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Three steps to better retention through improving workplace satisfaction

Photo Credit: Glenn G, Flickr

According to the recent Hays report on Fit and Retention, nearly half of Canada’s working population are unhappy in their current role which means employers have a retention risk on their hands.

The second part of Hays “Fit” Series takes a look at the impact that finding your ideal fit has on workplace satisfaction and what factors could contribute to someone’s dissatisfaction. It’s a challenging balance to have both the right fit as well as career progression and salary to keep your employees happy.

We’ve all hired someone we think is a good fit, but after the “honeymoon stage” they’re less engaged, and less productive – and they might be considering moving to another company in hopes of finding something fulfilling long-term.

What can you do to improve retention?

Before you hire:

1. Make the most of the interview process

Encourage hiring managers to see the interview process as a two-way street – make sure candidates get an accurate information about the work culture so they can also make better decisions. Include questions about management preferences, social behaviour, and preferred work environment. The Fit report also shows that only one in five employers are using behavioural or psychometric testing. These tests can be an excellent addition to your hiring toolbox.

2. Involve the team in the final decision

When considering a new hire you’ve considered how well they will fit with the existing team and their direct manager. Arrange an opportunity for them to interact informally with the team. The number one contributor to an employee feeling they fit in was their direct manager so encourage the manager to take them to coffee to have an informal introduction before making a final job offer to make sure you’re on the same page about the role and their career.

 For your current employees:

3. Ask the right questions

Instead of trying to brainstorm why someone may be unhappy in their current position there is a more straight forward approach to take: ask your employees directly. Identifying the problem and taking steps to address it can inhibit retention issues. Hays has an annual global employee survey with a more than 90% participation rate and our HR team actively looks for ways to improve any issues flagged.

 4. Be seen taking action

When you have the results, release an overview of the findings, and offer specific actions you will take to address the main concerns. The Hays HR team ensures they communicate with all employees to let them know that they’ve been heard, and that changes are in the works. It takes time to implement new programs, so being seen to listen and make changes based on suggestions can go a long way towards re-engaging your workforce.

Get more insight from the Hays “Fit” Series 2: Fit and Retention including a practical exercise for assessing workplace satisfaction.

Hays Canada division manager Rachel Finan has more than 14 years of experience working in HR recruitment, She excels in making the right match and brings expert insight into market trends, employer needs, and candidate requirements.

Change what? Change who? Better start by changing yourself!

Why has the word CHANGE become taboo in many organizations?  Beats me. Our entire lives evolve around change. We are born, morph into adolescence and into adulthood. We enter the world of work, change jobs, start families etc.  Every chapter, every journey is almost never like the last – this is change. Why then is this any different from organizational change? Organizations change; they must or they die. Period. Accept this and move on.

The challenge is for us as individuals to be able to adapt quickly to these changes.

In June I started a 30 day “try something new” challenge. Around that time, I was doing a 30 day body transformation challenge (never mind asking how that is going). The main question I got asked was, “why did you decide to do the 30 day try something new challenge?” To be honest, I needed to be more adaptable to change. Many of us say we adapt quickly to change but do we?  If you’re not willing to go outside your comfort zone on an individual level, how then can you be expected to lead others down that path?

Mind you, I did nothing extravagant during the 30 days. The goal was to do something I hadn’t done before. It allowed me to step outside of my comfort zone and change from my everyday routine to do things that: (1) I never really thought of doing and (2)  to do things I avoided doing because I just felt out of my element doing it;  for example yoga. I have avoided yoga like the plague for no reason other than I never thought I was flexible enough. Had I tried it before? No. So how could I have come to this conclusion if I haven’t tried it? This is precisely the roadblock many of us encounter in life and in the workplace – we jump to the conclusion that we cannot or that the change will have negative consequences for us. My advice:

  1. Be adaptable – the more adaptable you are the better able you are to manage change
  2. Keep an open mind – before you say no, ask yourself why are you resisting
  3. Get information – speak to someone (the right person) who can provide more information about the change
  4. Accept it – understand that change is inevitable
  5. Attitude is everything – with a positive attitude you can do anything. Who knows you just might have fun through the process! I know I did.


Lorraine Darcheville has been working as a Human Resources Generalist for the past 3 years with a Software Development company in Mississauga.  Prior to that she worked for 2 years in a Training & Development company.  She holds an MBA in Consulting from Saint Mary’s University in Halifax and is a Certified Human Resources Professional. She is passionate about coaching and is a few months away from becoming a Certified Life Coach. When she is not focused on HR, she can be found speaking at her Toastmasters club in Mississauga.

Career Progression

Career progression top priority – but what can you offer in “flatter” functions?

Canadian workers are increasingly prioritizing career growth and progression, often above salary and benefits. Some functions have a reputation for flatter career progression, especially in siloed functions such as payroll. Ambitious candidates are turning away from roles such as payroll, that have a reputation for slow or limited career growth.

What can HR do to give employees the career growth they crave?

Anne Marie Petersen, Flickr

Anne Marie Petersen, Flickr

The recent 2016 Hays Payroll Salary Guide, created with the Canadian Payroll Association, finds career progression is employers’ number one retention challenge. We see this again in the answers from payroll workers, half of whom (53%) say they want to reach a management position, and 25% say they aim to reach senior management or C-suite.

The nature of the payroll function can make internal progression more difficult. The function is sometimes siloed, and there are fewer senior roles available. This is driving away top candidates, and companies who are able to offer career growth stand out and can attract the best employees.

Here are a few key ways to offer career progression as an attraction and retention tool.

1. Internal job rotations
The Hays What People Want guide finds that when employees talk about career progression they don’t necessarily mean increasing seniority and salary. Most Canadians are prioritizing variety and learning new skills, not just opportunities for promotion.

If you have the capacity, try rotating employees through different financial or HR roles to keep them engaged and learning new things. This will also give you a more effective team, with better overall understanding of the business.

2. Support training and development
Canadian professionals tell us they consider learning new skills as one of their top priorities.

Offering internal training programs, or financially supporting external courses and certification if a key way to show employees you are invested in their success. If you don’t have the resources to fund study, offer other types of support such as paid time off to study, workload adjustments or mentoring and coaching.

3. Develop a succession plan.
A key finding from the Hays 2016 Salary Guide was that succession planning is no longer a nice to have – it is a business necessity. This is true for all functions including HR and payroll. Over the past three years of developing the payroll salary guide, the proportion of employers with a succession plan has remained flat, around 22 per cent. Introducing a succession plan will not only aid you in long-term business planning, but will give employees clear career path opportunities that will keep then engaged in the role for the long-term.

Learn more about how you can attract and retain top payroll professionals. Request the 2016 Hays Payroll Salary Guide.