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Tackling the prickly issue of attrition to retain your talent

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Tackling the prickly issue of attrition to retain your talent

Hedgehogs. As winter approaches, we nurture these cute critters, putting up signs warning motorists to drive carefully, leaving out bowls of stinky cat food, and building ‘hedgehog houses’ in our gardens to provide safe spaces for the chilly months ahead. But what happens when springtime comes? They shuffle off without a second thought. How rude! After all that effort, it would be nice if Tiggy-Winkle and team would commit for a little longer…  As communicators there are points we can prioritise to not only attract people but make them want to hunker down and stick around too.

This unsatisfactory exodus can be likened to the prickly issue of workplace retention.

Like a hedgehog’s need for warm leaves and a comfy spot to stay safe, employees have a list of needs to keep them feeling content. As communicators there are points we can prioritise to not only attract people but make them want to hunker down and stick around too. 


Creating engaging environments

The four enablers of engagement from David MacLeod and Nita Clarke’s Engaging For Success research is an established model that can help us think about some of the practical elements as well as those warming creature comforts.


Strong strategic narrative

Visible, empowering leadership providing a strong strategic narrative about the organisation, where it’s come from and where it’s going.

  • Work with senior leaders to review your existing strategic narrative, making sure it provides a consistent and emotive story with related metaphors and conversation starters about the topics that matter to people.
  • Where possible, make this a collaborative process by including and involving employees to encourage them to take ownership of your organisation’s story. 
  • Create strong links with your vision and values to help unite people around a common purpose, creating camaraderie by engaging hearts as well as minds.Brown roundel with hedgehog graphic that reads: • Promote work-life balance through your line managers and build it into team charters so people feel confident to be themselves among their peers.


Engaging managers

Engaging managers who focus their people and give them scope, treat their people as individuals and coach and stretch them.

  • Line managers can have a significant impact on building a sense of belonging and togetherness by keeping people connected with the business and with one another but make sure you give them the resources to coach and upskill in these areas.
  • Focus on providing managers with the tools they need to help colleagues dissect the details and understand what’s relevant to them when it comes to key things like benefits, flexible working policies and career development opportunities to help create personalised and meaningful employee experiences.
  • Promote work-life balance through your line managers and build it into team charters so people feel confident to be themselves among their peers.


Employee voice

Employee voice throughout the organisation to reinforce and challenge views, between functions and externally. Employees are involved, heard, and invited to contribute experiences, expertise and ideas.

  • Encourage employees to participate in open conversations to ensure they feel listened to and understood. Support managers to lead on this by helping them to communicate transparently in ways that inform, inspire, engage and motivate. 
  • Maintain a regular schedule of ‘listening sessions’ involving senior leaders that empower colleagues to confidently contribute their thoughts and opinions. 
  • Cultivate a participatory communication arena on your internal social channels where employees actively engage in conversations on a peer-to-peer level. Brown roundel with hedgehog graphic that reads: Publicly recognise and reward desired actions to reinforce positive behaviours and build a united culture that people want to be part of.


Organisational integrity

The values on the wall are reflected in day-to-day behaviours. There is no ‘say –do’ gap. Promises made are promises kept, or an explanation given as to why not.

  • Maintain a robust comms plan that ensures consistency across your messaging.
  • Regularly and openly report on goals and priorities set by the organisation, particularly actions pledged by the top team.
  • Clearly demonstrate your organisation’s commitment to workforce diversity, inclusivity, and wellbeing by maintaining strong relationships with your employee resource groups and promoting the work they do. 



Stop the resignation spikes 

As hedgehogs are naturally nomadic creatures, it seems we’re destined to wave goodbye to these wild animals as the weather warms up. But the same doesn’t have to be said for our employees. Through consistent and considered communication we can help to create memorable and impactful experiences that help our people to feel at home. 


By Caroline Roodhouse

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Emily Stoten — Head of Marketing, Selecta

“I feel like they own and care for the project as much as we do! I would not use anyone else for my creative work and think Alive is ahead of the game.”

Jo Hobbs — Communications Manager

“Thanks for all your help. We are delighted with the campaign, both in terms of the creativity and messaging but also the thought taken over the rollout of the materials. All looks absolutely fabulous!”

Sarah Crowdy — Campaign and Media Officer Communications, South East Water

“We went to ‘Alive’ for ideas on how to run a specific employee program in Europe. Alan and his team were brilliant in coming up with fresh, creative and practical approaches. The team took charge and executed brilliantly. We are pleased with the progress made so far and hope to have the same level of partnership and commitment going forward.”

Sobha Varghese — Tata Consultancy Services

“We had the privilege to work with the Alive team. It was our first time to be involved in creating an animation for our patients within paediatrics. The team were approachable, friendly, creative and very accommodating. Your vision for what you want to create, is at all times acknowledged, appreciated and accommodated by the team. They worked effectively and with great passion towards our project and worked not only alongside health professionals but also our patients who really enjoyed the experience of working with the Alive team. It has given our team the confidence and inspiration to do further projects in the future. We highly recommend Alive and their exceptional team.”

DR ELENI ATHANASAKOS, Lead Paediatric Clinical Scientist — NHS Barts Health

“‘The short animation developed in co-production with clinicians and young people is outstanding! Informative, developmentally appropriate, vitally fun and engaging. We are really grateful for the expertise of the Alive with Ideas team for their innovative approach in building children’s health literacy.'”

