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A LITTLE BIT ABOUT Sigmar

Sigmar staff

140 Industry Experts

Offices Nationwide

 Offices Nationwide in Dublin, Cork, Galway & Tralee

Awards

45+ Independent Awards for Recruitment Excellence & Workplace Culture

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Most 5 star Google Reviews of any Irish Recruitment Agency

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How to Prepare for an Executive Level Interview

How to Prepare for an Executive Level Interview

Job interviews can be nerve wracking and good advice can be hard to come by when you’re applying for senior management roles. Our recruitment consultant, Louisa Poinboeuf has devised a list of tips for anyone interviewing for an executive level role. Guaranteed Interview Questions A job interview is designed to test you. You're asked questions about yourself and your experience and your response is supposed to show the interviewer how you can handle being put on the spot. However, this isn't always the case, because there are always guaranteed questions that you can expect which you can prepare for in advance. Tell Me About Yourself? This question can strike terror into the heart of even the most experienced person. It is designed to test your ability to handle an unstructured and possibly unexpected line of questioning. Your response will show the interviewer how articulate and self-assured you are. As with all interviews, preparation is key here, ensure that you have a 2-3 minute narrative prepared to demonstrate your strongest professional qualities. Start with your most recent and relevant employment and explain why you are well suited for the role. Practice this narrative. Try to avoid asking in the moment, “what do you want to know?”. Instead, when preparing, think of what the interviewer will be most interested to hear about and match your experience and qualifications to what the job specifications are. How Do You Explain your Job Success? Be honest without sounding arrogant. Use observations that other people have made about your work strengths or talents. Why Do You Want This Job? Be able to demonstrate why you have a genuine interest in applying to this company over any other company. What is it about them and this opportunity that grabbed your attention? What are your ambitions? What do you want from this role? What can you bring to the role? If taking on this role will involve you moving location, be able to demonstrate clearly why this is not an issue for you or your family (if relevant). It will always concern an employer if an applicant chooses to relocate to an area where they don’t have an established network of friends or family, so be prepared to explain your reasons for moving if this is relevant to you. Why Did You Leave Your Last Job? If there is any job hopping on your CV, have a very clear reason why you moved on from each role. It is expected that any strong Senior Executive would stay with a company for a number of years (minimum 3) before moving on. If this hasn’t happened be able to explain why. What Is Your Greatest Weakness? Prepare for this question. Demonstrate that you’re able to admit responsibility and accept criticism. Give an honest answer and be able to show the interviewer that you’ve learnt from experience and are still working on this weakness. What Do You Do Outside Of Work? Regardless of whether you are an intern or a CEO, every employer wants to know what type of personality they may be working with. You can tell them about any hobbies, interests, where you live, volunteering activities, what you like to read and whether you like to travel etc. If you can demonstrate that you live a good quality of life that is well balanced you will come across as a fit, healthy and happy candidate. Do Thorough Research Delve into the organisation’s goals, culture, strengths and weaknesses. You can utilise social media platforms like Glassdoor, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter etc. as well as the company’s official website. Consider conducting an in-depth SWOT analysis of the company. Be aware of recent press releases, news stories, annual reports and competitors (and what the competitors are doing). Research the current team and key stakeholders. Build Rapport Build a rapport with your interviewer and get your personality across. Personality fit with the organisation is key and how you communicate with recruiters and HR throughout a process will demonstrate how well you manage people. Stories And Examples Stories of your success and specific examples are key, these are what interviewers will remember most after an interview and are likely to be what is quoted most to the rest of the recruitment team. Have examples prepared that illustrate your strongest professional qualities e.g. leadership, business development, strategy etc. Tell Me About A Situation Where You Did Not Get Along With A Direct Manager Be honest! Everyone has had disagreements with a boss and saying otherwise would look suspicious. Be able to explain what your opinion was at the time and that you were also able to take a step back and consider the other person’s opinion. Tell Me About A Time You Failed Again, be honest! If you can’t give an example of this the interviewer might determine that you don’t have a high volume of experience. How did you recover from the failure? What was your decision-making process? What did you learn from this? What would you do differently now? Demonstrate that you’ve been able to turn this negative experience into a positive learning outcome. Ask questions The type of questions you ask will make you stand out from other applicants, do your homework and have interesting questions prepared e.g. ask why the previous employee moved on from this role. Just like any level interview, it's important to be yourself. Try to stay calm in the interview and be honest about your experience. At the end of the day, you know the answers to the questions because you'll be talking about yourself and once you know a bit about the company you should get on well. Good luck and if you have any questions, be sure to talk to your recruitment consultant.

