Top Tips for Managing Retention

 To seek further guidance and support on recruitment and retention, contact Careerz

Employees may consider a new job opportunity for any of a number of reasons. Common motivators include career advancement, an external promotion, a salary increase, improved benefits, boredom with the role, or perhaps that sought after work/life balance.

However, what should be more concerning to an organisation is that it is not just the active candidates that are at risk of leaving the business. It can be your most engaged, productive and motivated employees (the organisations top talent or high potentials) that are most at risk of being a prime target – these employees are known as the passive candidates.

Therefore, employee retention needs to be factored into every aspect of human resource management and strategic HR planning. This includes candidate attraction and hiring strategy, recruitment and selection, compensation and benefits, reward and recognition, career paths (promotion and progression opportunities), training and development and performance management.

Candidate Attraction & Hiring Strategy

Hiring retainable staff needs to be at the forefront of an organisation’s candidate attraction strategy.  Organisations need to understand the factors that enable them to retain their existing high performing employees and the factors that have an adverse affect their employee retention rate. The most cost effective recruitment strategies place staff retention at the centre of focus throughout the process. To achieve this, businesses need to take effective steps to identify and understand the reasons existing employees chose to leave. A common approach used by many businesses is to conduct an exit interview with the employee, which can provide invaluable insights and form the basis of future planning for the target role. An additional benefit from such interviews is that they potentially identify wider issues within the business which may benefit from management attention. It is also suggested that an employee’s decision to leave also provides the organisation with an opportunity to review the role, and consider whether it meets their needs entirely, and whether they are positioning the role competitively, in order to attract and retain the desired calibre of candidates.

Given the seemingly obvious benefits to be gained from understanding the factors that influence employee retention, it begs the question as to why many businesses do not take concerted efforts to do so before beginning their recruitment process. It is suggested that for most businesses, the most poignant reason for not making these steps an embedded part of their hiring strategy is the immediate imperative of filling the soon to be vacant role. Some businesses also make the mistake of “writing off” the employee who is on the verge of leaving, with the view that they have nothing valuable to offer towards the process. Applying more time and diligence to review and understand the value proposition of the role, and how it might potentially be improved for future employees is highly likely to have much more effect on staff retention than a “quick fix” approach, such as simply increasing the rate of pay. Whilst the number one reason for leaving a job remains salary, it is rarely the sole reason, and failing to understand that may result in exactly the same outcome, but at greater expense to the business.

Total Rewards & Compensation

If an organisation wants to attract top talent and retain their best employees then they need to understand what their competitors offer in terms of total compensation (salaries, benefits, bonuses, incentives etc.), reward and recognition, as well as career paths, training and development, progression or promotional opportunities and the working environment etc.

Companies will need this market intelligence to benchmark and make informed and quality human resource management decisions. It will not be so easy to attract employees out of your organisation if your total compensation is aligned to the competition.

As well as conducting the recommended internal review of the role, businesses may also consider how to gain more benefit from their relationship with a recruitment agency engaged to support them. Top recruitment agencies will be well placed to provide valuable insights into the desirability of the proposed role, having potentially supported other businesses with similar roles, and discussed them in detail with a variety of candidates. Using the recruitment agency at the start of the process as a sounding board, and discussing the issues identified as part of the role review will very likely enhance the recruitment outcome.

Career Paths

Another way of ensuring your employees remain engaged, motivated and loyal to the organisation is to invest in their career development. Employees want to be challenged in their roles, they want to continuously learn and develop new and existing skills and know they are valued and making a difference.

A fair and equitable salary is not enough on its own to attract or retain the best talent.  That is why it is so important to review the entire employment proposition. It is also much more difficult and expensive to recruit and replace employees that have left the organisation with advanced skills and extensive in-depth company knowledge.

Unemployment is at its lowest in seven years and as a consequence organisations will need to shift their focus to attracting candidates by “selling” the employment proposition as candidates in a job are much more selective about the next career move. A buoyant job market creates a higher demand for skilled and talented individuals which increases the risk of your existing employees being persuaded to leave. For this reason employers also need to carefully manage and invest in their existing talent to ensure they remain engaged, productive and loyal.

As Richard Branson once said “Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to”


Careerz Limited, based in Canterbury, offer specialist recruitment services across Kent & London.

For further information, please call John Adams on 07881 623119 or 01227 656 888.

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