Top Ten Tips for Improving Employee Retention

Excluding those times when an employee just has to go, losing staff is not good for business. The necessary HR processes, recruitment, induction and training are all a monumental drain on time, resource and money. And that’s saying nothing of the negative impact on customers and colleagues.

By: James Blair on

Though estimates vary, and differ according to industry, sector and size of firm, one study I saw recently placed the cost of replacing an employee at between 6 and 9 months’ salary. That’s a lot of money down the drain for a potentially avoidable expense.

With that in mind, here are our top ten tips for improving staff retention:

1. Improve your internal communications

It’s a simple equation: better employee engagement equals better employee retention. And that engagement starts with communication. You need to keep your people in the know, and you should welcome their thoughts & ideas, and encourage upward feedback.

2. Recognise & reward your people

Employees seek validation and recognition for their efforts. It’s a fact. Research from Hays recently listed recognition after only development and progression, and way before money, as a key motivator for employees. Recognition from management and peers, as well as the opportunity to shout about colleagues’ support and efforts, are vital for keeping a workforce motivated and feeling valued.

3. Set clear objectives

This includes individual goals and targets, and the overall company values. Employees who don’t know these often feel lost and demotivated. Unclear or unspecified values are open to interpretation or often considered as optional or unimportant. Read here about why this is so important.

4. Manage expectations

This is closely linked to the point above and is intrinsically linked to your people’s understanding of roles, responsibilities and goals. As with all open communication and healthy management technique, this should be a two-way street: as well as understanding what is expected of them, employees should understand what they can expect from their employer.

5. Empower your people

When employees have earned your trust, they should be empowered with an appropriate level of autonomy and decision making. They will feel more in control of their job and career, will care more about their role and responsibilities and are less likely to hotfoot it the nearest jobs boards.

6. Offer a fair package

Of course, a fair salary is a fundamental starting point in attracting good people and keeping them. However, we know that Millennials are just as interested in the wider package that affects (or enhances) work/life balance, such as flexible working, remote working, leave entitlement etc.

7. Offer opportunities to grow

LinkedIn’s 2018 Workplace Learning Report quoted that 94% of workers would stay at a company longer if it invested in their career. Once again, it’s those Millennials who are particularly keen on a progression route and developmental opportunities. A promotion may not always be available, but development, training and upskilling should be.

8. Have a tight recruitment & selection process

This needs to be considered and robust. The same goes for the onboarding process.

Good recruitment isn’t easy. But it’s vital. The successful candidate needs to not only match the role’s hard & soft skills requirements, but also the company’s culture.

As for onboarding, I have tales from personal experience to share that are too horrific for this post. Halloween, maybe?

9. Support knowledge sharing

Most people actually like to share their knowledge. It empowers them and fulfils a basic human need. And we established the importance of having opportunities to develop at work in point 7. Match the two via activities such as structured peer-to-peer training, work-shadowing and mentoring.

10. Train your managers

Last but my no means least is this topic.

Introduce me to a person who’s worked for more than 5 years and who claims to have never had a bad manager, and I’ll take him them for lunch on my flying pig. As for my experiences, my Halloween blog just trebled in length.

More often than not, poor management is down to a lack of training for the manager in question. Leave the untrained to lead your people and that revolving door for departing staff and new recruits will be generating quite the breeze!