Employee Retention Strategies

Employee retention is at the forefront of the minds of many organizations...
  • Author: Siva
  • Last updated: November 10, 2022
  • 5 Minutes

Employee retention is at the forefront of the minds of many organizations as high turnover across all industries continues to disrupt the workplace. 

Many employers are anxious about the number of employees departing roles, and for good reason. Unwanted turnover can be a costly problem, having negative effects across the company as well as seeing a downturn in important business metrics. 

But what exactly can you do about it as a small or medium sized business owner in the UK?

Read on to find out.

What is employee retention?

At its core, employee retention is about how well a business can keep its employees long term and what they are doing to keep employees engaged and motivated. 

Staffing is always going to be one of the biggest challenges for any employer. Employees all have different backgrounds, experiences, and goals with their employment history. The challenge is to figure out what makes the staff member happy and want to come to work every day.

It’s important to remember, however, that some employee turnover is inevitable. 

What causes employee turnover?

The following four main reasons are often to blame for high employee turnover: 

No opportunity for upward mobility

Employees love having options, especially when those options come with better benefits, more pay, and a chance to learn new skills. Giving the highest performers the option to develop their careers is a great way to keep them longer. 

Health and family issues

Employees often leave their jobs for health issues, whether personal or family related. As a business owner, employees leaving for outside health issues is largely out of your control. But a solid way to remedy employee turnover for this reason is by offering health care perks and a balanced wellness initiative 

Work-life balance issues

Employees will often prioritize their lives over their jobs. In a perfect world, employees wouldn’t have to compromise one over the other. Yet it seems many businesses still struggle to find the right balance between pushing staff for productivity and giving them the work-life balance they need. 


Research shows that many employees leave a role because they simply don’t enjoy the work. It’s tempting to keep employees in the same role, but it often leads to them craving new challenges.

What are the benefits of a successful employee retention strategy?

There’s a ton of benefits for businesses that make it their mission to retain their top performers. Here are a few of the best:

It can save costs on hiring employees

The best way to reduce hiring costs is to lower your turnover rate. A healthy employee retention rate can help companies forgo the expense required to recruit, vet, and onboard a new employee. 

Improvement of company culture

Company culture and employee retention go hand in hand. The more engaged employees are, the longer they tend to stick with a job. Lower turnover rates help teams build rapport and trust, which makes for a better employee experience. 

Increased productivity

Happier employees tend to be more productive. Surveys show that engaged employees can be up to 13% more productive than those who aren’t. 

A better customer experience

Happy employees tend to make for a happier customer experience. Happy employees have better interactions with customers and as a result the customer will have a better journey with your company. 

What are good employee retention strategies?

Here are a few employee retention strategies worth considering. 

Have a strong hiring, training, and onboarding program

Improving employee retention rates should start with your hiring process. When hiring a new employee, your job descriptions should advertise that prospective employees can expect training and will be looked after during the onboarding process. 

As you onboard employees, don’t leave them alone with a large packet of information to read through. Poor onboarding and training are some of the top reasons why new employees quit early but you can avoid it by being attentive and focussed on their needs.

Have competitive compensation and benefits

Feeling appreciated and acknowledged for hard work is a positive for any employee. If your goal is to increase employee retention, you better not be skimping on employee wages and benefits. 

Have a robust employee recognition program

Everyone likes to be recognized for their positive contributions. As an employer, you can leverage the need for recognition to ensure your employees feel valued and appreciated. 

Recognition leads to employees feeling more confident and respected, which feeds into overall employee satisfaction. 

Make sure you conduct exit interviews

As employees hand in their notice and complete their last few workdays, take the time to pull them aside and have them fill out an exit survey. This is where you want to ask all the questions that will give you the most insight into why they are leaving, and could include questions like:

  1. What prompted you to look for a new position? 
  2. How satisfied were you with the company culture?
  3. What would you change about the company’s leadership?
  4. Did we equip you with the training and tools to do your job well?
  5. What would you change about your position?
  6. How could we have made your time here better?

The more specific and direct you can be with your exit survey, the more valuable data you’ll have to work with as you onboard and offboard employees. 

Provide clear career paths and growth opportunities

Employees want to feel like they have options. They also want to feel like they form a part of the future of your business. Studies show that clear growth paths lead to higher employee morale and lower turnover rates.

Offer flexible working

Flexibility is a big part of effective employee retention strategies. The more flexibility you can offer your employees, the better. Surveys have shown that flexible work options lead to higher retention rates as employees have a better work/life balance.

In conclusion

Getting employee retention strategies right can be difficult for any business. But if you’re curious about what motivates your employees, what they need, and how you can create an environment of employee engagement so they can do their best work, you will find reducing turnover rates is not as difficult as it seems.

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Written by Siva

I write & describe the value & benefits delivered by Paperhift's rota planning, staff time tracking, and employee payroll management software. Especially useful for Shift Planners, Rota Managers, Team Admins, and HR Teams :-)