Employee Retention – What You Need to Know

We’re hearing a lot these days about ‘The Great Resignation’. The mass exodus of employees in search of ‘more’. In this post, we’re looking at ways that your company can counteract this trend to help set you and your employees up for long-term success.


What is Employee Retention?

As the title suggests – it’s the retention of employees or simply the act of keeping employees working at a company. This is the prevention of employee turnover or the number of staff who leave the company in a given time-frame.


Why should employee retention matter to you?

If employee turnover rates are high in your business, then you’re going to have a tough time building a strong sense of teamwork within your organization – as new people come and go so frequently.

In addition, there’s also an investment that goes into training new employees as well as rolling out benefits programs, which could be wasted if that employee leaves shortly after recruitment. In essence, there are financial and organisational/cultural effects to high employee turnover.


Why now?

The pandemic has transformed how we work. And with that our expectations.  For many, remote working was once considered an impracticality. Now it’s an expectation.

A 4-day working week seemed far-fetched not long ago. But now it’s being seriously considered in many countries.

The net result of all this is – employees want more.  Whether that’s job satisfaction, increased salaries, or better work-life balance.

And ultimately businesses and (governments) are paying attention. Why? Because without employees – without happy and productive employees  – businesses and economies struggle.

The pandemic has been tough going with many people feeling burnt out. But it has shone a new light on what people want out of a career and life. It has created an upheaval in resignations. But equally, it has created opportunities for companies to adapt and reinvent themselves.  Therefore, this can be your chance to turn the great resignation into the great retention.


Employee turnover is expensive

As outlined, there are implications to employee turnover. It costs money to continually recruit, interview, and train new employees – not to mention the loss of productivity when you have a new employee starting at your business. This simply makes employee retention all the more important. Plus, when you lose an employee – it’s not just the domain level knowledge and expertise they had that goes with them… but also the networking and professional relationships they developed too.

So, we know the costs of the great resignation and why employee retention is important. So how do we change this? First, we must acknowledge what’s important to your employees.


What’s Important to Employees

The following graph from Statista shows the factors that are most at play when it comes to US employee’s job satisfaction.  Interestingly money (wages) was not among the leading factors. (Note that this was pre covid in 2019; so, it’s a reasonable assumption that things like a commute have only become more important).

Statista - What employees want

In his book ‘So good they can’t ignore you’ – Cal Newport breaks down satisfaction and thus passion at work to three fundamental areas:

  1. Autonomy – some sense of control over your time
  2. Competence – the feeling that you’re good at your work
  3. Relatedness – connecting with other people in the process


Creating this culture is integral to developing an employee’s intrinsic motivation to want to work well. So how do you do it? Let’s explore 4 ways to increase employee retention (and satisfaction).


How to Increase Employee Retention?

1) Emphasize employee retention in your organization – Communicate

If you want employee retention within your company or department, create this environment through open communication. It’s necessary for management to pay attention to employee satisfaction and stress levels — try asking them how things are going once every month or so. By checking in on your staff regularly – you can nip any potential issues in the bud. Don’t leave things up to innuendo or hopeful interpretation. Be clear in your communication and in understanding what their goals, hopes and aspirations are professionally. You understand them. They feel understood. Everyone is on the same page. So be clear and transparent in your comms.

“The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place”.  George Bernard Shaw.


2) Praise employee performance

Employees that are doing well need to be recognised for their efforts, which in turn will improve employee retention. Don’t forget about employee development either — if an employee is enjoying what they are currently doing but would like to try something new, why not let them do it?

You can even consider course reimbursements or sending them to seminars on different topics they may be interested in. Upskilling is important for an employee’s continued performance and ultimate business function. Again, understand and reverse engineer their ‘why’.


3) Give employee options

If you have a high turnover rate and want to improve this statistic, it’s important to make sure employees feel like they have choices and other opportunities within your organisation (beyond simply quitting). For example, this might mean the freedom to work fully remotely. Or if not practical; Perhaps a hybrid approach? Can there be flexibility in the working hours? Does all communication have to be synchronous? Again, understanding that autonomy and thus flexibility are integral to modern workers will allow you to give greater options.


4) Provide employee assistance

When employees are stressed, give them the ability to take care of personal matters during work hours. This perk alone may encourage employee retention since they know that there is someone else willing to help them out when they need it. If you’re an employer, then think about how high your employee turnover rate is and if employee satisfaction might be the reason why. Thinking about these things now can save you a lot of time and money down the road. It’s a basic thing; But by making sure you’re looking at employees as people first and employees second – you can build a great culture and thus loyal and productive staff.


Final Words on Employee Retention

Your employees get the work done. The benefits from improved retention makes everything easier for everyone. The great resignation is not necessarily a foregone conclusion for your company. There are many great companies adapting to attract and keep talent. By incorporating the above – you can do the same and be part of a great retention!

If you would like to consider upskilling your staff in areas of tech – check out our ICT courses or get in touch with us. For more on this subject check out our dedicated webpage and keep an eye out for some free webinars on this topic.