Posts Tagged ‘staff retention’

Staff retention & turnover prevention – What you need to know!

December 3, 2008

Turnover levels are of grave concern to nearly any UK enterprise.  Overall, the turnover levels of businesses vary largely by industry and organisation as well as region, but the average turnover for all of the UK is about 17.3%.  Private sector organizations experienced the highest turnover over over 20%, with the highest being in call centres, retailing, catering, hotels and leisure.  Fortunately, turnover is on a declining trend in the UK, but this also means that enterprises must continue to find ways to retain staff to remain competitive in the marketplace. 

Some employee turnover is positive.  A company that is too conservative in staff retention will become uncompetitive because some employees cost more to retain than to terminate.  For example, keeping poor performers in order to avoid the cost of hiring and training a new employee will typically cause morale problems as well as discourage good performance in other workers.  A chronic lack of workplace discipline can easily follow.  When a poor performer is removed and a productive employee is hired, the new employee can typically save or earn the company money that was lost to their unproductive predecessor.  Further, a certain amount of ‘new blood is helpful in bringing in new ideas, keeping current with the industry, and encouraging a competitive and productive environment. 

Unfortunately, a large amount of turnover is unproductive.  When an employee leaves the company, there are many immediate and ongoing costs.  First, there may be administrative costs directly involved with the resignation itself, such as organizational changes, administrative tasks such as ceasing salary and benefits, and so on. 

To hire a new employee typically will add recruitment costs to advertise the position, as well as selection costs in reviewing and interviewing applicants.  There may be costs related to covering the position while staff is being hired, such as through overtime or hiring a temporary worker.  Finally, there is the cost of training the new employee.  Due to all of these factors, it can take months or even years for the new employee to become profitable for the company.

To prevent such costs, staff retention efforts are mandatory.  One must focus not just on retaining staff, but specifically on retaining the best performers.  While a workplace party may marginally improve morale overall, it may be more cost effective to target staff retention funds at the best employees through a compensation program that offers commissions, bonuses, or awards to productive employees.  Further, it is important to create an atmosphere of open communication with employees to help find the causes of turnover. 

In a large enterprise, an anonymous survey can be done to ask employees if they are considering resignation and, if so, what factors are involved with their thoughts of leaving the company.  Through this pool of data, trends can be established and the enterprise can target the specific issues that employees are struggling with. For example, employees may be leaving due to lack of flexibility in their work schedule, and creating options such as job sharing may drastically reduce turnover.  Only through careful examination of the enterprise can staff retention efforts be effective.

Richard Reid is the founder of Pinnacle Proactive, Specialising in theEmployee Assistance ProgramStress ManagementStaff Retention & Absenteeism. Take a Proactive Approach to Growing Your Organisation & its People. For more info visit


Tonic for the jobs market

December 1, 2008

TGI Friday's Human Resources Director Gavin McGlyne at their Reading restaurant.

The downturn is forcing firms to be more effective when it comes to finding staff

A world of economic turmoil and tightening budgets sounds like a fruitful environment for recruitment outsourcing companies: they can stride into businesses, flourish their cost-cutting credentials and leave with the promise of juicy contracts to run some or all of their new clients’ hiring processes.

Hard times mean less recruitment, however, which means less work available through such contracts and, possibly, the need to cut margins to stay competitive. Alongside this, the threat of recession may affect some providers’ viability as businesses, leaving them vulnerable to being taken over by better-placed competitors. In addition, some commentators believe that the downturn may trigger a return to in-house recruitment.

First, the money. It is certainly a priority with most organisations considering recruitment outsourcing (RO) at the moment. “There are a number of businesses that need to take their internal costs down by 20% and they aren’t fussed about how they do it,” says Ian Hunter, a partner at Orion Partners, a human resources (HR) consultancy. “Recruitment outsourcing provides an obvious solution.”

Richard Pearson, managing director of ResourceBank, an RO provider, says that there is a lot more interest from business in outsourcing to reduce costs and improve the quality of recruitment. “People see it as a way of having a very transparent cost that is flexible and is perhaps a way of shifting fixed costs out of the business.”

While outsourcing can cut companies’ spending – savings of 10%-30% can be achieved when moving from a fragmented in-house system to an efficient outsourced arrangement that makes good use of technology – it will not always do so. And firms may choose to increase the amount that they spend so that they get more benefits from the new arrangement. “You can get a much better service for more money or a slightly better service for less money,” claims Graham Snuggs, director of recruitment process outsourcing at Reed Consulting, an HR consultancy and outsourcing provider.

