Retention of Staff ZAA 102 - Week 3

So far we have spoken about recruitment of staff and selection of staff, now I want to move onto once you have good staff, how do you keep them? So today we will be talking about retention of staff, we will cover off on reward and recognition, work life balance and professional development.

Reward and recognition

When you have good staff you want to be able to provide them with the recognition they deserve for doing such a good job and also reward them when they go above and beyond what is required of them. Managers sometimes make the mistake of rewarding and recognising staff in the way that they themselves would like to be rewarded or recognised. What you need to do as a manager is get to know the people that are working with you to know what motivates them.

For some, money will be a motivator, for others it may be receiving extra time off to spend with family, or it simply may be getting feedback that they are doing a good job. Motivation is different for everyone so get to know the people you work with so that they know you care enough about them to find out what motivates them and reward them appropriately when they have done a good job, because if you have good employees you want to be able to keep them in your organisation.

Dan Pink | The puzzle of motivation | 18.32 minutes

One way that organisations try to reward staff is through health and wellbeing programs. The theory being that the happier and healthier people are at work, the more productive they are and the less sick days they will take, so it is in an organisations interest to encourage staff to participate in health and wellbeing programs. They can sometimes be a bit hit and miss depending on whether staff engage or not but they do provide additional benefits to staff in the workplace.

According to the Australian Human Resource Institute ‘many organisations have adopted employee wellbeing into their HR strategies and have gone so far as to implement ongoing wellbeing initiatives. Some of the most common initiatives include:

For example, where I used to work we introduced subsidized massages for staff once a month that were held within the building so it was very convenient for staff to attend and of course it also minimized the time you were away from your work. I remember that when we introduced them one of the outdoor crew who worked in construction was very critical and commented that massages were a waste of time and he wouldn’t be paying for something like that even if it was subsidized. Interestingly enough we convinced him to try one and after just one he was a total convert, he was the first one to book in and there were 2 choices, 30 minutes (which would cost the staff member $10) and 45 minutes (which would cost the staff members $30), he booked a 45 minute one every time which cost him more but he admitted due to the hard manual labour components of his work the massages really helped his body recover and he felt better overall with his health.

Work-life balance

The phrase work life balance gets bandied around a lot but what does it actually mean? Well it is a little bit like what motivates people, it will mean different things to different people but Wikipedia defines it as ‘a concept including proper prioritizing between "work" (career and ambition) and "lifestyle" (health, pleasure, leisure, family and spiritual development/meditation). This is related to the idea of lifestyle choice’.

According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in 2014 Australians work a total of 1,693 hours per year, when divided by 52 weeks in the year that equates to 32.55 hours per week. The highest OECD country is Mexico where they work 2,250 hours per year or 43.26 hours per week.

The full list of OECD countries and how many hours they work annually is below.

So Australians do not do too badly compared to other countries but should we be following Sweden’s lead where some organisations have moved to a 6 hour working day rather than the normal 8 hours. Would you be more productive at work if you only worked 6 hours per day?

In this age of technology is it really necessary to have to turn up to work at all for some positions, could you just work from home and avoid that commute to work each day?

Reflect upon the above questions in your ePortfolio.

The following clip by Nigel Marsh talks about how he tackled the issue of work-life balance.

Now watch this session by Dave Crenshaw who provides some tips on how to balance your work and life commitments and as you watch start to consider how these things can help your own work life balance. Sometimes we all get so busy doing we forget to stop and have a think about our own lives. This gives you an opportunity to stop and think about what could work for you.

Balancing Work and Life | 28:55 mins

Looking at what is important to workers in regards to work-life balance, Seek have come up with the following:

So, as you can see one of the important things for workers currently is to be able to have flexibility in the hours that they work and the location. It also appears that in regional Tasmania we are more satisfied with our work life balance than our metropolitan counterparts.

As flexibility and work location are so important, how are organisations tracking to respond to this? Well per a survey of 913 organisations conducted by the Australian Human Resource Institute in August and September 2016, 834 responded to the question Does your organisation offer flexible hours? From this it showed that around nine out of ten respondent organisations are offering flexible hours. So, the good news is to retain staff many organisations are listening and implementing more flexible options for employees.

Professional Development

As per the Australian Human Resource Institute website, ‘there are many different ways that employees can be developed including induction, on the job training, internal and external courses and workshops, compliance training, supported external study, coaching and mentoring’.

The website goes on to say that ‘an organisation is responsible for ensuring that its employees have the appropriate skills and knowledge to fulfil the organisation's strategic and operational objectives. This has obvious implications for recruitment, but it also entails a commitment to learning and development by the organisation to ensure that skills and knowledge are maintained and developed to ensure ongoing competitiveness and adaptability’.

‘There are numerous reasons why an organisation should invest in learning and development. Some of these include:

  • To improve business performance, productivity and efficiency – helping gain a competitive edge
  • Improvement in employees' skills and knowledge for their current job role
  • Increasing employees' generic skills – i.e. employability skills or key competencies (e.g. team work, problem solving, communication)
  • Compliance with legal requirements
  • Organisational development – i.e. the fostering of shared attitudes and values, change management, etc.
  • Talent management and succession planning
  • Employee career development
  • Employee motivation’

Managers need to be clear on the purpose of any professional development opportunities that they authorize and understand how it will benefit the organization. One of the ways that this can be achieved is through the formal performance review process that employees undertake each year which we will discuss in week 4.

As part of the Associate Degree Program overall, you are encouraged to continuously reflect on who you are and where you are going. This is in terms of your personal goals, educational goals, and career goals. This at times will include identifying areas for professional development and engaging in education and career planning.

In order to achieve this planning, we recommend that students complete all of the suggested practical learning activities. By week 3, we anticipate you would have already worked through the HR skills analysis, essential skills audit and study skills audit, however, if you have not, we strongly recommend you complete them.

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