Kath Evans — Director of Children’s Nursing at Barts Health

“Our mission was to update our brand visuals to better reflect our innovative and forward-thinking organisation. After receiving numerous pitches from different branding agencies, Alive stood out with their clear passion and understanding of our identity and goals. We thoroughly enjoyed working with the Alive Team to create an engaging new brand that we are immensely proud of.”

Lianne Springer — Communications and Engagement Lead

“Alive wowed us during the pitch process and they didn’t stop wowing us throughout the whole project. Every person we worked with at Alive were so friendly, knowledgeable and clearly passionate about what they do. They have worked with us to really understand what we do and have created a new brand and website that really stands out from our competitors. Thank you!”

Louise Burnard, Head of Marketing and Communications UK — Be | Shaping the Future

“I think the team have done such a brilliant job, particularly with responding to our requests. It's one of the best mental health videos I've ever seen. Very proud to be associated with your exemplary work. Thank you so much.”

Dr Anna Batho — Clinical Psychologist – Critical Care, UCLH

“We have worked with Alan, Caroline and the wider Alive With Ideas team for many years. In that time, they have provided a dedicated service that is second to none. We appreciate their attention to detail and creative approach to bringing our brand, communications and stories to life. And would recommend them to anyone looking for creative communications support.”

Georgia Beech — Internal Communications Specialist, Ocado Group

“This is brilliant. I wanted to give my heartfelt thanks to all of the team who worked on this. You all understood exactly what we wanted to communicate and why, and then managed to do it in a way that was far better than anything I could have imagined. I’m a bit choked up to be honest!”

Sarah Wright, Head of Communications and Campaigns — NEA

“Each time I work with the team, I am always stunned at the effort and creativity that goes into each detail and am always eager for the end result. The team is extremely accommodating and always provide a fresh approach to our projects that elevates our communications materials!”

Alana Khaytin, Communications Specialist — Braskem America

“What I really appreciate about Alive is that they work with us as partners, and care as much about getting it right for our patients as we do.”

Sara Langston, Patient Engagement & Marketing Manager — italk

“Alive are unique in how much they deeply listen and invest in you and your ideas. I have not come across a company that listens as much as they do to ensure your needs are understood and met (actually - they always exceed my needs and expectations). Everyone I recommend Alive to has an equally brilliant experience. When you work with Alive, you are not only getting some genius creativity brought into your life, you are also hanging out with some of the best examples of human beings I’ve ever known.”

Steph Tranter, Hybrid Exec Coach & Psychologist —

“Alive helped us create a video of our response to the floods of winter 2019. Our Chief Officer received messages from all round the country praising us for it and was really pleased with both the video and the response to it.”

Alexander Mills, Communications Manager — South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue

“Alive were professional, friendly and great to work with. Most importantly they were creative, helping us to bring an extremely important safety campaign to life.”

Jack Grasby — South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue

“The (Alive) team were able to creatively pull together and document (in just over 2minutes) everything our service has achieved over the last few months, from thousands of prescriptions deliveries to hundreds of phone calls made to the vulnerable. The final product was so powerful and reflective of what our service has and continues to achieve. It couldn’t have been better received within the service – thanks Alive for once again helping us to communicate our vision!’”

Emma Wright — South Yorkshire & Rescue

“We worked with the team at Alive to create our staff recognition video.
At a time like this, its never been more important to share the amazing work that our staff have done and continue to do on a daily basis under very difficult circumstances. We wanted to shout about this and recognise that when the time came, South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue stepped up to the plate. We didn’t want an ordinary thank you post on social media or a basic email sent out internally, we wanted something special. Enter Alive. ”

Emma Wright — South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue

“This looks amazing - brought a smile to my face scrolling through it :-)”

Jack Ford, Head of Marketing — streamGO

“Our company is fun, we have great brands, but most importantly we’re all about our people – and I wanted an agency who would understand that and help us bring it to life through our website and other comms. Straight away I felt that Alive ‘got’ us and provided the creative inspiration exactly where we needed it, as well as the technical expertise to deliver a well-functioning website.”

Keren McCarron, Head of Corporate Affairs & Communications — KP Snacks

Thank you so much. Incredible work done at incredible speed by incredible people.
Outstanding work as ever and what a turnaround. As for the concepts – wow. These are that good it would be an insult to describe them as just good. It’s a joke, quite frankly. This is exactly the Alive effect I was after. Right now I feel like I am living in an Alive With Ideas wonderland. Thank you!”

Jack Grasby, Campaigns Manager — SYFR

“If you are looking to improve creativity and build teamwork, I highly recommend a session like this for your team. No matter where you are in your creativity journey, a workshop like this can give your team a boost of energy and ideas to invigorate their creative thinking.”

Amy Lilja, IC Manager — Hennepin Healthcare

“Alive were there to help when we were working every hour to respond to the coronavirus outbreak. They gave us the creativity, ideas and support we needed to deliver campaigns which empowered our residents in the most difficult time most of us have ever seen, personally and professionally. The team understood what we needed, worked closely with us and delivered fast without any compromise on quality. Working with Alive has been a joy in the darkest of times and I have no doubt will have helped to save lives. Thanks team x”

Julie Odams, Assistant Director of Communications & Customers — Derbyshire County Council

“We got 'Alive' involved to help us shift mindsets across our organisation and they delivered! Using simple, clear and creative ideas the team have delivered us a campaign which has seen a dramatic increase in idea sharing and development. They’ve also played a significant role in creating a culture of shared success. I wouldn’t hesitate to work with again, in fact, we already are!”

Gavin Buckle — B&Q
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