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Why Job Seekers Should Use Recruiters

Why Job Seekers Should Use Recruiters

In this modern era of hyper-connectivity, with smart devices that are so smart you can be contacted through your wrist watch, is there value in using a third party to help you find a job or are you better off going it alone? Well, with the global market seemingly more turbulent than ever and every company sending out similar soundbites on why they are the best, it’s increasingly hard to know what path to choose as a jobseeker. Jobseekers have never had it better with companies creating novel ways to attract new talent. Whether it’s a mini-golf course on the roof, an onsite masseuse, gym membership or yoga classes, it shows companies are aware of employee turnover and that the job itself isn’t enough to attract and retain talent anymore. However, on the other side of things, a job for life is clearly a thing of the past for most of the labour market, unless you’re a health professional or a teacher. This means more diversity in a person’s career, certainly among millennials, under 25’s and graduates in particular. This also means more disruption in previously stable careers and the need to diversify people’s skills and keep an eye on the market. It’s a dynamic environment in recruitment with marketing and internal recruiters partnering to attract the best staff, so why use a recruiter? Industry Knowledge Most recruiters specialise in one niche of the market and as a result become market experts within their sector and can give you a complete roadmap to the lay of the land. Going it solo will mean that you will have to do your own research about each company you are applying for who will each have their own unique requirements. Your recruiter, however, will be able to provide you with a company background, describe the team structure, the key aspects of the role and what exact experience the hiring manager is looking for. A recruiter will help you decide whether the position is for you and keep you updated as things develop in the market you’re in. Recruitment agencies provide a completely cost-free service to jobseekers. They only charge the companies hiring, so why not have unlimited access to the inner workings of the company you’re applying to and assistance for free? Direct Line To The People In Power Recruiters have a direct line to HR directors and hiring managers. Why not make the most of this? With a direct line to the people in power, you get the inside information on what makes a company, a department or even a specific job so exciting. If you have high goals of progression or want to work on a set type of projects, you won’t find this information through a job advert and may not realise if you have made a mistake until you’re in the job. Another aspect a recruiter can help with is when it comes to negotiating salary, the recruiter will know exactly what can be negotiated and keep things on track. You can focus on performing in the interview and the recruiter can handle all the awkward/difficult conversations. Your Own Personal Advocate Who doesn’t want someone singing their praises? With a recruiter you have your own personal cheerleader getting face time with people in power and telling them in no uncertain terms that you were made for this job and could do it blindfolded like Sandra Bullock in Birdbox. In all seriousness, a recruiter is trained find out your best qualities in relation to the job and make sure you don’t get missed by the hiring company. They can also help with CV re-design and know the best ways to catch the eye of the employer. Also, as mentioned, people are jumping jobs a lot more now which has previously been a serious red flag for employers. However, your recruiter can help explain your motivations and elaborate on your CV in minute detail to get over the initial hurdle of pre-screening. Practice Makes Perfect Interviews are a minefield. Say the wrong thing or react the wrong way and you will be stuck in no man’s land with no way back. Nike have a motto “Think training’s hard? Try losing”. Every day a recruiter prepares people for interviews, so let the experts show you how to ace every interview. They have the practice that can make you perfect! They will already have given you the background to the job, the hiring managers and the company, so the next logical piece of the puzzle is on the interview process. Recruiters will have reams of documentation but will always tailor the preparation for interviews to each person to maximise the value. The difference between you and the next person competing for the job is usually a small margin. That could mean that advice from a recruiter, who has placed plenty of candidates in jobs, could be the reason you succeed in getting the role. The future is bright for job seekers with more opportunities than ever. Partner with a recruiter who knows the industry, the companies hiring and who can help make the jobs market easier to navigate.

