Adeela Warley: How do you keep high-performing staff?

In this era of short-term contracts and freelance work, it's time to look afresh at what your staff want and your approach to retention

Adeela Warley
Adeela Warley

We all know that sinking feeling when a talented employee hands in their notice and the high costs of rehiring, training and development loom. In a workplace dominated by millennials and characterised by short-term contracts and freelance work, it's time to take a fresh look at what people want from their working lives and our approach to retention and learning.

This question is front of mind for me, first as a new chief executive with a team to support, but also because of CharityComms’ Communications Benchmark 2017, which shows that key reasons for staff leaving are that they are not being valued or understood by peers and a lack of investment in them.

One respondent said: "I'm moving on to an organisation with excellent communications leadership, which appreciates communications and is willing to invest in its comms team's development."

Perhaps that’s unsurprising: we live in a digital world where responsive, personalised and authentic interactions are the norm and people move on when the expectations aren’t met.

All is not lost. As communicators, we know the power of an audience-centred strategy. Investing in the learning and career development of your team – regardless of where they are in their journey with you – is mutually beneficial. You keep high-performing staff and their experience is more fulfilling.

Opportunities for staff to take on new projects, mentoring and self-learning can all help at modest cost. And if people do decide to leave, happy leavers are more likely to remain part of your network, which might lead to new and exciting opportunities.

Adeela Warley is chief executive of CharityComms

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