The art of employee retention

One of the main areas of people management is employee retention. Like many other employers, you may be progressively realising the financial benefits in retaining existing staff and encouraging internal progression as opposed to having a high staff turnover or hiring externally.

Research by Oxford Economics finds that on average, the cost of replacing an employee is £30,000! Not only is there a monetary loss, but there is also a risk of a loss in operations. Retaining employees can help in increasing performance as valuable staff continue to work and develop, whereas hiring new staff potentially means less experience and skill. Building strong employee relations is beneficial in retaining staff and we have some tips to help with developing your employer-employee bond.


Training and Development

Staff turnover may occur due to a lack of training and development. By offering the correct training and opportunity to progress, you ensure staff are always supported in their role and feel valued within the company. Training Needs Analysis (TNA) is a means of gathering data to identify issues and current capabilities to manage the gap between where your organisation stands and where it needs to be. From this, you can assign the appropriate training your staff need to achieve your business goals. Training can take place on the job through mentoring, or externally through an outbound course. E-Learning is also a fantastic form of training that many businesses have adopted due to its fluid e-platform. Offering career progression to your employees can be mutually beneficial. Again, we link this back to the earlier points in which existing employees are more valuable as they already contain prior knowledge of your business and you save money by not having to train new staff.


Good Communication

Appraisals make a great way to keep track of your employee’s performance and give the chance for you to have an open and honest conversation with them. Appraisals do not always have to be done formally, you can conduct them based on how you feel works best for your workplace. For an appraisal to be effective, you should treat it as a mutual discussion rather than talking at your employee. Actively listen and work together to highlight areas of improvement and praise good work. Ensure your employees feel comfortable in addressing their concerns. Their grievances should be taken seriously and addressed promptly so that your workforce know you support them. If an employee feels like they cannot speak to their employer about certain issues, it can lead them to find employment elsewhere.



Keeping staff motivated helps to maintain morale in the workplace. Although a legal contract binds employees to work, the psychology contract you create with them encourages their efforts and loyalty to the business. If an individual is unhappy at work, their commitment to the company begins to slip. Recognition of an individual’s hard work and the gesture of letting them know they are appreciated appeases an employee’s sense of love and belonging (a key point in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs). Sometimes, saying a simple “well done, great work today” can go a long way. Another way of motivating employees is through incentives. Does your business offer any benefits for outstanding work? Cash rewards, commission or even experiences can motivate staff as they not only get something extra out of achieving their targets but it also gives your business credibility to stay and not move workplaces.



Operating flexibly in your business allows consideration for an employee’s other commitments, such as a parent who cannot commit to certain hours of work due to looking after their child. Flexible hours shows consideration for your staff members needs and that you care about them as people rather than just employees. This, again, helps to build employee relations and prevents staff from leaving who were tempted to look for work elsewhere in a business who can accommodate their circumstances.


Finally, whilst work may be your only tie to your employees, it is also nice to extend a friendly reminder that they are supported not just as employees, but individuals. If possible, try to organise a fun activity outside of the workplace to get to know everyone. When people feel like they belong, they will not want to leave. As the age-old saying goes, “people don’t quit their jobs, they quit their bosses”.


ABL Recruitment team