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How to...retain good people...
How to...retain good people

The public sector fares better than others when it comes to retaining staff. According to the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development's annual survey, the overall employee turnover rate for the UK is 16% while the public sector's rate is 10%.

Good news, but local government cannot afford to rest on its laurels. A recent LGC survey of human resources chiefs (LGC, 11 March) says high-calibre staff are proving difficult to find, so there's even more of a reason to retain your best staff . While pay in local government is always a bone of contention, a bigger wage is not the main reason for staff quitting their job.

Institute research says it is relatively rare for people to leave jobs in which they are happy, even if offered better pay elsewhere, because most staff prefer stability. Although the use of exit interviews is widespread, they are unreliable particularly when conducted by a line manager or someone responsible for writing the references.

On the other hand, frontline managers and their behaviour is crucial. A poor relationship with a line manager can be an important reason behind an individual leaving the organisation. A lack of training and development opportunities is also a major reason for losing good staff.

To retain staff, the institute recommends the following:

>>Give prospective employees a realistic job preview at the recruitment stage

>>Make line managers accountable for staff turnover in their teams

>>Maximise opportunities for individual employees to develop their skills

>>Ensure wherever possible that staff have a voice, through consultative bodies, regular appraisals, attitude surveys and grievance systems

>>When possible, accommodate individual preferences on working hours

>>Avoid making staff feel obliged to work longer hours than necessary to impress management

>>Provide job security

>>Never discriminate against employees on unfair grounds.

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