Tips To Prevent Staff From Looking Elsewhere

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As staff reassess their working lives in the new year it is vital to re-engage them

In the retail sector particularly, the period following Christmas can be one of the toughest. With customers spent out after Christmas and the January Sales the next few weeks are always slow, and this gives staff across the sector time to think about their career and look elsewhere.

Retailers need to recognise that this happens if they are to combat the new year, new job feeling that staff will be experiencing.

“We would typically see an upturn of 15% to 20% in job hunting in the early new year, and often there will be a corresponding increase in hiring as firms approach the year with confidence on the back of strong Christmas trading,” says Steve Baggi, co-founder and director of Green Park Interim and Executive Resourcing.

However, he says retailers actually face an even bigger threat this year because of renewed confidence about the future from some retailers. “In the current market situation, where we appear to be moving out of the recession, we’re seeing an even more significant increase in client demand for the best people,” he says. “Retailers that rode the recession, paring back their workforce, are aggressively looking to secure the best talent in early anticipation of the recovery and building on growth channels - especially multichannel and international expansion,” he says.

Therefore retailers need to do more than ever to hold on to key staff. “There are no ‘magic beans’ when it comes to retaining staff - even throwing enormous amounts of cash at your best employees is no guarantee. Good retention is a long-term strategy incorporating remuneration and reward, but also involving the softer elements: bringing employees into the company’s journey, providing them career development and progression,” he says.

Retailers themselves say that they do try to keep morale up in the early months of the year especially, at the same time as trying to ensure that standards are met and maintained following the often frantic Christmas and Sales trading period.

It is inevitable that some staff may decide the new year is time to move on, but reminding your staff that they are valued and appreciated could be the move that makes them realise that the grass isn’t necessarily greener after all.

“With the future looking brighter, focusing staff again comes back to securing their buy-in to the objectives of the company in 2010. It is up to strong leaders to outline their plans for business growth and development, and engage staff at all levels to buy in to the company’s future success,” says Baggi.

How to prevent staff looking elsewhere

* Check job sites to see if your own staff are on them
* Think of ways to keep staff busy so they feel they are doing something worthwhile even if sales are slow
* Remind them of your objectives and their importance as part of that
* Revisit rewards and remuneration if possible or simply say thank you
* Keep morale up by ensuring development, progression and new challenges are prioritised

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