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5 Tips for retaining talent in a changing world

You’ve been searching far and wide for the perfect employee to fill that key role and you’ve finally found them: they meet all your criteria, tick all the boxes and are a great culture fit. But then, just eight months later, they hand in their resignation letter. What went wrong?

Fuelled largely by the pandemic, businesses are currently experiencing ‘The Great Resignation’, where employee expectations and priorities have shifted, talent is in short supply (and expensive) and the way we work has been turned upside down. But while much has changed, one simple truth remains: being good to your staff is good for business. And, it’s not just important to attract the right talent – you need to be able to keep them too. So how do you meet your staff’s needs for career growth and satisfaction so that they stay with you for the long haul? Here are five tips to get you on the right track:

Culture is key

Culture can feel like an intimidating and elusive thing to get right, and there is no single answer that fits everyone. Each company needs to assess their mission and values, and ask themselves: “What do we stand for?” and “What kind of environment do we want to create?” In our post-covid world, a company that is flexible in terms of where and how people work, while promoting work-life balance, will be highly attractive to new talent.

One practical way to start doing this is to foster culture of learning and growth. According to an article by Deloitte, companies with a strong learning culture see an increase in retention and engagement of between 30% and 50%. Consider offering staff training and learning programmes that empower and enrich your people, and you could unlock their full potential.

Provide financial planning support

The Deloitte Global 2023 Gen Z and Millennial Survey found that finances are the top concern for these generations, who form a large and influential part of today’s workforce. Economic uncertainty and the high cost of living are putting increased pressure on employees, causing anxiety and affecting performance. Beyond paying salaries, providing staff with money management support is an invaluable tool, especially when only 51% of South Africans are deemed financially literate according to a Human Sciences Research Council study.

From budgeting, retirement and taxes to understanding debt and the power of compound interest, financial education can empower your employees with the right information that allows them to be financially fit and informed.

Show you care about their health

Nothing is as precious as good health—and as an employer, you can provide valuable support to your employees in this area. One option is to offer a medical aid subsidy where your company pays a portion of the employee’s monthly contribution, and the employee has the flexibility to choose their own scheme. The other option is a medical aid group scheme, where your company takes out a policy with a specific provider, and all employees will form part of the group membership. Knowing your employees are covered for medical emergencies will give them peace of mind and can have positive ripple effects throughout the organisation, which in turn can improve morale and productivity.

Besides medical aid, a recent Forbes article listed Wellness Offerings as one of the top 15 effective employee retention strategies. Why? Because investing in employee well-being means less sick leave and more energised, loyal people. Letlhogonolo Lesiba, Director of Employee Benefits at Cornerstone Financial Services Group, says that if you do offer an employee wellness programme, make sure that it’s consultative. “It’s important you consult with your employees to ensure that the benefits and retention programmes offer real value to them,” he says. “Often, these programmes are decided at a boardroom level with little or no employee engagement. Consultation, on the other hand, brings diverse viewpoints and expertise to the table, often leading to more innovative and effective solutions. This diversity can highlight potential pitfalls and opportunities that might otherwise be overlooked.”

Get serious about mental health

It’s no surprise given the past few years that in the Deloitte study mentioned above, 82% of Millennials and 80% of Gen Zs say that mental health support and policies are important when considering an employer. Showing that your company takes mental health seriously and creating a safe environment for discussions around issues such as depression and anxiety will go a long way to improving employee loyalty. One way to do this is to implement an employee programme that provides proactive support such as trauma counselling, access to a psychologist and more.

Implement a group scheme

Setting up a group scheme is a way to give staff access to investment funds and insurance cover they may not be able to afford on their own. This could include funeral cover, life cover and even short-term insurance, depending on what’s relevant to your business and employees’ needs. Not only do these offerings protect staff and improve job satisfaction, but they also help you to mitigate risks, boost your value proposition and establish a competitive advantage in the market.

Behind every top business you’ll find top talent. Attracting and then retaining that talent is vital to your company’s success. By taking good care of your staff and supporting them in everything from healthcare and money management to planning for the future, you can help your workforce to truly thrive. And, through initiatives like training, group schemes and wellness programmes, you can improve productivity, boost morale and create a happy, healthy team who are with you for the long haul.

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