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5 Ways to Handle Constructive Criticism at Work

5 Ways to Handle Constructive Criticism at Work

While many like to believe we are great at our jobs, the truth is no one is perfect. In order to grow and improve we all need (and should welcome) constructive criticism. If you find yourself in a situation where your work is being critiqued, here is some advice on how you should approach the situation. 1. Don’t React Firstly, when receiving constructive criticism, do not react! This might be difficult because you may have spent a lot of time on a particular piece of work and felt quite proud of it, so the last thing you expected was to be told it’s not good enough. Sit back and collect the information you are being given and allow yourself the time to react appropriately. It’s crucial to let your boss give you their feedback. 2. Remember the Importance of Feedback Constructive criticism should never be taken personally. Feedback is so important for your learning and development. The person giving you the feedback is not out to get you, they are simply explaining how you can do better. 3 Ask Questions This is probably the most important thing for you personally. You need to ask as many questions as you need to fully understand where you have gone wrong and how you can do better going forward. This is the best way to avoid making the same mistake again. Learning how you can improve your work is the whole point of being given the constructive criticism. 4 Say Thank You You should always thank your boss for giving you feedback that you can learn from. It also lets your boss know that you’re open minded and willing to learn. Being grateful will encourage your boss to give you more feedback which will help you progress in your role. 5 Follow Up You may have agreed and accepted a solution during this conversation with your boss, but if it was a larger issue, you may wish to request a follow up meeting. This will give you time to process the feedback, get some advice from others and think about solutions for going forward. Constructive criticism can be the best way to learn our weaknesses in the workplace. Even though you may feel a little disheartened, try to remember the benefits this feedback will have for your role.

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3 Useful Ways to Organise Yourself & Get Things Done

3 Useful Ways to Organise Yourself & Get Things Done

Being organised is a very important skill and it’s one that anyone can learn. If you feel like you are overwhelmed in work, then you need to start being organised. Here are 3 useful ways you can start today. Start Your Day Right In work it can often happened that you are overrun with many different tasks and it can be difficult to know how to structure your day productively. Come in 15-30 minutes before you start work to organise yourself. Make sure your desk is tidy and you lay out all the tasks you need in a notebook or using an online tool such as Google Tasks or Google Calendar. Write a list of what you need to do today and a list of the deadlines you have for the week. Taking these 15 minutes to do this in the morning will make your day more productive and help you to get more done throughout the day. Prioritise Once you know what you want or need from your work day, the next step is to learn what tasks in your day are the most important. One of the key elements to being organised is being able to prioritise the important stuff and know what needs your time. A handy way to decide this is using the below table. For every task you need to complete, you should evaluate each one by placing it in the below table. You should never have more than two priorities that fall in the box of ‘urgent and important’. The rest fall under the other categories of ‘important and not urgent’, ‘urgent but not important’ and ‘not urgent and not important’. Always structure your time around the urgent and important things. Get inspired with this short film of a professor explaining to his class the importance of prioritising and using one's time wisely. Ask For Help Most days you will handle your workload just fine on your own but every now and again when you see your to-do list is particularly long sometimes the best (and only) way to get things done is to ask your boss or a colleague for help. If you have too many urgent and important items on your to-do list, you should go to your boss to look at delegating some of your workload or adjust deadlines. Missing a deadline is much worse than letting someone know in advance that you won’t be able to get something done.

