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How can employers improve staff retention?

Staff retention is essentially the ability of a business to hold on to their staff, which should maximise productivity and keep employee turnover to a minimum.

Employee turnover is the number of employees that leave the company within a given time frame, irrespective of the cause, whether it be voluntary or involuntary.

Loss of staff can cause a reduction in productivity and loss of profit to the company, along with poor staff morale and the  increased cost of hiring and training staff. A high turnover of staff can also have a detrimental effect on the reputation of the company and deter potential future applicants from applying.

It is therefore recommended and well worth investing a little time into identifying and accepting any problems with retention and establishing what you can enact to turn this around and to prevent your staff leaving and ensure those that are with you are happy, healthy and stay! It may only take a few tweaks here and there, but the results should be highly rewarding.

Below are some top tips that may help you improve staff retention.

From the start…

Attracting the right people for the job will set you and any potential employee up for the best possible working relationship. Transparency and honesty with candidates are key, so they understand fully what is being offered and what the position requires. Whilst sticking to the criteria of skillset also consider personality types and the cultural and behavioural beliefs that your company aligns to.

It is believed to take 7 seconds for people to form an initial impression of someone, so make that impression of your business be the best it can be from day one.

As you would probably expect the new recruit to arrive prepared and well presented, the same applies for your business. If employees have a good onboarding experience that makes them feel welcomed into their new role, it paves the foundation for positive relations in the business going forward.

The process should be seamless to minimise confusion and stress and there should be a structured induction plan in place to ensure they know what they are doing and for your own compliance and safety purposes.

By setting out the standards you expect from the start, and the policies which employees must adhere to, it mitigates ambiguity that can cause uncertainty and confusion for employees. It also assists the managers in training, development and disciplining staff, if these policies clearly outline what and whose responsibilities are whose.

It helps new recruits settle in and will encourage continuity of performance, as they know what is expected of them and from a company side, helps ensure standards are being met.


Not just bulletins or monthly updates but open communication on all levels, regularly, ensuring interaction, understanding and employees feeling heard and valued. Lack of efficient communication can be one of the main causes of workplace disputes and the breakdown of mutual trust between employees and employers leading to poor company culture, the opposite of what helps retain staff!

Employees like to be kept informed of any changes and effective communication makes them feel part of a team, valued and not ostracised, which could lead to disengagement from work.

Maintaining good rapport with all staff members not only bolsters the morale equalling happy employees, but if you really understand them, you are more able to see any issues that may arise and prevent them from happening.

This understanding links closely to the need for good communication, if you understand your staff you can work with them to do the best to try and give them what they want to be happy and succeed.

In addition to regular communication, you could also use feedback forms, documented 1-2-1’s, appraisals and team meetings to enhance communication and relationships.

By knowing your employees and understanding them, hopefully you will also know and understand their wishes in terms of career progression and what they want to get out of their job. Also, you should be aware of any areas they or you have identified as training needs or skills they wish to develop.

Actively offering development and training can help the employees feel valued and that their career and progression is important to the company and their employers and they are not just another cog in the machine, potentially to be left to stagnate in the same role.

The more trained the staff are, the more opportunities arise also for business expansion, so investing in learning and development for your staff, is essentially investing in the business and its growth.

Think about what draws people to a new job, is it just the job role or could it be more? The location, people and added benefits all help entice new potential applicants and also keep the staff you have, happy.

Likewise, incentives and reward schemes for hitting targets like days off – encouraging that essential work-life balance, or profit share schemes could help set your business apart from others. When workers see their colleague’s successes being celebrated it can encourage that behaviour, creating healthy competition and the rewards make the staff feel appreciated and valued.

Should they leave…

By implementing the aforementioned ideas and maintaining them throughout the duration of your employee’s time with you, it will hopefully mean that should they depart, it is in a positive way and that there is nothing more you could have done as an employer to retain them.

Exit interviews and feedback surveys are excellent ways to inform you of what you are doing well and highlighting areas that perhaps need improvement. It is an opportunity again for the employee to speak their mind but hopefully, if you have had a good relationship with them, there should be no surprises! If there are, it is the ideal opportunity to learn from mistakes and experiences and work towards bettering the processes.

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The information contained in this blog post is provided for guidance and is a snapshot of the law at the time it is written. It is provided for your information only and should not be used as a substitute for obtaining legal advice that it specific to your particular circumstances.

The guidance should not be relied upon in any decision making process. It is strongly recommended that you seek advice before taking action.

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