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People retention is a key issue in the service sector - so what can you do to reduce attrition rates?
In my opinion, it's about winning hearts & minds rather than just using carrots & sticks.
I firmly believe that many organisations fall into the trap of trying to make a boring, tough or stressful job more tolerable through extrinsic motivation. Yes, we know it's not a great job but look at the rewards & benefits package, the team spirit, the social events and the prizes (carrots) you can win! But if you're not very good at it, the carrots turn into sticks. When people leave these organisations, they often talk about missing their colleagues but very rarely their jobs.
So why don't you make it less boring instead?
Instead of just compensating for the nature of the role, you should also look at ways to make the job more interesting and enjoyable - enabling people to derive intrinsic motivation from it.
Creating a role that offers intrinsic motivation is more likely to reduce attrition. It will stop most people looking in the first place and make the others think twice before moving on. If people enjoy their roles, they are less likely to wonder if the grass is greener on the other side. When people do leave, they usually talk about missing their colleagues and loving their jobs. They also tend to retain a sense of pride, loyalty and emotional attachment to the organisation.
So how do you create the right environment for intrinsic motivation?
Alfie Kohn, in his excellent book Punished by Rewards, breaks it down into collaboration, content and choice. I have distilled this further into practical tips and summarised it on one slide.