5 Tips to Improve Employee Retention

By 22/07/2015 February 22nd, 2021 Employee Retention
5 tips to improve employee retention

Think that your staff want to stay with you forever? Think again. That’s if the CIPD/Halogen Employee Outlook: Spring 2015 survey is reflective of your organisation. It reveals that during the first quarter of 2015 23% of respondents are looking for a new job with a different employer. And if the economy continues to pick up, that situation is only likely to get worse, as employees grow more confident about switching roles during the economic upturn.

You are probably all too aware of the financial costs of recruiting a new member of staff, never mind the time and trouble that goes into finding the right person. So we’ve put together a 5 point guide looking into some longer term answers – as well as some quick fixes to help you improve staff loyalty.
So, bearing in mind that employee retention is not only important to avoid the direct costs of re-hiring and re-training for roles but also to avoid the impact high staff turnover can have on the morale and productivity of the rest of the team, here are our tips.

1. Get it right at recruitment

It probably seems common sense to recruit the right people with the right skill set who will fit in with your culture to help achieve organisational goals and grow your business. However, it works both ways, after all would you want to be in a role that isn’t what you signed up for?

Be clear during the recruitment stage about what the role entails; if there are some less glamorous aspects of the workload, be upfront about it. It’s better for the recruitment process to take a little longer to find someone who is happy to do the work than simply fill a vacancy, have them leave and be back to square one.

2. Pay and benefits

A high paid salary above market rate is generally going to help attract people and keep staff, but don’t be complacent. Whilst most of us work to pay the bills, not everyone is money motivated and not everyone is tolerant of miserable working conditions when we could go elsewhere for less money but have a happy life.

Equally, smaller businesses probably won’t have the budget to pay big wages, so think about the employee benefits you can offer.
Share options are often a popular choice for ambitious tech start-ups, whereby talent is bought in on a lower than expected salary but retained and motivated by the appeal of owning a slice of something much bigger.

Employee benefits don’t have to be costly; free drinks, on-site parking or flexible working all contribute to the overall value an employee receives from their employer.

3. Onboarding

Onboarding, induction, whatever you call it, the end goal is the same – to welcome your new employee to their team and organisation and make sure they have the information they need to get them up and running.

A well structured induction programme can help to reduce short term staff turnover, so draw up a checklist to make sure every new employee receives the same programme, although the specifics will probably need to be tailored for different roles.

Don’t just rely on HR to deliver the induction programme, look at how team members in other departments can get involved in presenting information. This way your new employee will get to physically move around their new working environment and meet their new colleagues.

4. Culture

There’s a lot that goes into creating an organisation’s culture – from vision and values, to behaviour, language and much more. Culture is something which takes time to grow and develop, but a positive, clean and safe working environment can quickly make a difference to employees.

5. Training & development

Research by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) found that a quarter of 18-24 year old employees would choose a four-day training programme over financial rewards. This is also the same group that the Employee Outlook identified as being most at risk of leaving your organisation! It is well documented that younger employees value training and development, so take a look at what opportunities you could offer outside of formal training, such secondments and personal development to help increase retention and benefit your organisation.

Coming from an SME background I used to be concerned about not only the cost of training, but also relevance to the role, and made the mistake of prioritising role related training over soft skills. If you have these concerns, this popular conversation sums up nicely the dilemma faced by many companies.

“What happens if we invest in developing our people and then they leave us?”

“What happens if we don’t and they stay?”


CIPD/Halogen (2015) Employee Outlook: Spring 2015 [Online] Available at: http://www.cipd.co.uk/hr-resources/survey-reports/employee-outlook-spring-2015.aspx

PricewaterhouseCoopers (2015) Employee Benefits preference varies according to gender and age: PwC research [Online] Available at: http://pwc.blogs.com/press_room/2015/04/employee-benefits-preference-varies-according-to-gender-and-age-pwc-research.html

Sarah Dowzell, Assoc CIPD

About Sarah Dowzell, Assoc CIPD

Sarah first became an employer in the commercial cleaning industry at the age of 21. She holds a First Class Honours Degree in Business Studies and Associate CIPD membership. Sarah is an avid campaigner for government level policy change, championing better mental health provision in the workplace and raising issues that affect women and working parents.