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Why Employees Leave and How to Retain Your Best Staff (Client Blog)

With record highs in the number of people employed in the UK, you would think that the employment market would be very quiet at the moment but we are in fact seeing the opposite. Employees are constantly looking for the next step in their career and often find that they can’t do this with their current employer therefore look for alternative roles. For an employer, losing a key member of staff can be devasting especially if it comes as a shock. Movement between jobs will always happen and it can, believe it or not be a good thing for both the employee and employer however there are some keys things that you can do to prevent losing your best staff or at the very least be prepared for when it happens. Here we will explore the key reasons employees look to move on from a role and what you can do to prevent it.


This is the obvious one, right? But it is also one of the hardest hurdles for a business to overcome and it certainly can’t be done overnight. Ensure that you, or your HR team, are doing regular industry research to establish what the salary levels are within your market and try to stay competitive. Have set salary structures in place company wide, or at the very least, within each team to make sure there are no discrepancies between your employees doing the same role – people will always talk money and you will soon see disgruntled staff when they realise everyone is on different rates. Regular salary reviews written into your employees contracts can also incentivise and provide with the knowledge that they are progressing within the team.

It is hugely important for you as a company to establish what your key values are and from there identify what you expect from your employees and what you can offer them in return as this will not always require financial rewards. In sales teams, most employees will be very financially driven and will expect set incentives in place. In most industries this is not a model that companies tend to roll out company wide so those in other departments can often lack the rewards for their commitment and work ethic so you may need to think about how you can make your staff feel valued.

Feeling Valued

We completely understand that not all businesses can regularly offer 6 month salary increases or provide a regular bonus as standard and actually an employee that is purely focussed on salary is possibly not the right candidate for your business. If this is the case, there are many other ways that you can make sure your employees feel valued and rewarded for their hard work.

Perhaps the simplest is to put regular monthly meetings in place where you and your employees review how the month has gone, recognise any difficulties that you have faced but most importantly recognise what has gone well and where that individual employee has excelled. This will not only allow you to openly congratulate your employee but may also open up any concerns that they currently have allowing you to address them before it being too late. Suggested rewards for outstanding achievements, or regularly stepping up at work could be having a team lunch (order in a pizza or go out if that works for your team), offer an extra days holiday for longevity, perhaps an early finish on a Friday following a busy or successful period. Try to be vigilant and provide every member of your team equal opportunities to meet the criteria for rewards as you may find that they have the opposite effect if the same colleague achieves the benefits every time. Changing the goals on a monthly basis may help avoid this and play to each team member’s strengths.

Lack of progression/training

Today’s workforce are not happy to remain in the same job for 10 years anymore so unless you are happy for them to move on, you must encourage progression where possible and/or good training opportunities. If you have a flat structure in your team and progression isn’t an option, have a look at your training programs. In a recent survey it was found that “over half of employees (56%) [said] they’d leave if they weren’t offered high quality training”.* There are a wide range of organisations that can offer your company funding for training and this should be utilised as much as possible. Although skill specific training is the obvious route to go down, there are a lot of other options to explore such as Microsoft or Outlook refreshers, mindfulness, GDPR, promoting mental health in the workplace and social media training. Try to associate with training providers were your employees gain a certificate of education after attending the course so they can credit their training as additional education.


Whether you work for a large or small business, communication at all levels is key to keeping your workforce engaged. If your employees have an insight into how the business is doing and what the key objectives moving forward are, they will be keen to understand where they fit into that model and what they can do to help the business achieve their goals. Try to involve employees in the decision making process – understandably this is not always possible or advised however if you are planning changes to contracts, systems, training or team structures etc, employees are often better placed than top level management to suggest the best way forward as they are actively using these things on a daily basis. Decisions made without their involvement may result in unhappy staff.

If you are recruiting for your team, try to involve your staff here too. If you have a Team Leader or Office Manager, invite them to join the interview process to not only provide an insight of the role to the interviewee but also to provide their opinion on who is the best person to join the team. If this is not possible, give the candidate a quick tour of the office and do some brief introductions to the team.

Career Change

Although there is sometimes very little you can do if one of your employees decides that they want a change of direction in their career and leave for a completely different role, if the lines of communication are open between you and your employee, you may be able to mentally prepare for their departure before the event so you are not blindsided when it happens. On occasion, you may even be able to assist your employee in making their career move within your company. Yes, you will be losing a key member of your team but would you not rather they remain an asset to the business than lose them completely?

Work/Life Balance

This has to be one of the biggest changes in employment in recent years and it has only really just begun. Talk of going to a 4 day week or working exclusively from home can scare employers into thinking that you need to make drastic changes across your entire company, however this is not the case. What is proven, is that if you can provide employees with a level of flexibility they will perform better in their role. There are always exceptions to the rule so ensure that you put fairly strict boundaries in place so if an employee is talking advantage of new flexibility you are within your rights to discipline or remove some of the benefits. Again, this will not always suit every team across the business so try to tailor any new procedures to each team. Could you offer flexibility for employees to work from home a certain % of the week? Allow time off for school assemblies or sports days and if this lands in a busy period, ask the employee to make up the time across the week. Recognise that if a colleague regularly arrives early or leaves late and asks for short periods of time away, allow this time off without asking for anything in return. If your business is seasonal and sees significant peaks and troughs where your employees are expected to work additional hours for periods of time, perhaps they could work a 4 day week in the 1-2 weeks following your busiest time?


Movement between roles will always happen and you are powerless to prevent it from happening completely, however if you are self-aware and adapt some simple techniques into your workplace you can provide a positive working environment that will naturally encourage employees to be dedicated and stay with you long term.


Please contact us on 0191 493 7030 for more information.


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