Staff retention. We’ve all experienced the challenge.

Endless hours perfecting the job advert, days that roll into each other as you screen one resume after the next and sit through interviews until you just can’t take it anymore.

But you hang in there, and eventually it happens. You find the perfect candidate. That one you’ve been holding out for.

They come on board your team like a breath of fresh air. They bring with them ability, motivation, perspective, and maybe most importantly, one hell of a positive attitude. Clients love them, your team admires them.

You invest in their training, and they soak up the learning like water on a hot brick. They’ve become perfectly familiar with your business, and you couldn’t be happier.  

… and then, they leave.

You watch regretfully as they take with them important IP, your investment in their recruitment, onboarding and training, and the time you’ve now lost in finding a longer term team member.

You’re familiar with this story? Sadly, so are many business owners around the globe.

So how do you stop this? What can you do to improve staff retention?

The good news is that there are a few simple, but effective actions that will help you tackle the issue of finding, training and retaining great staff. Organisational culture is one of bigger ones, but that’s for another time and post.

Let’s take it one small step at a time, and focus more practically on using systems and team collaboration tools to minimise the impact and challenges of both training and handovers.  


Controlling the Challenges of Handovers and Training


Here at Build Live Give we speak with hundreds of agency owners every year. This makes us well versed in the pain points around staffing, building and retaining a real kick-arse team.

Some of the main complaints that we hear are, finding great staff, keeping great staff (especially gen Y), retaining precious IP within the business when someone leaves, and the lag in getting that new team member appointed and ‘productive’.

What this really boils down to is having the mechanisms in place to capture, filter and access the information needed at each part of the recruitment process. Then there’s having the right setup to ensure that the IP being created, and is stored within the business infrastructure.

This means that even if they go, the internal business knowledge stays.

But now you’re wondering what the best mechanism is to make this happen.  We’d like to share a few of the mechanisms we choose to rely on.


Mechanisms for Minimising Staffing Costs


1. Getting people up to speed

Your first move is to incorporate a software system to facilitate project management and team collaboration.

Training is a huge drain on a business and time. And time is money. And then there’s the opportunity costs of the existing team members who take time away from their own jobs to help train new members.

Without having set procedures in place for new staff training, inconsistencies occur. And then small mistakes, which eventually compound into much larger ones.

You’re getting the snowball idea, right?

Some organisations use a Wiki to manage their SOPs (standard operating procedures). Google Sites is also becoming a favourite with many who are already familiar with Google Apps.

2. Ensuring IP is not lost

Once training has been completed, the larger and more impactful challenge is finding ways to capture and contain IP and knowledge within the business, even if the team member leaves.

Agencies have always suffered from high staff turnover (as is the nature of the industry) and now that ‘Gen Y’ are firmly in the workforce, it’s more and more common for people to ‘bounce around’ organisations, looking for something new.

Again, the answer comes in the form of technology, and having the right platform to store work centrally. Experience and knowledge should be shared through encouraged collaboration.

3. Choosing your system

For smaller agencies ( between 1-5 people) we generally recommend Asana or Trello for collaboration and project management. Both are simple, easy to use systems that allow you to organise ‘projects’ (like an induction program) and manage team tasks.

As an agency grows, we recommend looking to a more advanced platform, such as Podio. This platform gives greater depth of project management and collaboration capabilities. ‘Workspaces’ can be created with training workflows and apps that can be cloned to ensure consistency of approach.

By using a system like Podio as the central ‘hub’ for information, it’s easier to share ideas and work in teams (remote or otherwise). There’s also the added benefit of this platform being an incubator for collective skill development, as greater access to knowledge and experience is achieved.   

So what about you? Are incoming or outgoing team members a constant disruption? Have you found the right mechanism to train quickly and capitalise on the knowledge and experience of recruits, even if they don’t stick around for too long?

If you’d like to get more tips on retaining staff and IP, or maybe just join a community of business owners with similar experiences, then join our Facebook Group.