A common question that all companies ask themselves at one point or another is ‘how do we ensure we retain our most talented staff?’. Naturally, this leads on to another question: 'how do we get staff to stay suitably engaged and invested in the company and to commit their long term futures to it?'. Or, in other words, how to get employees to “stick” with one company rather than “twist”, by moving on to another?
It has been suggested that the cost to a company of directly replacing an employee is in the region of 50% of that employee’s annual salary, though the total cost to the company often far exceeds that figure when you consider the full recruitment process, induction and training of the new employee, loss of sales and the potential for a reduction in the motivation of remaining staff, particularly the case if the departing employee is seen as key to the organisation.
So how to avoid this scenario. Well, in the famous words of Steve Jobs: “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.”
There have been many theories on how staff are motivated at work. Herzberg and Maslow produced two of the better known. Herzberg theorised there was a set of factors in any given workplace that contributed to an employee being satisfied with their job (called ‘Motivators’) including enabling them to participate in interesting work and allowing them to achieve recognition and responsibility for what they do. At the other end of the spectrum, there is another set of factors which can cause an employee to be dissatisfied if regarded as unsatisfactory (called ‘Hygiene Factors’) including factors such as pay, job security and benefits.
As an alternative, Maslow’s theory presents the idea that everyone has a “hierarchy of needs” which can be represented as a pyramid. At the bottom of the pyramid are the most fundamental needs for all of life to thrive, such as physiological needs like ‘the need to survive’. At the very top of the pyramid, sits psychological areas like ‘self-actualisation’, which represents an individual’s ability to achieve their full potential. Maslow’s theory suggests that the more fundamental needs that feature lower down the pyramid, needs such as survival, safety and belonging, must be fulfilled before an individual can climb the pyramid and focus on satisfying his or her higher level needs.
So, in conclusion, how does an organisation ensure that it holds on to its most valuable asset – talented staff? The answer would seem to lie in finding the balance between ensuring that the more fundamental needs of people are met and that people also feel valued by the organisation they work within, that they are challenged and that they have the room to grow and learn more. Easy to say, you might think. The real challenge is putting this into practice.
“Paul and I, we never thought that we would make much money out of the thing. We just loved writing software.” Bill Gates
At CRITICAL Software, people are the most important factor in achieving our goals. We invest time and energy in every member of our team, through every step of their journey with us. We believe that talented people deserve to work for an excellent company, and we pursue excellence in every area. Find out more about working at CRITICAL Software.