Retaining your superstar staff members

As an NDIS provider your staff members are the key elements of your business. When they are working day in and day out with participants, it’s essential that they are doing the best they possibly can. Once you’ve done the hard work of recruiting and onboarding your superstar staff members, the next step is to retain them within your business.

Why you need to retain your staff

You already know that recruiting and onboarding staff can be a time-consuming and costly exercise, so when you have to repeat that process to replace a staff member you lose more money, time and productivity.

According to Kristy-Lee Billet of The Footprint Group, the cost of a staff member leaving can be:

30% of the salary for lower level staff, and
1.5 times the salary for higher level staff

It’s not just the recruitment costs or the time spent onboarding a new employee. You also have to consider that it will take a new employee up to 12 months or even longer to be fully productive and adjusted to their role.

When a business has a high turnover, this can also lead to decreased morale in other staff members — they can be forced to ‘pick up the slack’ and they may question if it’s time for them to move on as well.

So, if you have a great staff member who is doing well in their job, it can really be worthwhile putting in some effort to keep them in your employment.

The key ways to retain your staff

– Start before they begin

By putting in the effort while you’re recruiting you can save money, time and a lot of tears later on. Consider the role and the type of person who would fill it: what sort of skills would they need, what are the values that would align with the business and who would be a good fit with other staff members or current participants?

By understanding the role and what it requires, you can hopefully hire the right person and prevent having to part ways.

– Holding onto greatness

Once you’ve employed your superstar employee you are going to want to hold on them. Here are some ways to help to keep them performing.

Onboarding. A good onboarding program will help start a new employee on the right foot. It will introduce them to your work culture and get them up to the task in the fastest possible time. A good first impression is vital, as it will impact how someone feels about their role the whole way through.

Regular reviews and catch ups. You should have a formal review at regular intervals, whether it be every six or 12 months. This is the time to identify and address any issues. As well a larger formal review, having a regular catch-up or check-in is also important. Keeping communication lines open so you can see if an employee needs a new challenge or may be struggling with something, can help catch and rectify a problem early.

Create a challenge. People loved to be challenged, so make sure you allocate some higher duties or ask them to come up with some ideas for problems you may be encountering. It pushes staff to strive and gives them a sense of worth. Make sure you know what sort of things will motivate your staff members before handing out more work though.

Provide training and opportunities. By helping your staff to develop their careers, they will feel recognised and grateful for the opportunities. Talk to them about where they see their work life going and help them to achieve that.

Give staff ownership and autonomy. By giving your staff the opportunity to carve out their role and have ownership of their tasks, they will get a great sense of satisfaction.

– Reward and recognition

Everyone likes to receive recognition for effort and a job well done, and there are so many ways you can show this. Asking your staff during check-ins is a good way to understand how they like to be recognised.

Salary. The first and most obvious way to reward your staff is through their salary, make sure you’re paying them the market rate. Rewarding staff with salary increases when they’ve performed well is also a good recognition that is always appreciated.

Gifts, bonuses and awards. There may be certain times when you want to recognise a staff member’s outstanding performance. You may do in reaction to something they’ve done or it could be a monthly award. Whether it’s a gift, a financial bonus or simply a certificate, staff always like to feel they’re contributing to the success of the business.

Thank you. It’s such a simple and easy gesture, but it is also very powerful. Remembering to say thank you for the work a staff member does or the effort they put in is essential. It doesn’t take much, but it makes them feel appreciated and part of the team.

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