Improving Employee Retention: 6 Ways to Keep Your Staff Happy

By Robert Half on February 6, 2017 at 5:00pm

It’s increasingly difficult for Canadian companies to hire skilled talent, especially for smaller businesses that may not have the budgets to compete with larger enterprises. In the finance and accounting field, there's a particular demand for skilled talent, so when top performers leave, hiring managers can find themselves facing the tough task of recruiting replacements.

That’s why employee retention is more important than ever these days. Here are some tips to help you keep the talented members of your staff on board:

1. Make sure they have a defined career path

Your top employees are always looking to take the next step in their career. If you want to retain your best employees, you have to provide your employees a clear career path and communicate that path to them. Better yet, work with them to define their long-term objectives, and provide them with challenging assignments and skill-building opportunities that will help them reach their goals.

2. Offer competitive compensation

If your top performers think they can get a better salary somewhere else, they’ll probably start looking around for a new job. That’s why it’s a good idea to periodically evaluate your compensation package to ensure it’s in line with other firms in your industry and region. If at all possible, try to pay a little bit more than the average: In a Robert Half survey of 270 Canadian CFOs, seventy two per cent of respondents said they are raising salaries to keep their best employees on board.

Find your best salary references with Robert Half's Salary Guide for Accounting & Finance, which provides Canadian salary data for more than 175 positions and an overview of the hiring environment. 

3. Help them maintain work-life balance

In another Robert Half survey, workers were asked which perk they’d put at the top of their wish lists. The top two choices both pointed at a desire for better work-life balance: 35 per cent said they’d like more time off, and 23 per cent cited a desire for schedule flexibility. If you can, it’s a good idea to consider both perks, as both can improve employee retention. Vacations allow workers to relax and recharge, and they often return to the office with renewed enthusiasm for their jobs. And flexible hours can help workers better balance their jobs with their family, friends and other personal obligations, which can boost employee morale.

4. Provide professional development opportunities

Of course, providing company-subsidized training to your top performers can help them develop or refine their skills, which in turn can help increase productivity and innovation in the workplace. But it can also improve retention. Why? Firms that pay for professional development show that they care about their workers’ career paths, which can make employees more loyal.

In yet another Robert Half survey, a majority of Canadian CFOs interviewed (68 per cent) said their company covers some or all of the cost for staff to obtain professional designations, and 68 per cent said their organization helps in maintaining credentials once earned.

5. Take time to recognize their achievements

If your company is growing, taking on new clients and projects, you have a lot to celebrate. Make sure you are constantly improving your employee appreciation efforts. When your team hits a major milestone, consider scheduling a lunch or another get-together outside the office, or provide your staff with an afternoon off. Alternately, applaud a major success with spot cash bonuses, movie tickets or gift cards to the local coffeehouse. But don’t forget that a heartfelt thank-you note is sometimes the most meaningful recognition you can provide.

6. Enlist the help of a trusted adviser

Keep in mind that an increasing number of skilled professionals are working on a temporary basis, and bringing in interim help could give your staff a much-needed break — or a boost that shows you care about your staff's happiness.

Sourcing temporary accounting professionals through a staffing firm can save you time and hassle. The staffing firm will evaluate each candidate's work history, meet the person for a face-to-face interview, conduct skills evaluations and perform select reference checks. The agency also will handle the administrative details of hiring a temporary worker, such as verifying the professional's employment eligibility and processing payroll.

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