Staff Retention

33The company that creates opportunities for career development for its staff, and offers a chance for them to develop a career path within the organisation, will strengthen the team and increase staff retention.

The goal is to be the “go-to “employer, the aspiration for the best people on the market.

Staff Retention

ChurchillSo apart from the salary and benefits, what encourages retention of good staff? The right training that will prepare them to apply for positions that arise should be a standard part of their career development. If a company can create opportunities for career development amongst its own staff, rather than recruiting from outside, this will strengthen the team and increase retention.

There should be clarity of what is expected of staff and they should have an appreciation of what progression is available to them.

Retaining good staff makes financial and commercial sense for any business and should be a key objective for managers. There has already been an investment of time, money and effort in recruiting and training staff, they can help deliver growth and profitability, and so they are a valuable resource.

Rewards and incentives

These can play a major part in staff retention, and keeping staff happy. They do not need to be financial incentives, and can range from a simple “thank you” or “congratulations” from their line manager, to an employee of the month award , extra holidays, a seasonal party, or financial rewards.

These days many employees are as interested in work-life balance as the paycheque. There is great scope here for companies to differentiate themselves as exceptional employers by offering a flexible range of benefits such as working from home, compressed work week , shorter week, part time, job sharing, flexi –time, exchange holidays for cash, buy extra holidays, health care, staff discounts –the list is almost endless.


A line manager should understand the career aspirations of each of his staff – who is interested in promotion, who is happy to plod along till retirement, who would like to be transferred to a different department. This is a subject that can easily be broached during performance appraisals.

The line manager will then be able to take a personal approach to each employee when it comes to their career development and suitable learning for them. Even if they don’t want a promotion they may still appreciate the opportunity to develop their skills and contribute more to the business.

Most businesses need to engage staff in continuous development just to keep abreast of new technology and resultant changes in practice.

Many organisations are now taking advantage of eLearning solutions as a convenient and cost effective way to train their employees, at times suitable for the business.

Exit interview

If staff do decide to leave, it is advisable to carry out an exit interview. This should ask for feedback about the experience of working for the company, seek the reason for leaving, and what it is about their new position that attracts them. This interview is best done by someone other than their line manager, so that the staff member can speak freely about their experience.

This sometimes flags up problems in a department with a high staff turnover as people leaving the company may be willing to discuss the problems of working with a particular manager or under a time pressure.

Management then need to address the problem if they want to reduce the staff turnover and ensure staff are motivated and performing at their best.

Top tips for retaining and developing staff

  • Employ the right candidate getting the application and selection process correct is key, so consider the specification and selection process carefully.
  • Have an induction programme in place with a buddy scheme if appropriate.
  • Get early feedback from new starters
  • Know your staff personally, take a friendly interest in their personal lives
  • Communicate regularly with staff both formally and informally.
  • Develop and train Establish paths for career progression or personal development.
  • Consider eLearning, it is cheaper and more flexible.
  • Know staff’s career aspirations so you can assist in their development
  • Offer Rewards, Financial or otherwise
  • Exit interview to detect and remove problems