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7 Ways to Increase Engagement in Your Company

7 Ways to Increase Engagement in Your Company

Changing the way that employees understand and interact with culture can significantly increase engagement in the workplace. We’ve listed 7 ways to increase engagement among employees through cultural realignment: 1. Talk About Culture Management need to communicate the culture of the company to all stakeholders in order for everyone else to understand what the company believes in. Buy-in from management is essential. 2. Energise Existing Jobs Offer job rotation, job sharing and combine tasks so that staff are not doing the same thing every day. Introducing a new task which will improve abilities or push employees to learn new skills will motivate staff to improve in their role. Forming self-directed teams can help employees feel like they are in control of their jobs and have a say in the company. 3. Hire for Fit When hiring for new staff it is important that companies don’t just hire people with the right skills, without judging if they will fit in with the company culture. An introverted project manager can be detrimental to an IT project so knowing your culture and the culture of the job role you are advertising is paramount. If outsourcing the hiring process to a recruitment company, it is important that the company understands the culture that you are portraying. In a climate where new recruits are hard to keep and are constantly changing jobs for a better company fit, knowing both the culture of the company and the role can save a company time and money 4. Leverage Manager/Employee Relationship Employee satisfaction relies quite closely on the affiliation they have with their manager. Frequent praise and recognition will empower employees to keep up the good work but if managers are too busy to take notice of their team or to spend time talking with them this bond will turn stale, leading to eroded trust and confidence on both sides of the relationship. Taking the time to schedule meetings with team members and keeping note of the work that your team is doing will leverage this relationship allowing a confiding and open connection. 5. Upward Mentoring Mentoring does not always have to be downward. For employees that have been in the company for a longer period of time and understand the inner working of the company they can provide valuable insight that managers may not have thought of before. Fresh eyes can alert companies to newer technologies and more efficient ways of doing jobs so do not discount something until you have tried it 6. Job Referral Bounties Offering rewards for employees finding and placing workers in your company that suit your culture can prove a successful recruitment strategy. Presenting long-term bounties are even better as employees are motivated to help others progress through impromptu coaching and team working. 7. Measure Improvements Send out surveys every two to three months to measure key performance indicators to see if the culture is changing for the better and if people are becoming more engaged. Measuring the profit and productivity levels in the company overtime can also highlight how successful the project is. Conducting six monthly reviews where employee satisfaction rates are measured and bench-marked can show if some employees are lacking culture fit. Having a programme in place to help these employees find their feet can further increase engagement in the company as you are showing staff that you value them.

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10 Ways To Reduce Workplace Stress

10 Ways To Reduce Workplace Stress

We’ve all got responsibilities such as working and building a career, running a household and/or raising children which can all be very overwhelming and lead to lots of stress. Here are 10 things you can do to start feeling better and minimising stress: 1. Identify causes of stress What triggers your stressful feelings? Are they related to your workplace, children and family, friendships, finances or something else? Once you’ve identified the trigger, you can get down to the root of your stress and find the best ways to handle it. 2. Recognize how you deal with stress Are you using unhealthy behaviours to cope with work or life stress? For example are you using sleep deprivation, smoking, consumption of alcohol or junk food as a means of coping? 3. Get a good night’s sleep A lack of sleep can result in an increase in stress as a person will not be able to stay focused at work. Sleep deprivation also impairs our decision making ability as we are unable to think clearly. Getting 8 hours sleep a night will help improve a person’s health as you will be able to stay alert throughout the day. 4. Eat a balanced diet Hectic work schedules leave us short on time to prepare healthy meals for ourselves and people then have a tendency to grab fast foods. However eating a balanced nutritional diet will help you stay healthy and keep your brain alert. Deficiency in food nutrients such as lack of vitamin B in the body can result in depression and irritability. Also when a person is under stress, vitamins C and E may be lost. 5. Exercise When you exercise, your brain produces “feel good” transmitters called endorphins. Producing these endorphins will help you deal with stress healthily as people who exercise regularly have more energy. 6. Stay organized It is an overwhelming feeling to think that there are not enough hours in the day. Therefore it is imperative that you manage your time. Come up with a daily plan and keep a diary to keep yourself on track. 7. Do not procrastinate Work piles up when you keep on delaying tasks. There is no use putting off for tomorrow what can be done today. 8. Don’t take on more than you can handle at work Avoid creating your own stress by over-scheduling and failing to say no when too much is asked. Don’t overpromise, and give yourself time to finish the things you do agree to tackle. Don’t be afraid to ask for help/delegate if you can’t meet all the demands placed on you. 9. Ask for support Accepting a hand from supportive friends and family can help you persevere during stressful times. If you continue to feel overwhelmed by stress, you may want to talk to a psychologist who can help you manage stress. 10. Finally, treat yourself When you accomplish a personal goal or finish a project, do something nice for yourself. Go out for a round of golf with friends or take a weekend break with your family. Treating yourself between tasks can help take the edge off and prepare you for the next challenge.

