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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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Jo Hobbs — Communications Manager

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

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Sobha Varghese — Tata Consultancy Services

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Gavin Buckle — B&Q

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

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Amy Lilja, IC Manager — Hennepin Healthcare

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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

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

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Jack Ford, Head of Marketing — streamGO

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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

“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

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Jack Grasby — South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue

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Alexander Mills, Communications Manager — South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue

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Steph Tranter, Hybrid Exec Coach & Psychologist — StephTranter.com

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Sara Langston, Patient Engagement & Marketing Manager — italk

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Alana Khaytin, Communications Specialist — Braskem America

“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

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Georgia Beech — Internal Communications Specialist, Ocado Group

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Dr Anna Batho — Clinical Psychologist – Critical Care, UCLH

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

“Our mission was to update the DASA 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 who provided expert guidance and injected some much needed creativity into the project; resulting in an accessible and engaging new brand that we are immensely proud of.

Thank you again for all the work you have done with us!”

Lianne Springer — Communications and Engagement Lead - Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA)

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