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Employee Retention


In the knowledge economy, an organisation’s strongest asset is its people. It takes time and expense to recruit and train new starters, and develop employees during the course of employment to maximise effective performance. Some movement out of the organisation is only natural, as employees move locations, reach a new stage in life, or change roles for other reasons. The retention of valuable employees is  extremely important to the sustainable performance of organisations.

To increase retention rates,  organisations need to develop a clear understanding of the things that matter most to their employees (through methods such as HR data collected through surveys, exit interviews, focus groups and development conversations, etc) so that the findings can be integrated into a successful retention strategy. 

This topic covers measuring retention, how to manage your key talent and how to conduct an exit interview so that lessons can be learned and any retention issues addressed.

  • The main processes involved in employee retention are appraisal, human resource strategy development, assessments of the knowledge and skills base in the organisation, selection and appointment processes that impact upon employee retention, job and process design, and compensation package (pay, benefits, etc) design to enable employees to be appropriately recognised and rewarded.

  • A lot of information already exists in organisations that can shed light on retention. The most direct measures are actual numbers of leavers in a period, average length of service, average age at leaving and average age of the workforce. 

  • Employee turnover is often greater in the first six months of employment. This may be due to recruiters “over-selling” roles in the recruitment process and by failing to give new recruits an effective induction into the role and the organisation. 

  • Employee development is an important part of employee retention. Employees who are concerned about developing their careers look for organisations that will encourage and support them in this. 

  • Exit surveys and interviews seek to establish why people are leaving their employment with an organisation so that lessons can be learned and applied within the organisation to address issues of management style, employee development, terms and conditions of employment, pay and benefits, and the culture and climate of the organisation. 

  • Stay interviews can also be used to gather more detailed information on why employees remain with the organisation. 

  • Tailoring benefits to sort employees, and providing benefits that look after the employee as a whole, inside and out of the workplace, will also assist in keeping retention rates high.