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How employee progression can foster staff loyalty

Staff loyalty and retention has always been an important aspect of business but, with a talent shortage in full force, it is now more crucial than ever

CREDIT: This is an edited version of an article that originally appeared on Robert Half  

A Gallup study has found that millennials are three times more likely to leave a position in pursuit of a new job opportunity, most often because of stagnation and a lack of engagement within their current role.

Here we look at some of the ways you can start fostering great loyalty among your staff, from internal role opportunities to rewards for achievements.

Hold regular job-progression meetings

Employees often feel they’re making no progression at work when they stop achieving career goals. When researching happiness at work, we found that employees were at their most loyal when their own goals were achieved in tandem with business goals.

Because career goals and job progression are not static ideas, managers should endeavour to meet regularly with employees to discuss their career objectives and how goals and targets can be reached.

By taking the time to help your employees determine their own career trajectory, and actively tracking this each month, they are able to see tangible proof of job progression and, when they feel they are making good progression at work, they are more likely to feel proud of the organisation, and be more loyal to it.

Internal talent pipeline

When your employees are provided with a fair opportunity to rise through the ranks at work, they are more likely to invest in the organisation – and remain loyal to it.

It’s easy to feel as though there’s no progression at work when each new senior opportunity is being filled by an external professional; without hope of climbing the ladder, employees may simply move to a new, more senior position at another company. For this reason, it may be better to examine the existing talent you already have and look to promote there first. Draft a provisional talent pipeline, and aim to involve the relevant employees, helping them gain the skills they might need in order to take up promoted positions in future.

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Reward achievements

Our study on happiness at work has revealed that a little praise can go a long way in relation to how satisfied employees feel at work. Rewarding hard work creates a sense of achievement which feeds back into their sense of job progression.

“Studies show that employees strongly agree that the quality of their company recognition scheme impacts on their job performance and when seeking new employment,” John Sylvester, director at P&MM Motivation, said in an interview with HR Magazine. “Despite this trend, recognition is often cited as the number one reason for staff leaving yet, surprisingly, it is rarely an agenda item for managers.”

Staff development and training

As digital transformation continues to change workplaces, and the roles within them, staff development has come to occupy an even more prominent place in employee progression. Learning a new skill is an excellent way for employees to feel as though they’ve evolved within their roles, and made substantial job progress.

“It’s your job to show loyalty to them as an employee first,” David Sturt and Todd Nordstrom, both researchers, consultants and authors at the O.C. Tanner Institute, recently told Forbes. “Show them how you’ll help them become their best. Show them they can trust you. Show them you support them. Loyalty will come with time.”

Our research has shown that employees who work within more skilled roles are happier. Research for the Robert Half Salary Guide found that the offer of training and development was very attractive to employees, especially among juniors. It’s so effective that 38% of organisations are using it as a tool for staff loyalty and retention. You can also bolster learning opportunities within your team by offering cross-training and mentoring, too.

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