How to retain your staff?

The world is experiencing the highest levels of staff attrition in 10 years*.  As managers, the cost of losing and securing new staff goes beyond the physical financial costs.  The effort and time required to find talent, train them up and get them to full speed is exhausting. All of this while the manager is normally carrying the additional workload from the previous incumbent.  The question of “how do I retain my good staff?” is increasingly relevant?  The saying, “staff leave managers not companies” reminds us that a significant amount of power lies with managers to retain their staff.

We believe that having a framework that managers can apply will assist..  Chloe Madanes** has developed a powerful questionnaire that diagnoses the 6 human needs.  Managers that understand these six needs, can begin to build the environment that staff will want to be part of and contribute to.  Although each person has preferences regarding the needs, managers that begin integrating these needs into their daily management are experiencing greater retention success. The six needs are:

  • Certainty
  • Uncertainty
  • Significance
  • Love/connection
  • Growth and
  • Contribution

Certainty is the need to feel secure, safe and comfortable in the present and future.  Staff with a strong need for certainty find uncertainty very destabilising.  Although the work world is filled with uncertainty, managers can provide clarity in most situations.  They are also able to support staff that need certainty to focus on where they have personal control as this can be used to navigate the uncertainty.

Uncertainty is the need for different experiences and challenges.  These staff require the excitement that comes from variety, uncertainty, suspense and surprise.  Managers with staff that need uncertainty can offer these staff projects and activities filled with the unknown, learning, self-exploration and new experiences. 

Significance is the need to be respected and recognised as important.  These staff need to be appreciated for their uniqueness.  Some staff may even behave in a way that leads to them being feared to fulfil this need.  Managers appreciate the need to give recognition, but it often gets lost in the pressure and stress of the demanding environment.  A challenge for managers that don’t need significance is that they find it especially challenging to prioritise recognition.  As with each of these needs, sometimes building a process or system that reminds you of the few minutes it takes to recognise and appreciate your staff, saves you hours lost by the demotivation that comes from people that need significance and not receiving it.

Love and connection are the need to love and be loved.  In the business environment this translates to having meaningful connections with people.  This human need links to feeling worthy.  When managers are under pressure, fulfilling this need can feel overwhelming.  Initially, applying meaningful connections with staff can be time consuming.  As staff build confidence that the manager connects with them and recognises their worth, the ability to meet this need becomes lighter and easier to maintain.  Managers may even find that these strong connections support them, and staff are more willing and able to go further and do more because of the important connection they have built with you, their manager.

Growth is the need to develop new skills, learn new things and improve on what is already known.  In the business environment, growth and staff that are self-led in growth are valuable as they support the team to keep up to date with the latest.  As managers, it is key to create opportunities for staff that have this need to do the learning and research and then share it with their team.  Managers can identify opportunities for staff that need growth to have the opportunity to grow daily.

Contribution is the need to add value and contribute to a cause or others.  This is the need to give to others and leave a mark on the world.  In the business environment, contribution comes from giving staff the opportunity to be part of something important and different from the norm.  It requires knowing what “causes” are important to your staff and then facilitating that they explore these and are given the opportunity to make their mark on them.

A simple model but one that is challenging for a manager who is already stretched.  Retaining staff starts with building consciousness of these six needs.  Then taking small, consistent steps to integrate them every day.



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