Indeed, before the downturn, recruitment outsourcing had started to move away from first-generation contracts that prioritised upfront cost savings towards the current model, which emphasises candidate quality and the added value that outsourcing can bring to recruitment – everything from better staff retention rates to improved employer branding and reduced reliance on agencies.

Companies, however, are also realising that outsourcing is not the only way to save money and improve recruitment; streamlining processes and adopting appropriate technology can be done in-house. “If you have some sort of recruitment tools installed and operating effectively, you have probably taken out quite a lot of costs and improved efficiency,” Hunter says.

There are still strong arguments in favour of outsourcing. Phill Brown, head of RO at NorthgateArinso, an HR software and services provider, says: “In business, if you are a company that makes tyres, then what you do is make tyres, and it does not necessarily flow that you will be good at recruitment.”

It is not just potential clients that need to focus on their core business performance in the downturn. RO providers and observers expect to see consolidation in the sector, and stronger providers may see this as an opportunity to snap up competitors. “If you are thinking of making an acquisition, it’s probably 30%-40% cheaper this year than last year,” Hunter says.

Recruitment levels may already have fallen by 30% in some industry sectors. As numbers drop, RO providers will be forced to be more flexible about their arrangements. “There will be keener pricing and they will be less choosy about minimum volumes,” Hunter says. This clearly could be good news for companies that are yet to sign up, while those with outsourcing arrangements already in place should not necessarily expect to be tied to out-of-date numbers. Pearson is confident that good providers will be flexible enough to respond to changes in their clients’ businesses.

“The current financial situation tends to make good people stay in their jobs a little longer,” Brown says. RO providers argue that this makes securing talented staff harder than ever and that they are better placed than an in-house team to find them. “I also think there is going to be a move away from recruitment agencies towards more of a direct-hire approach,” Brown adds. “Companies will look at recruiting more through their websites.”

Jonathan Trevor, a lecturer at Judge Business School at Cambridge University, says that in any economic environment, organisations considering outsourcing their recruitment need to understand which employees are “foot soldiers” of low strategic value and which are those whose day-to-day performance is critical to the business’s success.

While it may well make sense to outsource recruitment of the first group, employers are beginning to realise that it is preferable to recruit the second group in-house to be sure of finding the most talented candidates and achieving the best possible fit, Trevor says. “The question is, who knows the business best? Is it an outsourced recruiter or is it people working in the business itself?”

Pearson, however, argues that good outsourcers are not vendors so much as partners, with a genuine interest in clients’ businesses: “So much effort goes into the contract negotiations . . . but what really matters is how the partnership develops.

“The key to a successful partnership is the culture of your partner’s organisation and how that matches or complements your business. Not enough businesses invest enough time in investigating the culture of the organisation that they are about to partner with.”

Outsourcing on the menu

When the TGI Friday’s bar and restaurant chain was owned by Whitbread, all its management recruitment was handled centrally by the group’s shared services team. So when the business was sold to new owners two years ago, HR director Gavin McGlyne had to start its recruitment operation from scratch.

He analysed a range of options before choosing to outsource to NorthgateArinso. ”We had to have an infrastructure in place,” he says. “There was more risk in doing it ourselves than in setting up an outsourced contract.”

McGlyne looked at different outsourcing models: “Some providers manage third-party recruitment agencies on your behalf, others have direct recruitment capability and others do both. They are very different animals and are set up to deliver very different things.”

More than 100 employees have been taken on through the RO deal. Staff who work on the restaurant floor are recruited directly by TGI Friday’s.

Sunday Times conference

The Sunday Times is organising a one-day Recruitment Outsourcing Conference, to be held on Thursday, December 11, 2008, at the Rejuvenation Centre in Commercial Street, east London.

The event, which is aimed at HR professionals in all business sectors, will examine the case for outsourcing in the current economic climate. Speakers include industry experts from UBS, Lovefilm and Barclays.

For more information or to reserve a delegate pass to the event, visit

(Source –

Bitten By The Staff Retention Bug !

December 1, 2008


It has been widely acknowledged off late, that staff retention in the UK has become an area of serious purview and discussion in the economic and business circles. It is indeed becoming ever more apparent that we, as individuals, are never a part of some loose knit society of a bygone era, but standing on a plain of concrete progressive thinking, where every voice is a civilized voice, to be heard, understood and deliberated upon for a more justifiable human existence. It is in this context that the UK as a country should be no less conscious of such a destabilizing factor like high employee turnover in the arena of business and commerce.

