Sunday, January 16, 2011

Retaining Staff

We have already established that there is a shortage of SharePoint skills; my post on that topic has been my most popular post to date. This problem becomes the root cause of other problems, and the problem I want to focus on today is the fact that the shortage of SharePoint skills places your existing SharePoint team in high demand and if proper steps are not taken to retain this staff, consider them lost.


It’s unfortunate but true, due to lack of training available, the number of new SharePoint players entering the market is low (and still needs a lot of work before they can add real value to projects), so in order for a company to deliver on a SharePoint need, they need to use existing SharePoint players, and in order to do that, they need to figure out who’s the competitors key players, and make them an offer they cannot refuse.

Sometimes these “offers they cannot refuse” are ridiculously high, meaning that a counter offer is out of the question, so the big question I’m placing out there is “if money cannot be used to retain staff, what else can you do?”.



The big secret in retaining staff, is identifying the staff’s key motivational factors and focusing on those needs. Easily said, but not so easily done, many staff members don’t even know what there motivational factors are, so just asking them what motivates them may send you down the wrong path, rather focus on what they do. Also, there are surveys available that will help you (and the staff member) identify there motivational factors.

Records from surveys and intensive studies have proven that if you are under the age of 30, your most significant motivating factor is money, so, sadly, it matters not (or at least very little) how great the work is and how happy you are, if someone offers you a significant bump in your salary, chances are, you going to take it, and there isn’t much that can be done about it.

Once over the age of 30, the motivational factors are more diverse, the top motivational factors are usually the following (not in any specific order):

  • Staff needs to feel that their job and the company is secured
  • Staff needs career advancements
  • Staff needs to feel that they are contributing to the company’s strategy for success
  • The work itself needs to be exciting and challenging
  • If you are not a senior, mentors should be available to help you grow and improve
  • Staff needs recognition for the work done
  • Staff wants financial rewards based on company performance (profit share)
  • Staff must enjoy the workplace culture
  • Staff wants to be managed well (management must be fair, honest and consistent)
After you have observed your staffs action, and identified there motivational factors, you need to do something about it. Here are some ideas (I would appreciate more ideas if you have any):
  • Get staff more involved with company’s strategy: get them passionate about the job, let them see the value they are adding – this will increase their commitment to the job, which helps with their loyalty.
  • Develop a training and mentorship programme: Provide a programme for the staff to improve their skills, and contribution to the company’s strategy. Fund there training, provide mentoring or coaching and even setting time aside for studying is an investment that can only improve your current skillset and delivery quality
  • Give team opportunities to socialise: team building outings and celebrating project success shows that your focus is not just on work, but also on team development which helps in with the loyalty development
  • Highlight achievements: Having a forum where staffs achievements are acknowledge is a great way in providing recognition of a job well done. Some people live for these moments, and will do what they can for the recognition. With a forum like this in place, offering rewards (like a weekend getaway or an additional leave day) for exceptional work is a well worth additional cost, a positive ROI for this cost is guaranteed.

When staff leave, try to identify where you went wrong, sometimes it’s just about the money so it may not be your fault, but in most cases something happened (or didn’t happen), that planted the seed of uncertainty, something that you could have done differently or is interpreted differently that makes a staff member decide that they will enter the market to see if something better is out there, after that point is crossed, it’s difficult to go back. So try to ensure that point is never reached, and good luck.

1 comment:

Nizaam Karjieker said...

Good blog Nadir. Glad you followed through on it. Just another factor that should be considered.

Manager's and Directors alike seem to emerse themselves in the day to day running of the business, the targets and KPi's that need to achieved, the profit margins, the performance of the departments and all kinds of pressures. These demands strip one of their morality and humanity as people need to keep abreast of the competition and the market by making cold and hard decisions.

'Caring' is also a key factor. It is a common known fact that the foremost reason why people leave a company is the "don't care" phenomenon. Employees often leave for greener pastures when an insecurity begins to settle in. Employers therefore need to show a genuine interest in the employee's challenges, be these financial or developmental. If the employee feels that the employer cares and is making an effort to in order for the employee to achieve their goals (whether such goals are actually achieved or not), the employee will feel a sense of security, but more so, a sense of belonging.

A nurturing and caring approach can also have its merits in retaining staff. The success of this is assisting the staff in achieving their personal objectives by putting measures in place to do so.