Increasing employee retention: Techniques & best practices

Learning how to retain top employees is one of the most common priorities we hear when speaking to managers across the board. The one’s who have the most success in doing so are consistently ensuring that they are putting best practices and processes in place to ensure their top performers don’t pine to see if the grass truly is greener on the other side. The need for this is amplified by the fact that Software Engineering was the most in demand skillset as of June 2020.


Offer people benefits that matter:

Fresh fruit, bean bags and a ping-pong table are great additional benefits, but if they make up the core stack of yours then you could be in trouble. In a study conducted by HR Review3 26% of people said they would be happy to forgo a pay increase for additional holidays and 16% would rather have transport benefits to a pay rise.

Most valued cash or monetary incentives for employees are contributory pension (62%); health insurance (43%); life insurance (40%) & critical illness cover (35%)4.

However, it is worth noting that it’s not all about the money.

Flexible working or an element of remote working are currently the two most sought-after benefits, with lots of people willing to take a slight pay cut to receive one or both. Bonus schemes however are seen as a nice to have, but the fact that they are often discretionary makes people wary of them as a benefit.

TIP: Offering a competitive pay rate is of course a big draw for lots of people, and is a great way to help with retention. To see where you rank speak to a specialist recruiter you trust and have them benchmark your current salaries versus the rest of the market. If you fall way below average then it’s imperative that you’re offering value and incentives outside of just salary that others aren’t, such as those outlined above. Equally paying massively over market rate doesn’t mean you’ll instantly fix all of your retention problems, paying somewhere within 5% above or below is usually enough to stay competitive if you’re ensuring that you’re offering maximum value elsewhere.

Make sure the management team are on board:

There’s a saying that goes ‘people don’t leave jobs; they leave managers’ and in a lot of cases this rings true. That’s why it’s important that the management structure is completely onboard with increasing employee retention and are doing everything in their power to ensure they treat their team well.

Making sure the management team are trained on their soft skills (including things such as motivating different types of people, conflict management, crisis management, dealing with different personalities and so on….), and that they also live and breathe the company’s values will give you a strong foundation to build on. It’s also worth remembering that they themselves are employees of the business, so will need the same incentives and opportunities offered to those they manage.

Be a brand people are proud to work for:

Corporate Social Responsibility isn’t just a way for big brands to whitewash their not so responsible antics, it’s a great way for you to build a brand that people want to, and are proud to work for. More and more people want to be part of a company that’s part of the solution, not the problem. Ways you can start to do this are:

  • Sponsoring a local, national or global charity
  • Helping out in the local community
  • Take a hard stance on your environmental impact and try to get as close to net-zero emissions as possible
  • Team building events and family days

If you aren’t sure where to start on this, speak to your team about issues and concerns they have on the ethical front, and see which causes they find important.

A final note:

Creating a culture in which employee retention is a core value is vital to any business that wants to grow and get the best people in the future, but it is worth noting that a set and forget strategy won’t work in the long term. A great place to start would be by trying to implement some of the techniques above, but it is also worth looking at what’s important to your team as individuals and ensuring that you are consistently getting feedback on what’s working, and what’s isn’t.

If you have any questions feel free to contact us at [email protected] or call 0161 833 1044.

For more information on contracting check out our Contracting Resource Area, here!


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