How to retain employees long term

I QuitAccording to a recent report, ‘one in three workers remain in a job for less than two years, revealing that the so-called job for life has all but disappeared. Employers now face a broad diversity of employees in the workplace, and are struggling to manage the complexities of their staff, and the issues that can arise as a result. Changing trends, like job hopping, can cause human resource headaches, as well as operational inefficiencies caused by high turnover rates.

Job hopping is a trend seen among the younger generation of workers, who consider changing their jobs every 2-3 years to be the norm. These Millennials, (employees born between 1977-1997), have indicated in a recent survey that they only expect to stay in a job for less than three years. This could, however, have a big impact on their future careers, as employers may be wary of CVs which seemingly show job instability, as well as a lack of commitment and engagement.

The latest statistics from the Bureau of Labour and Statistics indicate that ‘the average employee stays with a company for 4.4 years’ which, while longer than the job hopping Millennials, will still be a cause for concern for employers.


Why are long-term employees so valuable?

There are many benefits to organisations for retaining staff long-term, and here are just a few of them:


  • Reduced costs – it is a well-known fact that recruiting new staff is both costly and time consuming.
  • Reduced HR costs, and will also mean there is more time and budget available to invest in internal training and development.
  • Increased efficiency – long-term staff will know the business, the marketplace and the organisation’s procedures, so employers can focus on growing the business, as opposed to training new recruits and getting them up to speed. In addition, long-term staff may be able to advise on areas of improvement for the business, making it even more efficient.
  • Consistency and continuity – for customer-facing organisations, having a continuity of service levels and staff is an invaluable asset. Good employees build up relationships with their customers, which reflects positively on the organisation as a whole. So, by retaining employees, organisations will achieve a high and consistent level of customer service.
  • Company success – employees who have worked for an organisation for a longer period of time will know and understand the objectives and goals of the business. They are more likely to feel that they have personally contributed to the growth and success of that organisation, so are more likely to remain loyal, and will also be more engaged in their role.
  • Morale – having a workforce which is constantly in flux can be very damaging for the morale of an organisation. It is vital that employers ensure their staff are happy, and have the appropriate tools and support to successfully do their job. Having a happy, motivated and engaged workforce is the best way of ensuring you retain your staff.


Super EmployeeHow can organisations retain their staff on a long-term basis?

How can employers develop a loyal workforce, where employees consider their place of work as stable and permanent? Well there are a number of things that employers can do, and their retention strategies may involve a combination of the following:



Budgets may not always allow, but it is important that employers offer a competitive salary. Many employees are motivated by money and, if they can earn more elsewhere, organisations may start losing their best employees to the competitors.

Research suggests that 24 per cent of large organisations, and 25 per cent of small and medium-sized enterprises, offer bonuses or additional pay to staff in order to retain them.



Boredom can play a significant part in employees looking for other exciting prospects with alternative organisations. There are always mundane and repetitive aspects to any job, so it is important to ensure that employees are involved in new projects, offering a varied and challenging workload, and enabling them to gain new skills.


Career progression

Employees want to feel that they are continuing to develop within a role, and that there are options for internal advancement. Once they feel this isn’t the case, they may seek opportunities for promotion and progression elsewhere.

Some 42 per cent of employees surveyed by Robert Half said having a clear career path and opportunities for promotion are the most important factors in job satisfaction.



Every employee want to feel appreciated for doing a good job, so it is important employers acknowledge and recognise the achievements of their staff. Publicly recognising and rewarding staff highlights their value to the organisation, and can be a huge motivator.


John Sylvester

John is responsible for the motivation division of p&mm ltd and a Director on the board of the IPM. Specialising in developing, implementing and directing many large scale staff motivation, recognition and employee communications programmes.
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