The importance of employee retention strategies

Employee turnover can certainly have a negative impact on an organisation’s performance and in many cases it impacts upon productivity and almost always on the ‘bottom line.’ The cost of recruiting, inducting and training new staff can be prohibitive both in terms of time and money and as the real cost continues to increase year on year, the aim for businesses in 2017 must surely be to increase staff retention.

There are many strategies that can be employed to reduce employee churn. In addition to statutory benefits many businesses are now including additional perks in their offering. Employee benefits platforms are all the rage with many businesses now allowing employees to ‘self-select’ their own benefits packages which in turn reinforces the incentive to remain.

However, it is equally important that businesses understand the reasons behind employee turnover, so that they may implement recruitment and retention strategies that increase retention. Research shows that there are many reasons why employees leave an organisation however there is one stand out reason that remains top of the list. That is an unsatisfactory manager/employee relationship. Common issues cited by disgruntled employees include a lack of respect, a feeling of being undermined or undervalued and that they are being prevented from making a positive contribution to the business.

It is important to recognise that although the business covers the wage bill it is largely line managers who manage the relationship with employees. They should be afforded the training to ensure that they possess the skills, knowledge, experience and sensitivity to work with employees on an individual and team level. When you offer these learning opportunities it demonstrates a commitment to investing in employees’ wellbeing, not just profits.

An employee relationships strategy cannot be considered ‘comprehensive’ unless it focusses on retention it cannot be implemented unless management teams have the necessary so called ‘soft skills to support the initiative. This being the case the employee relationship strategy should include ongoing training to enable line managers to manage relationships effectively.

Training around ‘Managing difficult conversations’, ‘Management and leadership skills’ or ‘Promoting organisational values and behaviours’ could be delivered as a part of employee relationship initiatives and would equip managers with the necessary skills to improve workplace relationships. In turn this will increase employee commitment and performance, reduce workplace conflict and lead to better employee retention.