Losing a member of staff isn’t always a bad thing, they may be a poor performer or you may need to cut costs, but losing an experienced employee can be harder and may mean that your loss is a competitor’s gain. So how can you make sure that your important team members don’t leave or a new recruit doesn’t jump ship when the “honeymoon” period is over?

It’s important to make sure they have realistic expectations of their role and how they might progress. To do this successfully, you may need to improve line managers’ people skills. Your induction process will be important when setting their expectations at the right level.

  1. Developing your team

Look for opportunities where they can build their skills and gain experience. What learning and development opportunities exist? Are there internal or external courses they could attend? Or new qualifications they could gain? If they already have a qualification, can this be enhanced?

If budgets are tight, look for creative ways to enhance their experience, eg shadowing a senior member of staff. If a promotion isn’t possible, maybe look at ways of increasing their responsibilities or find a sideways move or a secondment so they can gain different experience.

Yes, these actions might enhance their CV, but if they can see opportunities to grow and develop and have a career with you not just a job, then they’re less likely to leave.

  1. Be honest from the start

You should truly understand their career expectations and develop a plan that matches their desires with your needs. However, you must be able to deliver this plan; giving them false hopes of promotion and responsibility will only lead to them quickly starting to look elsewhere.

  1. Be flexible

We all have busy lives, which are often complicated by childcare needs, long commutes, etc. Allowing staff some flexibility on working hours and location might help them appreciate the benefits of working for you. What’s more important to you — how much time they spend sitting at their desk or how well they deliver?

Most people want to improve their work-life balance. Salary is important but keeping someone happy isn’t always just about a pay rise but often by offering other flexible benefits, such as being able to “buy” extra holidays or offering discounted household insurance and gym memberships.

  1. Millennials

The 2016 Deloitte Millennial Survey showed that “Generation Y” (those born between 1982 and 2000) are planning to leave their current employers. It discusses a “loyalty challenge” where young staff feel under-utilised, aren’t being developed and think their employers have no ambition beyond profit and often have conflicting beliefs to their own.

Millennials feel more able to move jobs and, unlike older generations, are unlikely to consider staying with the same firm forever. You might need to approach the retention of your younger staff in a different way to longer-serving employees.

  1. Understand why people leave

Confidential exit interviews are crucial to understanding why someone has decided to leave. Done well, these can be very revealing about how they view your organisation. The results might be painful but they should be considered carefully.

Staff surveys are a great way to “take the temperature” of your organisation and spot any trends or problems before they start affecting your business.

The confidential or anonymous nature of these techniques may help people to be honest so you can understand the real issues behind any staff grumblings; then you can put an action plan in place to ward off any future problems. Regular staff surveys will allow you to measure the success of your actions.

  1. Female staff

Building the future: women in construction from The Smith Institute says that, of the small minority of women joining construction, the vast majority leave within five years.