Retaining Key Talent When You Have an Internal Salary Freeze

6 November 2020
5 minute
Retaining Key Talent When You Have an Internal Salary Freeze

Being able to keep hold of your best staff has always been a strategic and best practice advantage for any business. After all, as the saying goes - you’re only as good as the sum of all your parts.

But when it comes to these unprecedented times and pay freezes are essential for business survival, employee retention strategies become essential for all the stakeholders in the business. Today we are going to look at what some of these strategies are and how you can implement them in your business.

From wider economic factors which can’t be controlled to business matters which can affect cash flow or potential growth, businesses making the decision to put a freeze on wages can have all sorts of consequences.

As was seen with the recent global Covid-19 pandemic, businesses faced and continue to face uncertainty. This kind of uncertainty will lead to tough management decisions. Whilst some employees may end up losing their jobs, others may face wage freezes as a way to ensure that the business can still operate but without overstretching their wage requirements.

For many, that decision may be suitable for a period of time but for the high performers, this can cause grievances and wider issues. For example, other businesses including competitors may be on an aggressive recruitment process and so those on a freeze who could add value elsewhere are easier to attract.

Being able to implement something other than pay freezes at this time may be equally as strategic to ensuring the long term future of the business as well. For example, removing bonuses, giving more time off (unpaid) or having to make some business cuts in other areas can help ensure that salaries don’t get totally frozen for key staff.

Employee retention strategies for Covid-19

Being able to improve employee retention strategies during the global pandemic was always going to be key for businesses that require key members of their team to operate. In particular, if you’re having to consider pay freezes seriously then there are other things that you can do to ensure that your team is being looked after.

These employment retention strategies focus on one major aspect; feeling valued.

In fact, when you go over studies conducted in the mid 1950s, you can see that motivational factors such as a sense of achievement, recognition and opportunities for growth and development played a greater role in providing employee satisfaction than extrinsic rewards such as a higher salary.

  • Have informal chats about the good work that your team are doing.
  • Produce personalised training plans to achieve more within their professional and personal growth.
  • Take them out for lunch or, if your budget can’t cover it, have after work drinks in the office.
  • Give constant feedback and praise for the work that has been carried out and praise this work publicly as well.

When it comes to training and performance reviews/plans, be sure to clearly communicate what it is you’re looking for and what will be reviewed in the quarters. This allows plenty of time for the key talent in the business to get mentorship and seek advice so that the process is more natural and motivational for all the parties involved.

Provide a comfortable work environment and culture

One of the strategic techniques of keeping key talent within your business is to also welcome different methods of praise and recognition within the organisational culture. What is key is that you understand what it is that helps motivate your key team members - and that isn’t money related - and putting those ideas back to them.

For example, it could be about giving employees more time to work remotely. This would ease stress of the commute or even allow them to spend more time with their family.

But that’s not all. Being able to provide a work environment and culture that allows ideas to flow freely and move up and down the hierarchy can make key staff feel valued. Being able to express where things are working and in some cases, could be working better allows key stakeholders to feel that the role they have and where they work values their opinions greatly.

Being able to shift culture into a positive area for all stakeholders is of course an advantage for everyone but for key talent, that sense of belonging can play a crucial role over time allowing them to show what other areas they can move into and lead when necessary, promoting professional growth and development.

In summary

To conclude, businesses who find themselves in a situation where they need to implement pay freezes have options available to them. They could remove bonuses, offer more unpaid leave or make other cost saving measures to keep pay increases as part of their culture.

Where this isn't available, it's important to have a plan to keep key talent in the business working to different parameters shifting the focus on motivation and value within the organisation. Studies have shown that employee retention can be as simple as basic acknowledgments whilst more professional development may be required to keep other people motivated to stay in the business.

Be sure to provide a good working environment and culture when making these changes, and shift the focus of the business to an employee-orientated environment, especially when you want to retain your key talent.

Retain key talent with Thomas

Many organisations barely scratch the surface when it comes to understanding and harnessing employee engagement.

Understanding engagement trends in your organisation allows you to focus your efforts in the right places, and by increasing engagement you can directly boost the productivity levels across your organisation.

At Thomas we offer a range of assessments offering in depth and comparable people insights based on employee behaviour, aptitude and personality. Our Engage survey is the perfect gauge of staff morale and can help you identify the reasons for your retention issues and then work towards resolving them based on our insights.

To learn more about how we can help your business with your staff retention issues, please speak to one of our team.

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