High turnover occurs when employees discard their old jobs in favour of new ones or simply remain nomadic by nature. However such a nature of moving from one job to another is not of their making alone, but to a very large extent significantly influenced by their working environment as well. As per the CPID (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development) survey conducted in the UK it is seen that highest levels of turnover is often seen in private organisations (20.4%). Again, further surveys have revealed that high turnover is more typical of retailing, hotels, catering, call centres and among low paid private sectors. The public sector has a turnover of 13.5%.

The main reason that were cited were better opportunities elsewhere, job insecurity, work place bullying, unhealthy competition ,family issues and health factors. This obviously affects staff turnover and as per the survey the number of employees who have retained their current jobs for a period of five years or more has fallen abysmally from 24% in 2006 to 20% in 2007. Turnover levels vary from region to region in the UK. In areas where it is particularly difficult to get skilled people, staff resignation can be even more damaging to organisations than elsewhere.

In order to cope with pressures of retaining staff a series of measures have been suggested. Among these the most prominent ones are realistic job previews at the time of recruitment, making line managers more responsible, flexibility in individual preferences and working hours, job security, treating staff as individuals and being open to their ideas and suggestions, work life balances, encouraging creativity, environmentally friendly working place, treating people fairly and defending ones organisation and imbuing achievement motivation to the staff and charting long positive goals for their future.

Among the next generation of ideas meant especially for IT sectors, call centres, financial  and telecom sectors are training of employees by e-learning rather than the traditional classroom methods, remote working via the internet where possible, easy to deploy portal solutions and giving career breaks.

Notwithstanding the fact that staff retention could be greatly enhanced in the industries and organisations in The UK with the help of the above measures, a great deal of work and support has to come from the ministerial levels too. For this a comprehensive plan and package to staff as well as addressing of economic grievances of the businesses in the UK has to go in line with any of the above measures to pave way for a long term solution of the problem.

Richard Reid is the founder of Pinnacle Proactive, Specialising in theEmployee Assistance ProgramStress ManagementStaff Retention & Absenteeism. Take a Proactive Approach to Growing Your Organisation & its People. For more info visit

Bullying in the Workplace – Costing Organisations Hard Cash

November 8, 2008

Workplace bullying is on the rise and the public sector is the worst offender, a report has found.

The Government estimates that bullying costs the UK economy £13.7 billion, with 100 million days in productivity lost every year.

In Bullying at Work: the Experience of Managers, 70 per cent of managers polled by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) said that they had witnessed bullying in the past three years and 42 per cent had been bullied themselves, with unfair treatment, verbal insults, unwanted sexual advances, blocked promotion opportunities and physical intimidation among examples named.

When asked about their experiences, managers said that instances of bullying were not only top down. Some 55 per cent had witnessed bullying among peers, and one in three had seen subordinates bullying their managers.

When bullying did occur, it often went unchecked. Almost half the respondents (47 per cent) said no action was taken by their organisation.

There appear to be multiple reasons for the trend. Root causes named include a lack of management skills, cited by 71 per cent of respondents, 59 per cent said that personality clashes were the problem and 44 per cent blamed authoritarian management styles.

The CMI report compared the results with the same survey conducted three years ago and found that bullying appeared to be on the rise across all organisations. On a 5-point scale, individuals gave their employer a score of 2.37 to show the extent of bullying in their workplace, up from 2.25 in 2005. The public sector received an average 2.60.

Gill Trevelyan, the head of good practice services at Acas, the arbitration service, said that high levels of stress associated with professions such as teaching or healthcare were a big factor.

“One of the main reasons for managers to adopt bullying behaviour is when they are under pressure or stress themselves,” she said. However, the figures could also owe to greater awareness of bullying in the public sector, making employees more likely to report incidents.

“In other workplaces that have a more aggressive culture, such as a financial trading floor, these practices may be seen as normal – although not necessarily right,” Ms Trevelyan said. It pays for organisations to be vigilant. Bullying contributes to ill-health, and organisations that tolerate it can be held to account under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

A ruling by the law lords in 2006 made it clear that the principle of vicarious liability under the Protection From Harassment Act 1997 applies in the workplace, so employers may be held liable even if they have not acted negligently or were unaware of the problem.

The best course of action is to have clear policies to define what constitutes bullying and to make employees aware of procedures, Ms Trevelyan said. Effective management is crucial. “Managers who take a more consultative, consensual approach rather than ‘command and control’ are less likely to be seen as bullies,” she said.


Richard Reid is the founder of Pinnacle Proactive, Specialising in theEmployee Assistance ProgramStress ManagementStaff Retention & Absenteeism. Take a Proactive Approach to Growing Your Organisation & its People. For more info visit

Mentoring: The intelligent network

October 25, 2008

Mentoring has ancient and established roots yet is often seen as a modern approach to staff development. In essence learning from someone more experienced and hopefully wiser, Annie Hayes finds that a successful mentoring programme not only encourages staff to develop and share their knowledge but can have added benefits such as retention.

