Paying attention to employee retention

attract leads and customers capture business candidate.jpg s1024x1024wisk20cQTPg0gwzPooi4wHBv80O2kN McNeqgP5vQus0 GQ6m4 | Paying attention to employee retention
By Anthony Wolny | 19th April 2023 | 7 min read

We get it, you’re probably just as sick of hearing about the UK talent shortage as we are; the story has been ongoing for some time now, although, it remains a primary issue for businesses across the country.

Recent studies found employment rates for those aged 16-64 are sitting at around an all-time high.

Great news! But, when you consider that the UK currently has 1.1 million open vacancies, the picture as to why recruitment is so challenging starts to become clear.

Saving a sinking ship

Last year, we saw recruitment initiatives taking the main stage, with 90% of UK employers looking to recruit, yet 87% struggled to fill job vacancies.

It’s understandable why recruitment is at the forefront of many business strategies – open vacancies are costly and hinder productivity.

Nevertheless, don’t let this tunnel vision your overall strategy; too often, HR strategies focus on plugging immediate gaps.

In turn, what happens is a revolving door of people, in which current employees feel abandoned and subsequently resign, creating a never-ending cycle of vacancies.

The missing piece of the puzzle: 4 tips for employee retention

Whether you need more people to grow or you’re filling empty roles, the need for recruitment is inevitable.

However, if businesses want to prevent losing existing employees to competitors and being forced to continuously reinvest in recruitment, retention must become an even bigger priority.

This is where creating a workplace environment that can empower high morale and motivation truly steps into the spotlight.

What can be done to improve employee retention? Well, let me start by stating pizza parties and pool tables aren’t employee wellbeing initiatives.

People want meaningful benefits and support; consider the following.

1) Transitioning into a learning organisation

Two in five workers are planning to leave their job within a year, with the majority citing a lack of career prospects.

To keep people satisfied and productive in their roles (+ benefit the business from more skilled workers) a primary focus of your HR strategy should be on becoming a learning organisation.

Building a workplace environment centred around continuous growth, risk-taking and cooperation enables people to try, fail/succeed and learn. 

Look into offering workplace opportunities, whether that’s in-house training, role changes and promotions or third-party apprenticeships and courses.

Podcast: Affordable ways to motivate staff

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2) Provide meaningful objectives

Do employees know exactly what they’re working towards? No, not what’s on their to-do list, but rather their wider goals and objectives.

Focus on output-based objectives which fulfil a larger business goal, helping create a culture where everyone knows they’re making an impact and being recognised for it.

Especially in the increasingly digital world, employees need direction and to feel valued.

At IRIS, we use the Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) model, which outlines what needs achieving (Objectives) and provides a measurable outcome which informs how close you are to achievement (Key Results).

Top tip: ensure praise is given, whether that’s informally through a message/email, during a performance review or in a business-wide communication.

See how our people-focused HR software can help you

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3) Offer hybrid working

One way a business can help support their employees is by empowering them to split time between home and the office or even to work fully remotely.

For those businesses who can feasibly offer hybrid working, if you’re not already doing so, I urge you to start. 

Since the pandemic, people’s priorities have significantly transformed, and hybrid working is no longer a desire but an expectation. 

According to the BBC, 70% of people state they will never return to the office at the same rate, especially since 59% believe they’re more productive when working from home.

Blog: Hybrid working does it have a future?

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4) Empower managers with data

Digitising HR tasks can significantly aid employees, as they can input their objectives into software and track evidence of their professional development in real-time.

Modern HR software also enables managers to make data-led decisions on careers and progression based on the most recent information from appraisals, such as digital personal objectives.

An important point considering 74% of our survey respondents stated they think promoting people from within the business is the top action to stop people from resigning.

Look after your people, and they’ll look after you

As a business struggling to recruit, before looking externally, ensure your internal experience is top-notch.

When it comes to becoming an attractive employer, taking a look at the employee experience, combined with personal goals and open recognition is certainly a great place to start!

While there is no one-size-fits approach, the points discussed offer a great starting point for making meaningful change.

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