In my first article on this topic I shared my views on:
- Who the right people are
- Why getting them is so important
- Why attraction and retention matter
- How we got to this current position which is challenging for employers
In my second article I shared a list of the key things that I believe attract the right people to firms and contribute to them staying.
In my third article third article I shared ideas on how you can promote and deliver on these elements of engagement, with a focus on getting clear on who the right people are and how you attract them.
In this article I’ll focus on retention.
For me retention is about communicating and delivering the key elements of engagement to existing team members. Here are seven suggestions for you:
- Have a systemised, personalised induction program that wows and embraces
- Have a multifaceted engagement strategy that energises and shows you care
- Have a clear, personalised development plan for each person
- Pay well and have high expectations that are clear
- Adopt modern ways of working
- Structure your firm to deliver on the elements of engagement – Autonomy, Mastery, Purpose, Belonging, Progression, Recognition, Love of the work – see some further suggestions below
- Know and care for your people
If you are in a small firm remember the small firm advantage – you can personalise things for each team member more easily than a large firm.
- Offer flexibility in terms of location – at least for few days each week
- Offer flexibility in terms of timing – does it always have to be “9 to 5”?
- Identify ways that each person can have some autonomy in terms of what they work on and how they work on it
- Don’t micro manage
- If you manage based on outputs not inputs giving autonomy is easier
- Support each person to figure out what they are good at
- Then find ways to let them do more of that
- Provide personalised learning and development activities to help build mastery
- Accept mistakes as learning opportunities
- Build your story about the contribution your firm makes to business and community and tell it in different ways regularly
- Be true to the values you espouse and the story you tell – walk the walk don’t just talk the talk
- Build a shared vision that all team members clearly understand, buy into and feel a part of
- Be clear about where the firm is going and how what each team member does fits into this
- Be inclusive – think of ways to have firm events for everyone
- Once you get beyond a certain size some sort of teams may be appropriate
- Consider uniforms and other firm merchandise that reinforces the brand
- Understand each person’s personal and professional aspirations
- Have a personal and professional development plan for each person
- Give regular feedback on how each team member is going and inspire greatness
- Tailored learning and development activities including technical, non- technical and “how we do things around here”, which might include a variety of delivery methods such as:
- Courses run by third party providers
- On the job training, mentoring and shadowing
- Third party coach or mentor
- Self study courses and reading
- “Book of the month”, shared articles
- “Brown bag” lunch discussions
- Never miss an opportunity to catch someone doing something right, or nearly right
- Give both formal and informal feedback and recognition
Love of the work
- Understand each person’s interests and strengths
- Check in with each person weekly (or even fortnightly or monthly would be a great start) to ask:
- Were you excited to work every day last week?
- Did you have a chance to use your strengths every day?
- Did you get a chance to do what you are good at and something you love?”
- Work on changing things if the answer to the questions is no
- Automate mundane work – Robotic Process Automation and other technologies is making this more doable
Based on my research and practical experience I believe these ideas, if implemented, will go a long way to having you retain the right people in your firm.