What is mentoring?

Mentoring is often confused with coaching. The terms are used interchangeably, rolling off the tongue in a merry-go-round of terminology where professionals mistake one for the other.

But John McGurk, learning, training and development adviser at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) says that they are not the same thing at all: “If I want someone to show me how to do something then I need a mentor, but if I want to be shown how to do something myself then I need a coach.” Any clearer? I thought not.


Photo of Professor David Clutterbuck“The retention levels between people who are mentored and people who are not are typically three to one – sometimes even higher.”Professor David Clutterbuck, Clutterbuck Associates

Professor David Clutterbuck, of Clutterbuck Associates, a coaching and mentoring consultancy, sheds some light on the distinction and remarks that mentoring is about long-term development. A point in difference that the CIPD concurs with in its factsheet on the subject. “Traditionally, mentoring is the long-term passing on of support, guidance and advice.”

Looking at the origins of the word helps – it comes from the Greek myth where Odysseus entrusted the education of his son to his friend Mentor. So mentoring, says the CIPD, is a form of apprenticeship, whereby an inexperienced learner learns the tricks of the trade from an experienced colleague, backed up by offsite training.

According to Anna Britnor Guest, joint managing director of The Coaching & Mentoring Network, one of the most common forms of mentoring is aimed at helping ‘high potential’ employees to develop up the management chain, but mentoring for performance improvement, in support of change initiatives and executive mentoring, is also popular. “So too are schemes aimed at particular populations – for instance BT has run a very successful e-mentoring programme within their Minority Ethnic Network.”


Clutterbuck says that mentoring plays an incredibly important role in ensuring the business continues to be successful over time: “Mentors provide the link between generations.”

It’s a benefit that accountancy powerhouse, Ernst & Young has picked up on. Richard Gartside, HR director at the firm, says that in his organisation, mentors are used to extend the counsellor/counselled relationship from development, in the context of current roles and career paths, to personal development more generally. “Not only do our people have their manager/counsellor but they can also choose to have a formal mentor or many unofficial mentors throughout the business. In a competitive and fast-paced world, these can also provide both business development advice and pastoral care if needed.”

However, it’s not just business continuity that is proving advantageous. According to Clutterbuck, mentoring is also a powerful lever for improved retention: “The retention levels between people who are mentored and people who are not are typically three to one – sometimes even higher.”

An impressive statistic; and McGurk says that retention works both ways: “The experienced person passes on their insight and is able to build self-esteem, whilst the mentee benefits from someone who has gone down the ski slopes themselves and can learn from their triumphs.”

Gartside says that another advantage is the bringing together of people from across the business: “Mentoring transcends the different areas and roles within the business; the system provides a range of inspiration and advice on the broader development agenda as the mentor is often not from within the same area or role as the mentee.”

The upside is easy to see – it creates a more powerful internal network across a business such as Ernst & Young and exposes people to different skills, disciplines, career paths and personal development opportunities.

Gartside says it can also do wonders for building a positive culture: “It encourages a people friendly culture and helps the personal development of both the mentor and mentee.”

So can anyone pick up the mentoring baton and is it appropriate for all disciplines and industries?


Good mentor, bad mentor   

  • Purpose – of the mentoring programme
  • Fit – with other development initiatives
  • Target – mentee and mentor population
  • Support – how the organisation culture will support or hinder the adoption and sustainability of the mentoring programme
  • Recommended logistics – how often do mentor and mentee meet, what is the nature of their communication etc
  • Mentor/mentee matching – how does the company assign the right mentor to the mentee?
  • Guidelines, codes of practice and support for the mentor – setting the rules
  • Mentor training – what, where, how
  • Measurement – how will the organisation know it’s successful?
  • Expansion – successful programmes tend to attract increasing requests for mentoring!

Source: The Association for Coaching

Clutterbuck believes that effective mentors are volunteers, who have a track record of developing others and developing themselves: “They need some practical experience in the general area, in which the mentee wants to grow, but don’t have to be an expert – this is not about the detail of a particular job. That’s a role for a traditional coach.”

At Ernst & Young, the firm differentiates between formal and informal mentoring and picks out champions accordingly: “At an informal level, any individual can approach a colleague or individual outside the firm and ask them to act as a mentor on a temporary or ongoing basis. On a more formal level, the firm seeks to instigate processes to match those interested in acting as mentors with those who are seeking a mentor,” says Gartside.