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Make Performance Management Part Of The Daily Conversation

Make Performance Management Part Of The Daily Conversation

More and more we are seeing a shift away the annual appraisal system. It can be a costly and timely exercise. Where they are done due to process, employees can end up feeling dissatisfied rather than more engaged. Performance management is increasingly deemed to be an ongoing process and not an annual event. An employee can easily go on the defensive when something is brought up at their annual review that was never mentioned to them before. Likewise the employee could highlight issues to the manager, which if given the opportunity could have been discussed and resolved months earlier. Performance management can only truly be effective when it becomes part of an organisation’s and its employee’s daily actions. The new method of performance management is to foster an ongoing culture of informal and spontaneous performance reviews through ongoing feedback, coaching, support and guidance. This can be done in conjunction with a more formal process which will avoid any bombshells dropped by either party at an annual review. It is now rather a continuation of an already ongoing conversation. Pre-requisites of ongoing performance management: Establish clear goals. This should happen at induction and be repeated on an ongoing basis. Coach along the way, identify weaknesses and areas for development, recognise success and encourage conversation. Golden rules of giving feedback: Constructive feedback is always more effective the closer it is to the event. The risk of waiting for a formal review is the possibility of the employee resenting that they were not told earlier and given the opportunity to improve. They could also continue with the ‘wrong behaviour’ in blissful ignorance. Equally positive feedback can reinforce the right behaviour and really motivate staff. Give specific feedback, don’t be vague. Explain the consequences both positive and negative, of doing the job correctly or incorrectly. Is this the right setting, do you risk embarrassing the employee if it is in front of others? Would a private setting be better? The employee needs to know that feedback is provided to develop them, not to punish them. Are they listening? Do they know what is expected of them going forward? Why not check by asking them to tell you what they will do from here on going forward and see if their answer is in line with what you had in mind. If it differs do you need to adapt? Collaboration – Listen Listen Listen! Why does the employee feel there has been poor performance? What suggestions do they have for improvement? Benefits of effective performance management to an organisation include: Hold on to your top talent! Employees including your highest performers are less likely to leave. Employees are incentivised to perform at a high level. Empowered Employees! A culture of employee accountability is fostered. As the employee becomes more independent, learns more skills and takes on greater responsibility the management job becomes easier. Identify problem areas quicker. Poor performance can be identified and improved. Your customer will have a better experience. Employees will be more motivated when they have been coached and received feedback. No matter what terms are used to describe it: coaching, feedback, goal setting, measuring performance, development etc., the common trend is that companies are striving to make performance management ingrained in the daily culture of the organisation and the actions of its employees and management. This may or may not be coupled with a formal annual appraisal system, with or without a ratings system. Either way increased two-way ongoing communication should lead to a more open and honest relationship between a manager and their employee, a workforce that are motivated and understand their role within the larger organisation as well as a more productive and effective performance by the individual, the team and the company. More and more we are seeing a shift away the annual appraisal system. It can be a costly and timely exercise. Where they are done due to process, employees can end up feeling dissatisfied rather than more engaged. Performance management is increasingly deemed to be an ongoing process and not an annual event. An employee can easily go on the defensive when something is brought up at their annual review that was never mentioned to them before. Likewise the employee could highlight issues to the manager, which if given the opportunity could have been discussed and resolved months earlier. Performance management can only truly be effective when it becomes part of an organisation’s and its employee’s daily actions. The new method of performance management is to foster an ongoing culture of informal and spontaneous performance reviews through ongoing feedback, coaching, support and guidance. This can be done in conjunction with a more formal process which will avoid any bombshells dropped by either party at an annual review. It is now rather a continuation of an already ongoing conversation. Pre-requisites of ongoing performance management: Establish clear goals. This should happen at induction and be repeated on an ongoing basis. Coach along the way, identify weaknesses and areas for development, recognise success and encourage conversation. Golden rules of giving feedback: Constructive feedback is always more effective the closer it is to the event. The risk of waiting for a formal review is the possibility of the employee resenting that they were not told earlier and given the opportunity to improve. They could also continue with the ‘wrong behaviour’ in blissful ignorance. Equally positive feedback can reinforce the right behaviour and really motivate staff. Give specific feedback, don’t be vague. Explain the consequences both positive and negative, of doing the job correctly or incorrectly. Is this the right setting, do you risk embarrassing the employee if it is in front of others? Would a private setting be better? The employee needs to know that feedback is provided to develop them, not to punish them. Are they listening? Do they know what is expected of them going forward? Why not check by asking them to tell you what they will do from here on going forward and see if their answer is in line with what you had in mind. If it differs do you need to adapt? Collaboration – Listen Listen Listen! Why does the employee feel there has been poor performance? What suggestions do they have for improvement? Benefits of effective performance management to an organisation include: Hold on to your top talent! Employees including your highest performers are less likely to leave. Employees are incentivised to perform at a high level. Empowered Employees! A culture of employee accountability is fostered. As the employee becomes more independent, learns more skills and takes on greater responsibility the management job becomes easier. Identify problem areas quicker. Poor performance can be identified and improved. Your customer will have a better experience. Employees will be more motivated when they have been coached and received feedback. No matter what terms are used to describe it: coaching, feedback, goal setting, measuring performance, development etc., the common trend is that companies are striving to make performance management ingrained in the daily culture of the organisation and the actions of its employees and management. This may or may not be coupled with a formal annual appraisal system, with or without a ratings system. Either way increased two-way ongoing communication should lead to a more open and honest relationship between a manager and their employee, a workforce that are motivated and understand their role within the larger organisation as well as a more productive and effective performance by the individual, the team and the company.

