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How to stop your team from New Year job hunting

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    Katie Mather

    Katie Mather UKBF Newcomer Free Member

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    Retaining staff in the New Year is enough to keep you up at night. The thought of your hardest-working employees sending CVs out to competitors strikes fear into your heart, doesn’t it? 

    Those wonderful team-players, those assets-to-your-establishment, they’ve all got New Year’s Resolutions, you know. Just like you, they want bigger and better things for 2020, and they’re planning ways to get everything they want. Unfortunately for you, that might mean they’re also trawling job sites and handing their details into agencies, looking for that dream opportunity that’ll transform their life.

    January is a popular time for people to think about moving jobs, but February is just as extraordinarily flighty. While January might be the month for best intentions and “visualising your intent” or whatever Instagram’s finest life coaches are preaching at the moment, it’s also a month of credit card bills and playing catch-up with the overdraft. Stay on your toes. February is when your employees can afford to start thinking practically about changing their career.

    Let us say this though: you don’t have to watch them leave. And you shouldn’t. If you value your employees, you shouldn’t be so ready to start mocking up vacancy ads for your Facebook page. Save yourself the anxiety, expense and — dare we say it — the grief of losing your amazing, business-enhancing employees by encouraging them to stay with you. Here’s how to do it.

    Talk and listen!

    Do you know what your employees want? It might not be exactly what they wanted when they started with you. If you’re great enough to have low staff turnover, or at least the majority of the members of your team have been with you for longer than 12 months, their aims and aspirations are likely to have changed.

    According to Fast Company, the most effective way to find out what your employees want is to talk to them. Who knew?

    Organise some time (as soon as you can) to talk about ways you can continue working towards goals they actually want to achieve, and to see how you can better suit their needs.

    Offer real opportunities

    One of the most common reasons people leave their jobs in search of pastures new is simply because they don’t feel like they’re fulfilling their potential where they are. As a manager, that particular truth can hurt.

    There’s nothing worse than feeling like you’re treading water. Nobody feels genuine job satisfaction in a role that expects the exact same from them every single day. How to break this boredom cycle is different for everybody, according to TheBalanceCareers.

    You could find your employee simply needs more hours, or to change the hours they work. Surely that’s an easy fix, right? You might find they’re ready for more responsibility — so why not offer training and work with them on some career targets? You might even learn that your quietly efficient mixologist has a newfound deep interest in becoming a sommelier, or that your assistant chef desperately craves the vibrant social interactions of front-of-house. 

    Help your employees discover what they want and find reasons for them to stay, and you’re not only showing how much you value them, you’re actively supporting them too.

    Re-evaluate your wage brackets

    Sorry to talk cold hard cash here, but is it possible your favourite employees are jumping ship because they’ve been offered better money elsewhere?

    Poaching happens, especially within the cut-throat world of the service industry. Great chefs, reliable waiting and bar staff and precise floor managers are worth their weight in gold. You know that. Your competitors know that too. So why aren’t you immediately thinking of giving them what they deserve?

    It’s tough out there, and money within the sector is hard to scrape together. We get it. But if you don’t pay your awesome staff the living wage or above, somebody else is going to. 

    As an aside, recruitment is expensive. It might be worth your while giving out those payrises after all.

    Make sure your team are happy

    One of the most common reasons employees leave a job, whether they admit it or not, is due to personality clashes, bullying, discrimination or workplace harassment.

    It’s a tough subject to bring up, especially if your team seem like they’re a happy family, but often people keep issues like these to themselves until it’s too late for you as a manager to do anything about it.

    There are a few techniques you can try to resolve any underlying issues in the workplace to keep your team happy and feeling supported:

    1. Keep communication lines open between you and all members of your team. Make sure it’s widely known that you are approachable and will take all concerns seriously and confidentially.
    2. If you notice any changes in your team — small groups forming or members becoming isolated for example — speak out. Make sure your staff know that workplace bullying will not be tolerated in any form.
    3. Ensure everyone is aware of how important communication and teamwork is to the organisation, and how valued each and every one of them are.
    4. Encourage friendship and socialising between your staff members. Loneliness at work is a real problem, especially in jobs with antisocial hours, so fostering a sense of togetherness benefits everyone.

    There is one final piece of advice we’d like to share. Be fair, and deal with any problems or issues within your team swiftly. We can’t stress enough how vital this is to the underlying morale of your team. Once one vital member leaves, the dreaded domino effect can see many important employees following suit. 

    And if you can’t convince someone to stay, listen to their reasons why, and for goodness sakes’, wish them well. You never know, they may come back someday.