Sector and profession does have a bearing on the success of some mentoring schemes. McGurk comments that where the knowledge is ‘messy’, it can be difficult and says there can be problems where the mentor is a highly linear person: “A good mentor should listen and know what can be achieved. They often have the same skills as a coach has,” says McGurk. However, he points out, one of the mistakes organisations can make is in assuming that an experienced person is a natural mentor, which is not always the case.

Clutterbuck adds the ability to understand organisational politics and help the mentee think things through for themselves to McGurk’s wish list of skills: “Effective mentors don’t impel mentees towards goals, but allow goals to emerge over time from the learning conversation.”


Photo of Professor John McGurk“The experienced person passes on their insight and is able to build self-esteem, whilst the mentee benefits from someone who has gone down the ski slopes themselves and can learn from their triumphs.”John McGurk, CIPD

And Gartside highlights commitment as a further required skill: “A willingness to invest time and energy in the development of another individual and to act as a sounding board for their development and career discussions.”

A skill which requires the mentor to be approachable, engaged and able to draw on a wealth of relevant experience and a good understanding of the business and internal or external network. “There is an element of being able to show the way in a mentoring relationship, both in terms of perspective and also in terms of suggestions and opportunities,” says Gartside.

What’s HR & training’s role?

Clutterbuck believes that HR plays a pivotal ‘policing’ role: “HR and training can start by ensuring the programme design is congruent with the International Standards for Mentoring Programmes in Employment (ISMPE). Appointing a dedicated programme coordinator is also important, with a clearly defined role.”

He also recommends coordinators attend a specialist training programme based on the ISMPE: “It’s also critical to avoid the sheep-dip approach. Both mentor and mentee need to be trained and then given periodic support in reviewing the relationship and acquiring relationship management skills appropriate to the phase of development, which the mentoring relationship has reached.”

Britnor Guest agrees and says that HR & training is key in the mentoring programme design: “It’s important not to strangle the programme with bureaucracy and paperwork but it is important to start off with some clear processes, guidelines and structures which will help the programme to be successful, not just at launch but through the life of the programme and other mentoring spin-offs.”

Gartside says the role of HR and training departments: “Is primarily to explain the benefits of the mentoring relationship to both parties and create a culture in which mentoring is valued and individuals are encouraged to seek the input and advice of a mentor.”

Mentoring is as old as time itself – famous mentoring relationships date back as far as Socrates and Plato, Aristotle and Alexander the Great – the list is endless.

Whilst the concept is ancient, the benefits are timeless and organisations as thoroughly modern as Ernst & Young are putting their own twists onto this age-old wisdom with their new ‘reciprocal’ mentoring, where junior staff can turn the tables on senior players, giving them a helping hand in the development of their management skills. Clearly mentoring is here to stay and those that embrace it benefit with improved retention and business continuity.


Richard Reid is the founder of Pinnacle Proactive, Specialising in theEmployee Assistance ProgramStress ManagementStaff Retention & Absenteeism. Take a Proactive Approach to Growing Your Organisation & its People. For more info visit

Retention Leadership: Three Key Drivers for Retaining the “Best of the Best” in Your Organisation

October 25, 2008


In this article by Karla Brandau you will find her thoughts on the three critical leadership drivers that  bring high retention results. We hope you find the material both  interesting and useful for  your call center.

In the executive offices of high-tech companies across the globe, a new weapon is reemerging in the executive arsenal with powerful implications for driving business success: Retention Leadership.

Executives whose daily challenges in the 21st Century global environment are how to work with China and India, understand the MySpace Generation and get more free publicity while paying for less advertising, are familiar with initiatives to increase innovation, streamline business processes and motivate for higher individual productivity. However, these executives are now looking at the work of their organization through another dimension: leadership and the retention of employees.

According to the Harvard Business Review, not paying attention to the retention of employees puts the company in a position to lose people with talents they need, often inadvertently retaining people with outdated or ordinary skills.

In a brain-based economy in need of retention, people are your best assets, not empty chess pieces to be moved around by inexperienced managers. Top managers improve retention rates if they immerse themselves in creating an environment where the best, the brightest and the most creative are attracted, motivated and set free to produce.

Three critical leadership drivers bring high retention results:

Driver #1: Connect on a Human Level

Dealing with data, bytes, and scientific thinking in a high tech environment can obscure the fact that you are working with human beings with emotions and mortal needs. A good retention program starts with managers who know how to connect on a human level, not just be someone whose position on the organizational chart makes it possible for him/her to force compliance to rules and policies.

People will personally commit to certain individuals who on the organizational chart possess little authority, but instead possess pizzazz, drive, expertise, and genuine caring for teammates and products. Think of the power of having a position on the organizational chart as well as the personal charisma to inspire and lead.

