of it on a Sunday night. With most of us spending up to 40 years at work, of course we deserve for it to be as enjoyable and meaningful as possible. A crucial factor of engagement is contribution.

The best place to start in enabling people to feel like they contribute is sharing the company’s mission, checking they are in alignment and letting them see their significance in future success.

Trust and relationships

Positive relationships are the cornerstone of human interaction, and that’s no different at work. Work relationships matter, especially managerial ones. McKinsey found that relationships with managers are the top factor in job satisfaction, whereas poor relationships with management are cited among the primary sources of stress.

Establishing an environment of trust is vital. That means being authentic, transparent and approachable, as well as listening to what people want. After all the changes to how we work, flexibility is once again an issue that employers and employees are wrestling with.

It’s clear that being physically present in an office from 9 to 5 doesn’t promise productivity, in fact, signs show the opposite is true. Flexibility is incredibly important and when you employ adults they should be treated as such. If you can’t create trust, you’ll never have thriving employees.

Support to achieve mastery

It’s natural to seek improvement, which is why training and development have long been key to retention. What’s more, millennials are even more eager to learn. Manpower found that 93 per cent of millennials prioritise skill development, expecting employers to provide the necessary support to reach their potential.

Make advancement opportunities a clear and tangible part of your company’s goals, ensuring that individuals know the commitment to continuous learning comes from the top. Then reward success so that everyone is celebrated and acknowledged. When budgets are tight, training can take a backseat, while some organisations worry investing in upskilling will encourage a person to leave, taking their newfound knowledge elsewhere.

Don’t fall into that trap. If you want employees to grow with you, mastery in the workplace is a must for maintaining motivation and productivity.

Retaining talent shouldn’t be a complicated business problem, rather it depends on putting people at the heart of your culture, and treating them with respect.

A simple way to distil these principles is to give employees TEETH:

  • Train people on how to do their jobs and how to deal with their emotions in the workplace.
  • Empower team members by giving them decision-making authority and freedom.
  • Empathise through listening, responding and caring about people’s needs.
  • Tools need to be given - if you don’t have the right tools, you can’t do a good job.
  • Hire nice people. If you bring in unkind people, you can expect a toxic culture.