Accountants based in Nottingham, UK

How to keep staff

Keeping staff can be difficult. One recent report found that workers in the UK change employer, on average, every five years – and that millennials could have been through four different jobs by the time they are 31.

All of this can spell tough times for employers. High employee turnover means increased recruitment costs. Then there's the unavoidable disruption as new workers bed in, going through the induction and training they need before they're effective new members of your team. There can also be knock-on consequences for morale among staff 'survivors', who can find constant change unsettling.

My generation

It can be helpful to segment your workforce when recruiting and designing incentives. Be aware of the difference between generations. Research suggests that different generations have different search images for employment. Whereas earlier generations have favoured medical and dental insurance as workplace incentives, this appears to have less attraction for millennials. As far as millennials are concerned, the possibility of taking extra leave carries more weight. The difference in generations also shows up when it comes to the factors pulling millennials towards employers. Here they appear to favour the more tech-savvy employer – those with a more digital operation.

Quality of life

Experts are increasingly linking the ease with which staff can be retained to overall feelings of wellbeing. And there is evidence that, right across the board, quality of life incentives offered by employers can make a disproportionate impact to staff perceptions.

Quality of life incentives can be radical and don't always need to cost the employer money. Offering staff the opportunity to bring a dog to work, for instance, could transform employee experience. One company offers Pawternity Leave – 'like Parental Leave, but with more throwing of sticks' - to staff with a new dog. Allowing staff to listen to music on headphones, or personalise their workspace with personal effects are other low-cost, but potentially high-impact, suggestions.

Feedback

Getting a two-way flow of communication, so that employers know what works for staff, and where change might be beneficial is another key recommendation. Carrying out regular staff satisfaction surveys can be one way to do this. An employer can do this formally or informally. One employer sent Valentine's Day cards to staff, asking them to say one thing they liked about their work and one they would like to change. Before long, it reported a 13-point increase in response to the statement 'I believe management will act on feedback.'

Financial stress

Research shows that possibly as many as 40% of employees are under financial stress. This can lead to lower productivity, absence and poor relationships with colleagues. It can also impact mental health. A new and increasingly popular move to help here is staff financial education. Providing skilled advice on budgeting, savings and planning for retirement can make a valuable staff incentive package. We should be delighted to assist in this important area.