Happy New Year… I Quit!

Cher Campbell, Director, iPlace Recruitment

So another year of Christmas and New Year celebrations have drawn to a close and as we try to shrug off the post celebratory blues, now is probably one of the most critical times of the year when it comes to knowing what your staff are thinking and where their heads are at.

Christmas bonuses have been paid and annual leaves starts. Time to reflect on what they love or loathe about their job has never been more perfect. The euphoria of recent celebrations starts to fade and returning to the office is imminent. If unhappy in their current role, this is about the exact moment your employee has just made a New Year’s Resolution – Find a New Job.

The reality is, in today’s market you need to work hard to retain quality staff. It’s a constantly evolving process. In a world where it’s never been easier to make approaches to people via social media and networking platforms those who hadn’t even thought about leaving their current role are likely to be flattered and intrigued about opportunities presented to them: “…I’m happy but I guess it can’t hurt to take a look at the job description. You mean they want to offer me? Sorry Boss – here’s my resignation”. It happens that quickly.

I was chatting to a client the other day about this exact topic. Productivity is usually low at this time of the year and we were talking about how people are often sluggish and unmotivated when they return from the festivities. January tends to be a quiet month for many businesses which leaves the door open for staff to pop onto employment websites and see what’s out there.

Thankfully all is not lost…iPlace Recruitment recently conducted a candidate survey and the response was overwhelming. Apart from the almighty dollar the top four ways to keeps your team loyal were:

Stability – These days the word redundancy gets thrown around more than “what’s for lunch”. One day you’re ticking along just fine and the next you’ve been called into a meeting to be told the entire division is relocating. When I first started in this industry over 16 years ago I remember meeting the odd candidate who had been made redundant and it was clear they were “made redundant” as a way of getting rid of them. There was a stigma attached to it. Not anymore. Fast forward sixteen years and it would have to be the single most common reason why candidates are applying for our roles.

Work/life balance – Let’s be clear about this one. By throwing around this term we are not suggesting people work less – just smarter. Earlier starts to avoid traffic, working from home options, flexibility. These are all things that will lead to a deep appreciation for the job and the business they work for. We are happiest when we feel like all aspects of our lives are in control so if you can avoid sitting in traffic for 3 hours a day just because standard office hours are 9am – 5.30pm it’s an absolute no brainer.

Respect and appreciation – While we would like to think this too is a no brainer it’s really easy to get caught up in the pressures of running a business and forget the small things that go so far. That simple gesture that reinforces to your team what a great job they’re doing. A quick team lunch, a nibblies platter to share in the afternoon during your weekly meeting, or telling someone to knock off an hour or two early on a Friday because they’ve had a great week. The gesture doesn’t have to be huge.

I think back to a boss I had in a previous life. It became a running joke. Every year I would be told what a great Christmas gift I was going to get:“… don’t you dare buy that because we’re getting it for you for Christmas”. And each year – zip, zilch, nadda. It’s the feeling of being taken for granted that eventually chips away at you and inevitably your motivation becomes as non-existent as that gift you were promised.

Health benefits – Because we’re all sick of those all dreaded commercials at tax time about how our health insurance premiums are about to go up. Not having to pay for your own private health insurance is a perk and something that has swayed many a candidate to take one role over the other if there’s not much to separate the two.

Don’t get me wrong – it’s definitely a two way street and your staff also need to come to the party and turn up each day. But sometimes that’s easier said than done and if you can in any way make the New Year transition a little easier you will enjoy a strong unified team culture which can only mean great things for your business.

The team at iPlace Recruitment would like to wish all of our wonderful clients and candidates a Happy New Year and a safe and successful 2016.

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