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Managing staff retention

Author: Rachel Suff


  • Staff retention relates to an employer's efforts to manage labour turnover and retain valuable employees. (See What is staff retention?)
  • If an organisation has problems retaining staff, it can experience a number of adverse impacts, for example the financial cost of recruiting replacement staff and paying temporary agency fees. (See The business case for managing staff retention)
  • A staff retention strategy covers the employer's initiatives to address labour turnover problems. It should be based on the organisation's unique requirements. (See Developing a staff retention strategy)
  • Selecting people who are right for the role and the organisation is crucial for improving staff retention. (See Improving recruitment and selection practices)
  • Helping new recruits to feel at home as quickly as possible will improve the likelihood of their staying with the organisation. (See Improving induction practices)
  • Many employees value training and development opportunities more highly than financial reward, so employers should ensure that they are an integral part of what they offer employers. (See Training and development)
  • Employers should provide a career-progression path for all of their employees, by putting in place an effective succession planning process that provides for lateral personal development opportunities and upwards promotion. (See Career and job development)
  • The quality of the working relationship between an employee and their line manager is often a key influence on the employee's decision to leave the organisation. Employers should ensure that managers are confident and competent to carry out people management tasks. (See Improving line management skills)
  • Offering flexible working arrangements is a direct way of helping staff to achieve a better balance between their work and home lives, so can boost their loyalty and commitment to the organisation. (See Flexible working)
  • It is not always possible for an employer to implement a generous, across-the-board annual pay increase, but other reward mechanisms can motivate staff, for example "total reward statements" can help employees to appreciate the value of their remuneration package. (See Pay and benefits provision)
  • Recognition schemes can be a powerful way of motivating employees, but employers need to promote them to ensure that they are effective. (See Non-financial reward and recognition)
  • Organisational culture has a direct bearing on employees' happiness at work and their decision to stay or leave an organisation. It can be challenging for employers to transform the organisational culture but there are a number of measures that can improve the working climate for employees, for example a positive performance management system. (See Developing a positive organisational culture)
  • The quality of communication between the employer and the employee has a direct influence on the employee's engagement with the organisation and whether or not they decide to stay. A "two-way" communication strategy should put in place mechanisms that encourage upwards communication from staff as well as downwards communication that relays management information. (See Improving communication with staff)
  • Health and wellbeing initiatives can be an effective way of boosting staff retention. "Workplace health promotion" covers the good practice activities that employers can do to improve the health and wellbeing of people at work. (See Health and wellbeing initiatives)