These three things will make your formal title jump off the org chart, creating synergistic team work and expanding your influence:

Check the Ego. Never let your ego get so close to your position that it defines your position and eclipses everyone else in the department or on the team. In well-run organizations, titles are also pretty meaningless. At best, they advertise some authority, an official status conferring the ability to give orders and induce obedience. But titles mean little in terms of real power, which is the capacity to influence and inspire.

Flex your style. Blindly following strict managerial guidelines or the current management fad generates rigidity in thought and action and reduces your credibility. Learn to flex your style: Sometimes speed to market is more important than total quality. Sometimes an unapologetic directive is more appropriate than participatory discussion. Some situations require the leader to hover closely; others require long, loose leashes. The best leaders honor their core values, but are flexible in how they execute them. They understand that management techniques are not magic mantras but simply tools to be reached for at the right times.

Exhibit optimism. In a recent seminar, I met Bernard “Butch” Deuto who was a young man at NASA working on the ground crew during the Apollo 13 crises. He said that during the crisis, there was no doubt, no negativism, no whining, no pointing of fingers. There was only an optimistic attitude and a determination to succeed. Failure truly was not an option. Failure never entered their minds. In a similar fashion, when faced with tough competition, cost overruns, product defects and a myriad of other problems, a leader with determination and optimism focuses workers on solutions, not problems. Morale improves.

Driver Two: Offer leadership Training that Focuses on the Growth of the Employee

Studies document that an employee’s level of satisfaction with their direct manager’s leadership style is critical to a satisfactory work environment and to retention. Researchers find that the relationship with the employee’s immediate supervisor carried more impact on the employee than overall company policies or procedures. This relationship also determines productivity levels. To keep bright employees engaged in their jobs and performing at high levels, managers should provide:

· Information. Information is a source of power. Unskilled managers keep it close to the vest and stingily dole it out in snippets of information on a “need to know” basis as if the employee was on a top secret mission. Without a big picture of the project, it is easy for employees to stray from the vision or end-goal of the product or service.

· Support. Mental and emotional support takes many forms. Setting clear goals, accepting ideas, affirming suggestions, making recommendations when stuck on a particular point are all ways to support. Perhaps the best support for the retention of entrepreneurial-minded, innovative employees is to give them the room to try innovative ideas and take calculated risks without the fear of failure, retaliation or a pink slip.

· Resources. Resources are not just pencils, printers and up-to-date software but also involve access to other people in the organization. Providing the appropriate resources may involve putting together special teams to tackle tough problems and stimulate creative ideas.

· Opportunities. Employees need the opportunity to improve their own status within the organization and to invest in themselves in the form of personal development. People will jump ship not just for more pay, but for better opportunities to learn and grow. Retention leadership encourages everyone’s evolution.

Driver Three: Insist on ethical conduct.

The fastest way to alienate the best and the brightest of your workforce and send them networking for another job is to destroy trust by unethical behaviors. Since the Enron debacle, ( maintains a list of corporate accounting scandals with tainted companies ranging from Bristol-Myers Squibb to AOL Time-Warner. Just recently, national news carried the blow-by-blow confidential information leaks from industry giant, Hewlett Packard.

Unethical behavior is a precarious precipice with resulting chaos in employee ranks. Successful organizations have a leadership team that insists on honesty and ethical conduct at every level in the organization. In essence, the excellent leadership team creates an organizational culture of integrity.

Culture integrity, however, is more than insisting on ethical behavior. It is more than requiring ethics training for all employees. On a deeper level, it is:

· Living and validating organizational mission and vision.
· Leading by example in matters of honesty and trustworthiness.
· Aligning employees with organizational values.
· Encouraging candid conversations.
· Insuring that deadlines are met.
· Demanding high product standards.
· Replacing blame with problem analysis.
· Rewarding employees appropriately.
Richard Reid is the founder of Pinnacle Proactive, Specialising in the Employee Assistance ProgramStress ManagementStaff Retention & Absenteeism. Take a Proactive Approach to Growing Your Organisation & its People. For more info visit

Help cut wave of sickness

October 10, 2008


WORKPLACE health organisation Health@Work says Merseyside employers must play their part in reducing absenteeism after a survey showed sick leave levels had hit a four-year high.

According to a survey conducted by the Health and Safety Executive, UK employers have in the past year lost more hours to work-related employee ill health and injuries than at any time in the past four years.

The poll shows an average annual loss of one and a half days from ill health and injury caused by work, with one in every 100 workers – a total of 274,000 – experiencing a non-fatal, reportable injury. The highest rates occurred in construction, manufacturing and transport. Laurie McMillan, Workplace Safety Advisor at Health@Work said: “It is worrying to see statistics like this and as a result employers should be looking at ways to buck the trend and reduce the number of absent employees due to work-related factors.

