Long-term employees - a business's best friend.
Long-serving employees have always been the most effective at reaching objectives and providing consistently high-quality work. It has long been accepted that the best employment strategy is to recruit and retain a workforce of dedicated people who know exactly what is required of them, because they have been working for you for a long time and because they feel valued. Unfortunately, the vehicle recycling sector has a hit and miss reputation when it comes to employee retention, with treatment and dismantling facilities historically struggling to hold on to depollution operatives. This attrition is often overlooked, but the reality is that it is expensive for those who experience it.
Thankfully, it’s not all doom and gloom, with many examples across the sector of organisations getting things right and reaping the benefits as a result. But we do still have a long way to go, as for every company that gets employment right, there are likely to be two others getting things wrong, and it’s those who have the most to gain from addressing this fundamental problem.
So how can we face the challenge, turn things around quickly, and transform new recruits into high-performing and long-serving employees? Let’s start by taking a closer look at what motivates people to remain in a job, as well as what influences people to explore opportunities elsewhere.
Online job site Indeed released its latest UK insight data in March 2023, providing feedback from workers across all sectors. Here are the top six most common reasons for people finding new employment:
It might surprise some to learn that pay is not the number one motivator for moving roles, with salary occupying third position. The biggest take away from the data is that investment in any of these areas, provides tangible value back to the employer. Loyalty, dedication, improved workforce skills and knowledge, performance, future leadership, improved efficiency and productivity, higher work standards; the list goes on.
Consider this; for a company that is struggling with staff retention, training and on-going professional development has the ability to positively affect five of the top six motivators listed.
Recognition - We all need to feel valued. There is no greater motivator than someone who knows that their contribution is making a difference. If individuals feel there is no appreciation for their work, job satisfaction falls away. Defined qualification or training routes demonstrate that an organisation recognises the importance of their employees and want to ensure their competence. Offering further professional development to experienced workers is also an effective way for a business to reward hard work, maximise workplace potential, and strengthen employee loyalty.
Resources - Employees are more likely to stay with a company that has the necessary resources in place to develop them in their chosen career path. Advancement doesn’t always mean progression up the career ladder. 31% of people change jobs simply because of a lack of access to resources and opportunities. Providing development opportunities across all roles rather than limiting advancement to specific positions prevents employee stagnation, and keeps workers motivated.
Career Advancement - Career advancement doesn’t necessarily involve promotion or role change. Employees will always want to improve their talents, and therefore businesses need to make opportunities available. Nurturing career aspirations sends a clear message to workers that their personal development is as important as overall business objectives. Organisations should not hold people back, rather they should actively encourage indivduals to be the best versions of themselves. No business can ever boast that they have successfully retained employees long-term by holding back on their development.
Job Satisfaction - Job satisfaction is the feeling of fulfilment, that positive emotional response that a person derives from their job. There’s no single metric for job satisfaction as many factors will contribute to why a person feels content in their role. There are, however, common drivers that can influence it, including job security, peer respect and equality, cohesive teamwork, strong relationships with supervisors or managers, a two-way feedback culture, respect for creative ideas, etc. Workplace training provides so much more than a basic induction. It ensures that workers are performing to an agreed standard, providing a consistent work quality, promoting teamwork to drive efficiencies, whilst helping to reinforce work relationships and equality. With people trained and delivering to an identified standard, a business can more easily measure performance, implement change, and encourage employees to offer their feedback to enhance business performance.
Working conditions - Poor working conditions are never acceptable. An employer should invest in the workplace as well as its people. Just as standardised work practices create efficiencies which in turn drive productivity, so does providing and maintaining the right equipment to do the job. Poor equipment or unsafe work areas are beneficial to no-one, not even profit margins. Employees who are trained correctly understand the importance of looking after their workplace and equipment, and how to get the very best out of them; maximising the operational life of equipment whilst minimising accidents and downtime. Formalised training encourages safe and efficient work practices and clean and tidy working environments, guaranteeing workers are operating safely, compliantly, and maximising productivity.
So why is it that the vehicle recycling industry seems so reluctant to implement these incentives? Well, employee training and development requires investment. Businesses can often be hesitant to incur unnecessary front-end training costs early in a new employee’s tenure before their reliability has been established. Could this be, however, the very reason that staff turnover remains high? Business owners must carefully consider what is necessary and proportionate when it comes to training, but with recognition, growth and advancement opportunities all scoring high in UK job satisfaction surveys, delaying or neglecting investment in these people, could cause your employees to walk, along with any investment made to date, and the chance of ever recuperating it.
Thankfully, investing in a technical training programme doesn’t have to cost the earth. In fact, training will never be as expensive as having to manage the costs associated with high staff turnover. A partnership with ELV Training ensures your organisation will be in the best position to anticipate future challenges and promote business growth. By helping you build capability and competence in your workplace, we can incentivise, motivate, inspire and most importantly, upskill your people.