There is a thriving job market in Thailand with an incredibly low unemployment rate (< 1%). With so many opportunities, employees have few obstacles if they want to start looking for a new job. Companies know this but unfortunately often fail to build a comprehensive staff retention strategy. In fact, it's common to only place emphasis on the Admin side of the HR function.
While an admin view of HR offers business management benefits, it stops employers from looking at HR as a strategic resource.
To ensure a happy and loyal workforce, it's important to concentrate on creative development and retention programs applicable to unique working cultures.
10 Tips to encourage staff retention
1 - Training
Training is a vital part of employee retention for any company in any industry. On a basic and practical level, employees need training to do their jobs properly. However, training enhances and improves on existing skills that employees have learnt with experience. When employees feel they are growing and progressing, they're less likely to leave for another firm.
Training enables employees cross-functional learning opportunities, growing abilities and building a broader commercial understanding.
These types of program can include job rotation, financial and technical training and have been shown to build future leaders from within.
2 - Career development programs
Invest in creating career development programs for employees. It’s a major selling point and a great way to attract (and keep!) top-level talent. This is especially true in Thailand, because the number of companies implementing these programs are few and far between. For example, you could develop a scheme to fast-track employees working internally for promotions. By communicating the advantages these tracks give staff will make staff feel valued and encourage their loyalty.
3 - Regular performance evaluations
Performance evaluations are a routine part of any company’s HR strategy. The key to retaining your employees lies in the way you use these evaluations in the long run. If you simply hand over a document with vague feedback, staff are not given any indications about how they can improve. Communication is key! Allocate time with each employee. Elaborate on their strengths and explain how they can improve on their weaknesses. This way, each employee gains in-depth and valuable advice about how they can improve. This encourages them to grow within the company instead of doing so elsewhere.
4 - Clear company vision and goals
Leadership and vision is a huge part of an employee’s choice to be loyal to a particular organization. Every employee should be fully informed about the direction in which the company is going, and the steps they need to take to get there. If a company is lacking direction, then employees are likely to become de-motivated and unfocussed. Both of these attributes are detrimental to employee retention levels. Make sure each and every person is working together in one direction to achieve success.
5 - Clearly defined KPIs for employees
Achieving collective success within an organization starts with baby steps. Each employee should be given clearly defined KPIs to achieve success in their role. Performance KPIs are an effective motivational tool because staff have a benchmark to measure personal success. As well as driving staff growth, you are ensuring the company moves forward at every opportunity.
6 - Communication
Communication is an incredibly important factor influencing many aspects of our lives. It’s plays a vital role in successful employee retention as well. If your employees are trying to tell you something, listen to them! Failure to address employee’s concerns and issues is a sure-fire way to create a barrier. Opening up clear lines of communication make you more approachable and help employees feel valued and appreciated.
7 - Give praise where it’s due
A great way to improve your employee retention strategy is to introduce reward schemes. Come up with a couple of ideas to give your employees a pat on the back if they’ve done a good job. For instance, if the entire team exceed the targets for the month, take them out for a dinner or do a fun activity together. Introducing entertaining ways to reward employees helps create stronger and long term team relationships.
8 - Work-life balance
As business becomes increasingly fast-paced, maintaining a work-life balance is becoming more difficult. Instead of praising the employee who stays at the office until 8PM, encourage staff to find balance between work and personal life. If employees come into the office feeling refreshed and rested, they are likely to be more motivated and productive with their time. By respecting a healthy work-life balance, you will also increase employee loyalty. It’s a win-win!
9 - Choose wisely
During the recruitment process, never rush to find your employee. Take time to get to know the candidate before you go straight for the hire. Will they fit in with the culture? Have they got the perfect skill-set to excel in the position? Make sure both parties match at stage one before the hiring process is complete. Working with a dedicated executive search firm for key employees is a tactic worth investing in.
HR departments in Thailand typically lack the resources to truly focus on recruitment. With dedicated staff and expertise, success rates are often high with external recruitment partners.
10 - Offer competitive pay packages
It’s always worth pointing out that offering high/competitive pay packages will improve employee retention. When staff feel their efforts are rewarded financially, they are incentivized to stay. However, it is important to carefully evaluate candidates during the hiring process. Make sure they are in it for the role, not the money.
Thailand is a place full of opportunity within the world of business. However, more needs to be done when it comes to improving turnover levels. Invest time and resources in career development, communicate openly and promote work life balance. You'll be surprised at the results you see.