Although the so-called ‘Great Resignation’ is over, all is not well in the workforce. According to new studies, more and more employees are becoming dissatisfied with their jobs, and this spells bad news for talent retention efforts.

We’ve carried out our own investigation into the state of employee satisfaction in the UK and Ireland, and we discovered that only 48% of British and Irish employees feel satisfied with their jobs. Worse still, our research also found that nearly half of employees were actively looking to leave their jobs… Despite a cooling labour market that’s seeing a slowdown in full-time hiring.

What to include in a successful talent retention strategy Cezanne HR blog

In addition, a recent survey by computer software firm Oracle discovered that 85% of employees feel like they are just a cog in the wheel of their organisation, whilst 43% of them have no idea how their performance contributes to business success.

Clearly, something is going very awry with how organisations engage with their people…

Effective talent retention strategies: the imperative for HR

Now, it could be very easy at this point to assume that simply offering healthy remuneration packages or monetary-based incentives would be the way to retain employees for longer. After all, more money means happier employees… right? However, this assumption would be both misguided, and potentially very expensive!

As our own report into employee satisfaction discovered, employees who confirmed they were satisfied in their roles said it was mainly due to having a positive work-life balance. Relationships with colleagues and their working environment were also top answers, adding weight to the argument that satisfaction in the workplace isn’t purely monetarily driven.

With all that in mind, HR and people practitioners should examine their talent retention strategies and ask the question: just what can we do to make our organisation the kind of place employees want to stay and grow their careers with, without simply resorting to offering more money?

Let’s look at what every successful talent retention strategy should include…

1. Support of a positive work-life balance across the business

As our own Head of HR wrote earlier this year, the needs and wants of both candidates and employees have drastically shifted in the past 3-4 years – mainly thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Everyone now expects a level of flexible, remote or hybrid working – especially if the job supports it – to fit work around the demands of our personal lives, instead of adhering to rigid and inflexible working practices. And, as mentioned earlier, a key part of workplace satisfaction is a healthy work-life balance. It makes sense then, that HR professionals investigate how a healthy work-life balance can be promoted across an organisation.

Some initiatives you could investigate to support a healthy work-life balance include encouraging staff to take time off when needed, evaluating the feasibility of flexible working arrangements, and supporting an organisational culture that values personal wellbeing.

2. Ensuring your jobs align with an employee’s own skills and interests…

One of the more worrying facts from our report into employee satisfaction was that 45% of employees were looking to leave their roles, with a dislike of their core duties being the main reason why they wanted to leave. With that in mind, HR teams and line managers must ensure the jobs offered to employees align with their own skills and interests.

Examining whether the job listings you post are reflective of the actual work experience should the priority in this instance. After all, if an employee joins on the strength of a job advert, but finds the workplace experience is vastly different to what they were expecting, it’s unlikely they’ll stick around for the long term!

To discover if your job listings are accurate and meeting your employees expectations, think about initiating a pulse survey to ask them directly. That way, you’ll know for sure if they are getting the experience they expect. And, don’t forget to carry out your exit interviews, either!

3. … And provide the chance for employees to develop their career

It’s important to acknowledge that your employees may want to enhance and develop their own career prospects. Doing the same duties day in, day out can quickly become laborious and uninspiring – especially if someone has been in the same role for a long time.

Having a lack of career development or support within your business can sow the seed of resentment. Worse still, it can even drive staff away entirely. Implementing a robust performance management system  – ideally as part of a modern HRIS platform – that’s motivational, transparent and developmental for everyone can help prevent these problems. Also, make sure that employees receive constructive feedback regularly, and offer support and resources for their own professional development.

Investigate whether there are opportunities for greater collaboration and interdisciplinary projects across teams and departments. By encouraging employees to work together on varied projects that align with their interests, HR teams can nurture opportunities for learning, innovation, and a sense of shared purpose within a business.

4. Recognising and rewarding the efforts of employees

Did you know that under half of UK and Irish employees feel valued in their role or by their employer? Employees who don’t feel valued will most certainly disengage from their tasks, pitch in less often, work slower, and likely take more unplanned absences – all highly damaging when it comes to building a successful retention strategy.

To counter this issue, investigate what your business does to recognise and reward all the positive things your employees achieve. For example, our report found that 1-1 performance check-ins were a popular and effective method for maintaining healthy employer-employee relationships and enhancing the employee experience. Clearly, they’re something that HR teams should ensure happen on a regular basis within their organisation as part of a successful retention strategy. You can read more about them in this article.

5. Nurturing a positive work environment

As our report discovered, great working relationships and positive working environments were two key aspects of employee satisfaction. It makes sense then, as part of any talent retention efforts, that you look at how you can foster a positive work environment that’s conducive to building better workplace relationships.

You could look at how you and your HR team could support so-called ‘culture moments’ within your business. This is when you make it easier for people within your business to build more meaningful and positive relationships, whether they be traditionally office-based, working remotely or flexibly, or perhaps a mix of both.

To nurture culture moments, ensure your shared workspaces are somewhere everyone feels comfortable engaging with one another and want to spend time in. If you have a largely remotely-based workforce, encourage your line managers to arrange regular face-to-face team meetings, either in or out of the office.

In addition, encourage your people to keep tabs on those that work remotely most of the time to ensure they don’t feel neglected. And lastly, investigate the demographics of your workforce before implementing any new strategy so you can introduce methods of engagement that will truly resonate with them.

6. Strong leadership and communication

Our report into employee satisfaction discovered that a core driver of unhappiness in the workplace was poor levels of communication from senior leaders. Not asking or responding to employee feedback were highlighted as being particularly damaging to the employee experience: but luckily, HR is perfectly placed to help avoid these issues…

HR can help support clear and consistent communications staff by regularly sharing updates from senior leaders on company goals, strategies and progress against key metrics. This type of transparency helps build trust and makes employees feel valued and informed.

7. Collecting and responding to employee feedback

The seventh and final element to include in any talent retention strategy is actively collecting, responding, and acting (where possible) on employee feedback.

When your employees feel valued and that their opinions matter, they’ll be more likely to provide you with innovative ideas and solutions to help support better staff engagement – rather than simply leave for pastures new if something isn’t to their liking.

Of course, you won’t be able to accommodate every idea or opinion your employees have! But, as our survey discovered, a big part of employee satisfaction comes from feedback being both collected and responded to by a company’s senior leaders. So, if your business is seen as a place where feedback is both encouraged and acted upon, you’ll likely enjoy better rates of staff retention, and find it easier to attract people to your business, too.

Paul Bauer author image

Paul Bauer

Paul Bauer is the Head of Content at Cezanne HR. Based in the Utopia of Milton Keynes (his words, not ours!) he’s worked within the employee benefits, engagement and HR sectors for over four years. He's also earned multiple industry awards for his work - including a coveted Roses Creative Award.

You may also be interested in...