In the modern world of work, the idea of a 'job for life' is becoming increasingly old-fashioned and irrelevant. There are many reasons for someone to leave their job, from dissatisfaction with career progression opportunities in their current role to the promise of more attractive pay and benefits elsewhere.

For HR departments, the task of replacing departing employees can feel like a never-ending game of catch-up. So what can you do to keep staff turnover under control? How can you optimize your employee retention strategy and stop your most valuable talent from leaving?

look for the root cause of the problem

When a high rate of turnover starts to become a real problem for your organization, it's important to go beyond basic facts and figures, and to look into the underlying reasons why people are leaving.

There are various ways to go about this, including common approaches such as conducting exit interviews and surveys that ask people for their views upon leaving the business. To encourage people to feel confident in sharing their honest opinions about working for you and why they're leaving, make sure you provide a safe, welcoming environment for them to give their feedback and speak candidly.

As well as being a positive tactic to use with people who are leaving, this is a good way to approach workforce engagement and management as a whole. If your employees know they can speak to a manager about what's on their mind, without having to worry about being judged or unfairly treated, you'll get a much more accurate picture of sentiment and attitudes in the workforce.

There are various steps you can take to encourage honest feedback, such as practising active listening and other techniques that show you're genuinely interested in what people have to say. It's also beneficial to provide detailed information about how the business plans to turn the input of its workforce into real action. If you have lots of people telling you they're not satisfied with their professional development, for example, tell them how you're planning to offer more training and learning opportunities.

provide adequate resources

One of the most common reasons for an employee to grow dissatisfied with their job and seek opportunities elsewhere is the feeling that they're not being given the proper tools to perform their duties.

Workers who feel unprepared or ill-equipped to manage their workload are more likely to look for other roles where they can expect to receive better support and provisions, which will reduce their stress levels.

Again, it's important to have regular conversations with your staff to make sure they have access to the right tools and resources to get on with their jobs. That should go beyond the basic items and equipment staff need to fulfil their essential responsibilities, and focus on concepts like training, skills development and giving people options to branch out and work in other areas of the business.

As well as helping you improve staff satisfaction and wellbeing (which is crucial to keep turnover to a minimum), providing adequate resources is key to the day-to-day management and productivity of your business.

nurture staff relationships

The employer/employee relationship is just that: a relationship. Workers come into the interview process with a concept of the value they can bring to your organization and their skill set. As their knowledge and experience increases, this skill set expands and the average worker feels that their worth to the company has risen as a result. It's important to recognize how the talent in your company is developing and to think about what you can do to reflect this.

If they feel undervalued in the workplace, or have worries that their employer is ignoring their development and failing to provide fair rewards and opportunities, employees will look for other positions that are more fulfilling (both monetarily and personally), where they can continue to grow and make progress in their careers.

So what can you do to nurture and strengthen your relationships with employees? One of the most valuable steps is to provide regular feedback, which is a great way to show that you recognize and value the contributions workers are making to your business. It can also help employees focus on areas where they have room to improve and come up with a constructive plan to move forward.

Research published in 2020 showed the number of HR and business leaders who expect managers to provide daily feedback had increased by 170% since 2018.

Another powerful way to form stronger bonds with your employees and to strengthen your relationships with them is by providing opportunities for people to keep developing and learning new things. In its 2021 Human Capital Trends report, Deloitte highlighted going 'beyond reskilling' and 'unleashing workforce potential' as one of the key HR themes for this year. It noted that giving people opportunities to diversify and take on new challenges became particularly important during the COVID-19 pandemic.

'The growing prevalence of worker agency and choice during the pandemic showed that, when given the chance to align their interests and passions with organizational needs, workers can fulfill their potential in ways that leaders may never have known they could, positioning the organization to thrive in the long term,' the company said.

download our guide below to learn more about effective strategies to retain employees.

offer better benefits

For many workers, benefits play a critical role in their financial security and plans for the future. The possibility of accessing more attractive pension options or healthcare perks could be a powerful reason for some of your employees to look for opportunities elsewhere. This could be a particularly important consideration for older individuals who are starting to give more thought to their health or their plans for retirement.

If it has been a long time since you revisited and reviewed your benefits packages, it's probably a good idea to take a fresh look at what you offer and how it could be improved. Upgrading your benefits is a big financial decision that will place extra demands on your budget, of course, but if your finances allow, it's a worthwhile investment to make. Keeping your experienced, trusted employees happy will save you the time and money of a recruitment drive.

The latest Randstad Employer Brand Research showed that attractive salary and benefits is still the number one reason for people to choose an employer, with 62% of respondents citing it as a key factor.

focus on work-life balance

When you're managing the human resources of a major corporation or even a small business, it can be easy to forget that your employees have lives outside the company. Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is a priority for many of today's workers and one that more and more companies are getting on board with.

Another finding from our latest Employer Brand Research was that 58% of people view work-life balance as an important consideration when evaluating an organization to work for. Only salary and benefits was ranked as more important, and job security, a pleasant work atmosphere and career progression were all viewed as less significant than work-life balance.

If you want to improve this particular aspect of your offering to employees, consider measures such as:

  • Promoting flexible working arrangements
  • Focusing on people's productivity, not just the number of hours they put in
  • Encouraging employees to take regular breaks
  • Telling workers to switch off work emails and notifications when they're at home
  • Checking that employees are taking full advantage of their annual leave entitlement

Get this element of your workforce management right, and your staff will be more interested in keeping their job with you than looking for other opportunities.

rethink recruitment

The relationships the business has with its employees - which are of course critical to retention and turnover - are rooted in your very first contact with applicants in the recruitment stage.

If you're finding it difficult to keep hold of your staff, it's worth conducting an analysis of your hiring practices to make sure you're bringing in people who are the right fit for your organization. One of the best ways to go about this is by focusing on three core principles:

  • Job fit
  • Boss fit
  • Company fit

Evaluating candidates with these three priorities in mind will help to ensure you recruit people who are not just suited to individual roles, but well-matched to the manager they will be working with and your overall company culture.

It can also be beneficial to look for candidates who have the capacity and willingness to focus on their professional development with you over the long term. Finding people who are interested in building lasting careers within your organization can prove equally beneficial for the business and the worker.

Download our guide below to learn more about effective strategies to retain employees.