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The seven steps to keeping key staff working happily


Snow White would have been lost without Sneezy, Sleepy, Dopey, Doc, Happy, Bashful and Grumpy

Snow White would have been lost without Sneezy, Sleepy, Dopey, Doc, Happy, Bashful and Grumpy

Snow White would have been lost without Sneezy, Sleepy, Dopey, Doc, Happy, Bashful and Grumpy

A company's reputation is the most valuable thing it owns. We do business every day as if our success depends upon our company's good name - because it does. It is a precious asset and it is built by a company's employees - one transaction, one handshake and one kept promise at a time. That makes employees owners of the corporate identity.

Therefore, it is in the interest of every company to not only select the right people in the first place, but to retain them.

The retention of key employees is critical to the long-term health and success of a business. It results in not only product sales, customer satisfaction and overall profitability, but deeply-embedded organisational knowledge and a positive company culture - something which is not so visual, but is vital to any business.

In Ireland, and worldwide, increasing numbers of staff move on every two or three years - which either means companies are going to have to start preparing for a much higher turnover rate, or else they will have to look to create an organisational culture to satisfy the career-minded individuals that businesses require.

We have put together a checklist to help companies create an organisational culture which will satisfy their employees' needs, build loyalty and prevent the loss of key employees.

Company values

How can an employee be expected to work and commit to a position and company if it does not have an in-depth knowledge of what it stands for, what values it holds and what importance it places on staff relationships?

Employers can build long-term relationships with their staff by educating them on the values and business objectives of the company and showing them where they fit into it. These relationships are the foundation of retaining staff.

Open communications channels

Does your organisation promote idea-sharing and provide a setting in which people feel at ease providing feedback?

Employees who feel comfortable speaking their minds freely in an organisation will share more ideas and be more open to criticism.

A two-way communication channel that allows for an open and respectful exchange of ideas between a company and its staff is not only very important in employee retention - but it is crucial to an employee's growth and success within a company.

Continuous professional development

The quality of the supervision and training an employee receives is critical to employee retention.

A lack of clarity about role expectations, promotional channels and earning potential will only demotivate an employee to succeed, resulting in the loss of potential key players. Companies should endeavour to provide continuous professional development to support their staff to reach new levels within the company.

This can be executed from within, by senior team members.

This creates an open career path and builds excellent relationships between staff of all levels. It can be achieved by providing the opportunity for people to share their knowledge via training sessions and presentations, to name a few.

Work/life balance

The term 'work/life balance' is frequently discussed, but it cannot be overlooked.

It is very important for employers to get to know their employees and provide an environment which promotes a work/life balance, unique to all. Investing in an employee's personal well-being is just as important as investing in their professional career.

Companies should consider flexible working hours or alternative working arrangements, both of which could have a huge impact on a staff member's attitude to work. Implementing such initiatives can lower absenteeism and increase retention levels, so it's a win/win for all.

Promote from within

Delivering a high standard of service is hard work and demands a deep personal commitment from employees.

It is important to ensure that each employee has an ability to learn and ambition to succeed. Your staff members must feel rewarded and appreciated. Looking at existing staff and providing the training to then hire from within helps retain staff. And, remember, a simple thank you from a senior member of staff can go a long way.


It is important to value the many differences that make each employee unique and know that these differences help to advance the success of a company.

Nurturing a business environment that is responsive to all is another step companies can take to ensuring employees are loyal and committed.

An enjoyable workplace

Last but in no way least, providing an enjoyable work environment is crucial to employee retention.

Success comes from a workforce that is happy, motivated, and highly committed to each other's success. People want to enjoy their work, and for others to enjoy theirs.

George O'Connor is managing director at Enterprise Rent-A-Car Ireland

Sunday Indo Business