“Awareness of health and safety practices is paramount.”

(Source: Alistair Houghton, Liverpool Daily Post)

Richard Reid is the founder of Pinnacle Proactive, Specialising in theEmployee Assistance ProgramStress ManagementStaff Retention & Absenteeism. Take a Proactive Approach to Growing Your Organisation & its People. For more info visit

Asdas’ flexible working scheme?

October 9, 2008


Employees have a right to request flexible working but should it work in practice? Georgina Fuller checks out Asda’s scheme.

Flexible working has been in the spotlight recently after the government announced plans to launch a massive £255m campaign to promote flexible working for carers in the workplace. The move is part of a 10-year initiative to give carers more support with employment.

All UK employees have the right to request flexible working hours under amended regulations to the Employment Right Act (1996), but it seems few organisations are promoting it. A survey by the CIPD and accountancy giant KPMG in May this year found that seven out of 10 employers “never or only occasionally” accept employee requests for flexible working.

Asda, however, is ahead of the game. The supermarket giant is pioneering a flexible working scheme and hopes to encourage all of its 165,000 UK staff to take advantage of it. Asda Flex features six flexible working options, including an unpaid three-year career break and up to 12 weeks’ paid leave for staff who wish to make an organ donation.

The programme, which was launched in May, aims to promote flexibility in every area of an employee’s life, from childcare to health, and improve work/life balance.

Colleague relations manager Chris Stone explains: “We’ve always prided ourselves on being ahead of employment law and I hope this programme reflects that. We already had a number of flexible working schemes available but we wanted to simplify and broaden them. We listened to colleagues around the business and tried to respond to what they were saying.”

Some staff who did not have children, for example, felt it was unfair that parents were offered paid time off for childcare. So Asda has introduced an option where anyone can swap shifts with their colleagues and take short-term leave or take 12 weeks’ unpaid leave.

The six categories are called: Shift swap, Me time, My lifestyle, Family first, Career break and My health. All options are geared towards helping staff plan their life around their work. Me time, for example, offers employees up to five days’ unpaid leave for anything from the arrival of a new grandchild to studying for an exam. Family First entitles all parents to take up to 52 weeks off work.

The programme is simple to run and manage. Staff put in a request to their line manager who considers the proposal and refers it to the HR team where necessary.

Stone says it has broken down any barriers that may have previously existed between different staff groups. “We’ve aligned the scheme to diversity and equality and everything that we stand for as an employer. We’ve got rid of any differences so that maternity and paternity leave now applies to adopted parents too. Anyone, regardless of age or purpose, can request to work part time.”

Stone is proud of the innovative health scheme, where employees can take up to three months’ paid leave for organ donation. “We’re one of the only employers that offers time off for organ donation and pays employees to do so. We’ve worked extensively with the NHS and local communities and have had an employee request to take 12 weeks off to donate a kidney to her brother.”

Asda promoted the flexible working programme by circulating booklets in all of its 356 UK stores, displaying posters in canteens and using its so-called “huddle process”.

“The word has spread largely through “huddle processes”, where store managers get together with staff at the end of each day to discuss any news and issues,” Stone says.

And although it’s been only a few months since the scheme was introduced, the response has been encouraging. “The feedback has been amazing and store managers have been really pleased with the response,” says Stone.

It’s not the first time the supermarket giant has responded directly to changes in employment legislation. The group used to offer additional holiday time, known as “Benidorm Leave” to staff over 50 but realised ahead of the age discrimination laws coming in in 2006 that the policy should be scrapped.

Asda is monitoring flexible working requests among staff and hopes to draw a clear parallel with the introduction of the programme and reduced absence levels. Stone also believes it will boost recruitment and retention levels.

Over the past five years, 6% (one in 70 employees) of Asda’s workforce has taken a career break and Stone estimates that about 10% of staff will take advantage of the My lifestyle option each year, where they can take up to 12 weeks off or reduce their hours for three months.

And while the majority of employers will no doubt be starting to panic about the right to request flexible working being extended to parents with children up to the age of 16 from next April, Asda will, yet again, already have it covered.


The Employment Right Act 1996 (ERA), as amended by several pieces of legislation (the most recent being the Flexible Working (Eligibility, Complaint and Remedies) (Amendment) Regulations 2007), provides a statutory right for employees to request flexible working.

The act sets out an employer’s obligation to deal with a request and the consequences of failing to deal with the request properly.

An employer will only be able to refuse a request where there is a clear business reason.

