I can’t believe someone thinks these are the best ways to retain staff!

So like many people I’m on a big bunch of mailing lists and one post today caught my eye for all the wrong reasons.

I won’t say which body sent it out, but it was on the subject of talent retention and two of the ways they suggested were to pay more than the competition and then tie the person into a strict study and non-compete contract.

Why is this so wrong?

Well legalities aside ( I’m pretty sure non-competes are really hard to enforce), it sends entirely the wrong message and in my opinion would probably hasten departure, not prevent it.

Paying people more doesn’t get them to stay much longer

Yes you may have to pay the market rate, or even slightly above to get great talent but here’s the problem, there’s always another company with deeper pockets.

You can bet that as soon as someone who joins you for the money gets used to their new salary you’ll either need to keep paying them more or face the prospect that they will always be looking around.

It’s a fact that we get used to our income level very quickly and it ceases to be a motivator.

Strict contract? – what is this 1950?

Sure you can get people to sign their life away on the prospect of getting a good salary and a different job title but these kind of contracts often don’t hold water.

There’s legal precedent that mitigates against these non-compete clauses or covenants but the problem here goes much deeper.

The company, by getting an employee to sign a non-compete on day 1 is actually putting the thought into their head that they will leave one day.

It’s a bit like putting a red button on someone’s desk with a sign next to it saying ‘do not press’.

All you’re going to think about is pressing that button.

It also shows a massive lack of confidence that the business can retain someone and it shows a lack of imagination as to how that could be achieved.

So what should you do?

That’s the 64,000 dollar question!

What I should say here is that I run a course on building awesome teams so if you want to know then come along to one of them.

But I’m not going to say that.

My first and probably best piece of advice would be not to go to the market with just a wad of cash in your back pocket because that’s only going to encourage mercenary behaviour.

It’s far better to find people that share the vision for your company.

Maybe you want to build the best construction company (pun intended) in the world, or perhaps you want to save the Dorset cheese industry* and start up an artisan dairy?

Whatever it is, if you want to retain staff then they need to feel that they are part of something. In other words they are with you on your journey and they belong.

Sure having a great football table, superb coffee and free parking are nice-to-haves, but they aren’t why you want to go to work in the morning.

Remember the old adage that a person who does something they love will never have to work a day in their lives.

Instead you need to build a sense of belonging, safety, a shared journey and personal growth.

Because it’s really difficult to leave a job you love and a team where everyone is like family, but it’s easy to leave behind a paycheck for another one somewhere else that has better parking.

Why not sign up for my tip of the month? It’s free and might even have some useful information in it!

*I have no idea if it needs saving

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