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Why Good Employees Quit Their Jobs

Why Good Employees Quit Their Jobs

It’s the dreaded words that no manager wants to hear from a good employee, “I quit”. All employers want to keep their talented staff for as long as possible. Not only is the turnover of staff expensive it is also difficult to find good replacements, along with the uncertainty of how they will work out. Sometimes there are reasons that an employee may leave, that you unfortunately can’t prevent such as personal reasons, or they have been offered an opportunity that was too good to let pass by. However, often there are other reasons that are preventable, below are some of the most common reasons. No Opportunities For Promotion Every employee wants the chance to better themselves and get ahead in the company they are working in. However, employers can often just focus on getting the work done and ensuring targets are met. If a member of staff feels that they are not going anywhere in the company, they will look elsewhere for better opportunities. Therefore it is important for managers to take the time to talk to their staff with regards to their career progression and where they would like to see themselves going in the company. They Are Overworked It can be easy for managers to overwork their best employees, however this can be counterproductive. It can make employees feel like they are being punished or that they are being loaded with too many responsibilities without getting the pay or title to go along with it. They Don’t Like Their Boss It is not necessary for employees and their manager to be friends, but it is important that there is a relationship there. The boss is too much a part of an employee’s daily life at work to have an awkward or uncomfortable relationship. Having a bad relationship with a manager can discourage staff members from doing a good job. Commitments Aren’t Honoured Managers can often promise their employees the sun, moon and stars, however they don’t always follow through on their promises. This can be extremely frustrating for employees when they have put in the work and effort but are not rewarded with the promotion or raise that they were promised. Making empty promises to good employees can often result in them finding work elsewhere. They Are Bored No one wants to be unchallenged or bored with the work that they do. Employees that perform well, need to be challenged in their work and given the chance to develop their skills. By giving employees more meaningful work, they use more of their skills and can often find better ways to get things done. If staff do not get to engage creatively, they are more likely to become restless in the job and begin looking for a more stimulating job elsewhere. The important thing to remember when trying to retain top staff, is communication. Think about how you treat your staff and if you would be happy in their position. Often factors for employees leaving are preventable, therefore it is important to be actively developing staff members as much as possible. Good employees have the talent that gives them plenty of other options, so make sure they want to stay working for you.