Traditional approaches to staff retention may no longer be enough

Staff retention issuesWe’re starting to see signs that economy may be inching its way towards recovery. Whilst this is good news for businesses it can also bring challenges, particularly with regards to staff retention. As employees start to feel more confident about the economy they often consider looking elsewhere for fresh opportunities, particularly if they’re dissatisfied with their role, manager or the company culture.

But if senior management are complacent by assuming that employees don’t have good options elsewhere – so they’ll stay put for a few more years yet – then this can spell trouble (not to mention unbudgeted recruitment costs) for the business.


Higher employee turnover

John Hollon, of TLNT, has summarised survey results recently released by OI Partners and says that half of companies are reporting higher turnover this year compared to last, and three-quarters of the companies who responded are bracing themselves for yet more employees to leave.

The statistics paint a worrying picture…

Percentage of companies reporting higher staff turnover this year Percentage of companies concerned about losing employees
Front-line workers  51%  51%
High-potentials  34%  78%
Senior executives  29%  43%
Middle managers  27%  63%


Staff quitRetaining talent ranked as top HR challenge

It’s not surprising given the findings of this survey that 70% of respondents cited retaining talent as the top HR challenge this year. This was closely followed by recruiting the right talent (65%) and providing coaching to develop employees (48%).

So what can you do to retain your employees and avoid a recruitment crisis?


Employee recognition schemes

For businesses, appreciating your employees can mean better productivity and improved quality, but we’re not here to talk about businesses.

Feeling appreciated is a significant motivator for employees and that’s because employees feel more secure and happier in their role when they receive recognition for their work. As a result employee satisfaction levels will rise and more satisfied employees are less likely to leave a company. In addition, recognising employees for their work enables them see how they are contributing to the wider success of the organisation, which is another key element of employee retention.

With the economy in recovery, more and more businesses are implementing employee recognition programmes to help them overcome challenges such as staff retention.



A key factor that motivates employees and encourages them to work and stay with their current employer is the opportunities for career development through training.

Training doesn’t have to mean attending external training courses. It can mean promoting suitable employees, giving more responsibility or even seconding employees to different departments that may prove useful for their career development.

Staff retention can also be significantly improved if individuals are given opportunities to receive training in non-work related interests, such as having lunchtime sessions on learning another language or an activity such as softball.


Employee Benefits

During the recession business around the world cut their employee benefits packages, so now with the green shoots of a recovering economy many of those benefits are being restored.

A strong employee benefits package is a powerful tool when it comes to employee retention. In a 2011 Harvard Business Review, 60% of HR leaders said an attractive employee benefits package is “very important” in recruiting and retaining quality employees. Conversely only 38% said a high base salary was “very important”.

And employee benefits don’t have to take a large chunk from your payroll budget. In addition to no-cost benefits, such as flexible working hours benefits, cashback cards are cost effective to manage and make employee’s salaries go further.


Staff retention is an issue that can no longer be left at the bottom of the to do list. Senior management and HR departments need to look closely at what they are doing to ensure their employees feel appreciated, valued and recognised and make good use of programmes that are designed to attract and retain the best employees.


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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