The regulations state that only a “qualifying employee” will be able to exercise the right to request flexible working arrangements.

Qualifying employees must have worked for their employer continuously for 26 weeks and not have applied to work flexibly during the previous 12 months.


  1. Draw up a business case for a better flexible working policy (including increased recruitment and retention levels and decreased absence).
  2. Talk to your employees and find out how they think flexible working could improve their work/life balance.
  3. Consult with line managers to help provide a clear and practical flexible working guide.
  4. Promote the new policy across all departments.
  5. Monitor and assess the take up of flexible working requests.
(Source: Goegina Fuller (About this Author) //
Richard Reid is the founder of Pinnacle Proactive, Specialising in theEmployee Assistance ProgramStress ManagementStaff Retention & Absenteeism. Take a Proactive Approach to Growing Your Organisation & its People. For more info visit

The Radisson boasting 80% staff retention rates!

October 8, 2008


The Radisson on Flagstaff Gardens Melbourne last night won its fourth consecutive Education and Training award from the Hotel Motel Association of Australia. With previous wins in this HMAA award category in 2005, 2006 and 2007, this latest award in 2008 elevates the Radisson on Flagstaff Gardens into the HMAA Hall of Fame.

“The hotel had made a strong commitment to training and education since it formulated a hotel management plan three years ago,” said the Radisson on Flagstaff Gardens Hotel General Manager, Steve Finlayson.

“We have an 80% staff retention rate. This success can be attributed to the Selection, Training and Retention program or ‘STAR’ program which we have in place. We attract the best staff, train them and continue to challenge them on their jobs” added Steve.

The relatively moderate size of the 184-room hotel has also created a strong sense of community among the 112 staff, with a high level of communication and employee engagement between management and staff.


The Hotel Motel Association of Australia is recognised as the leading authority in the Accommodation sector within Australia. HMAA represents accommodation establishments ranging from 5 Star Hotels and motels to Bed and Breakfasts adding up to a membership base of over 2000 properties.



Richard Reid is the founder of Pinnacle Proactive, Specialising in theEmployee Assistance ProgramStress ManagementStaff Retention & Absenteeism. Take a Proactive Approach to Growing Your Organisation & its People. For more info visit

UBS takes action to improve staff retention rates…

October 8, 2008


UBS expects to cut its salary and bonus budget by about $4bn, or a third, as Europe’s biggest casualty of the US credit crisis adjusts its finances in the light of a reduced headcount and shrinking income from many of its core businesses.

The bank, which has had to write down about $43bn since the outbreak of the credit crisis, attributed the decline largely to investment banking, one of its core divisions alongside private banking and asset management, where there has been a sharp fall in business in many areas.


More than 2,600 staff have left UBS’s investment bank in the past year, some 12 per cent of the total. In the second quarter alone, the division cut its headcount by almost 1,700, reducing the total to 19,475. The group has a year-end target of 19,000.

Figures for the first six months showed the bank made salary payments or set aside bonus reserves of SFr7.76bn ($7bn). That was far less than the SFr11.77bn in the same period last year, and was the lowest such figure since 2003.

The decrease only partly represented bonuses, which are normally paid early in the year after that in which reserves are set aside.

However, UBS’s accounts for 2007 showed that 49 per cent of pay took the form of bonuses or variable compensation.

Bonuses tend to be more focused on staff in investment banking and asset management, where, especially in the US, such variable compensation comprises a higher proportion of salary than for mainstream retail or private bankers.

“The bonus pool will be smaller next year”, admitted Andreas Kern, a UBS spokesman.

UBS this month announced plans to give its three divisions greater autonomy, including making compensation and bonuses much more dependent on the performance of individual units, rather than the entire group.

UBS’s private bankers, traditional mainstays of profitability, have long complained about being treated unfairly compared with their sometimes stratospherically paid investment banking and trading colleagues.

UBS is also working to revise its bonus system, one of seven key targets in a new management strategy unveiled this month.

The new bonus structure, already the subject of considerable speculation, should be announced in the fourth quarter.

The greater independence being granted to the bank’s three divisions suggests that changes will be aimed at improving flexibility and transparency. UBS is also expected to take action to improve staff retention rates in its consistently most profitable areas.

The reduction in UBS payments, initially reported by Sonntag, a Swiss Sunday newspaper, has come amid widespread job losses and compensation cuts at leading investment banks after the credit crunch.


Richard Reid is the founder of Pinnacle Proactive, Specialising in theEmployee Assistance ProgramStress ManagementStaff Retention & Absenteeism. Take a Proactive Approach to Growing Your Organisation & its People. For more info visit