A Round Table Discussion: How to create the Sticky Organisation

The subject of our latest round-table discussion, in association with Investors in People, is close to the heart of every HR director, and most chief executives: retention. In an age of unprecedented staff mobility, in which talented people will up and leave if they aren't getting what they want, how do you encourage them to stay? Given the relative costs - financial and managerial - of hiring a new person versus developing an existing employee, there is clearly a business case for improved retention.

But what are the components of a 'sticky' organisation, how do you spot people who are thinking of leaving before it's too late, and just how much stickiness do you actually need?

MATTHEW GWYTHER: Our discussion today is about people like Helena Brett, and about how to hang onto them in organisations both large and small. Helena is only 25, but she has already worked at McDonald's, initially on the shop floor and subsequently in one of the regional centres. She has also worked for Phones4U founder John Caudwell in the Midlands and is now at the PDSA (People's Dispensary for Sick Animals).

She is quite typical of the way young people think about work these days, in that she wants to get on - for example, she is doing an Open University degree at the same time as her job. The old days when someone like Helena would have left college, joined an organisation and stayed until the age of 65 are long gone.

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