The do's and don'ts for retaining your best talent

A quick summary:

Build a flexible approach 💚

Develop a culture of learning 📖

Build a solid onboarding strategy for new hires 📊

Don't use quick wins to fix company culture ❌

Avoid praising burnout working style ❌

Don't ignore the lack of a retention strategy ❌

Mistakes are inevitable in life. We fall over things we don’t see, we say things we don’t mean, and we’re generally just walking accidents waiting to happen. However, if we’re aware of potential hurdles, we can avoid most of them.

That’s exactly what we’ve explored below when it comes to employee retention strategies, and the best and worst ways to retain top talent in your company. These points are drawn from the tried and tested techniques of many businesses. 

Because after all, as the saying goes, “learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.” 

Once you’ve read through our top do’s and don’ts, your HR department will be ready to embrace and avoid any employee retention obstacle. And with a record number of job vacancies between October to December of 2021, in the region of 1.2M, this advice is crucial for the near future in 2022. 

Flexibility and accommodating approach

Do #1:

It turns out a large portion of recent employee departures is the result of weak flexibility when it comes to working arrangements. As it stands, forward-thinking companies are embracing the flexibility of hybrid and remote working environments, while others are simply ignoring employee demand. 

Now, although flexibility isn’t the make or break for employee retention strategies, it does so happen to be an enormous factor in the modern workplace. With the pandemic showing society how adaptable the working environment can be, i.e our homes, employees are demanding these new ways of working for the future.

Despite this call for more flexible working hours, remote and hybrid demands and the need to feel like we have more control over our work-life balance, it doesn’t appear all HR leaders and managers are listening. 

For that reason, we have to include flexibility and an accommodating approach as our ‘Do’ number one. If businesses want to retain their best talent, they must accommodate the growing concerns over mental health, employee wellbeing and overall job satisfaction. 

The world can’t continue down the rabbit hole of burnout culture, and flexibility seems to be the first stepping stone to a healthier, happier workforce and society.

According to, Companies supporting remote work see 25% lower employee turnover than companies that do not.

A culture of learning and development

Do #2 

What many managers and leaders fail to recognise is their team’s desire to achieve more individually. The goals and objectives of a business often override any focus on the training and development of employees. 

Yet, it’s people who make business possible, and so employee retention relies heavily on your ability to mentor and train people to become more skilled and advanced in their career. 

Training and developing your employees is a win-win situation, because on one hand you inspire them to achieve more and ensure they don’t join your employee turnover rates, and on the other, you can hand them many more projects they previously wouldn’t have been able to complete. 

Any leader responsible for employee retention should take note of the importance of training and development. Ask your team what it is they want to achieve in their career, find out what skills they would like to continue building on, and finally, figure out how that fits into your business.

Robust onboarding programme

Do #3

Our third and final ‘Do’ when it comes to employee retention is to have a robust onboarding programme. This means making all necessary steps and actions in a new starters first 30, 60 and 90 days of employment. 

You may be surprised to hear that more than 15% of those who leave their employee, leave in the first week to the first month. For that reason, the onboarding process should be concrete and well thought out. 

While flexibility and a culture of learning are ongoing ideas that should be carried out over months and years of an employee's time with your business, the onboarding process should begin before an employee’s first day and carry on for at the very least the first 30 days. 

This includes providing new starters with the right equipment, documents, passwords and login details, along with educating them on company culture, their employee benefits and many other administrative tasks. 

The clarity usually helps employees to feel a sense of belonging and as though their worries and anxieties have been answered. 

A generic or nonexistent employee retention strategy 

Don’t #1

Moving on to our top three don’t of employee retention, the first is to mistakenly believe you have one, or your business is fine without one. Every business, regardless of how successful it is, should take employee retention seriously.

This is especially true, considering the current recruitment and employee retention climate we’re facing in The Great Resignation. What’s more, leaders must realise that while their efforts have worked so far, times are changing and the demand from employees is evolving. 

This means a generic approach, rather than a personalised employee retention experience, just won’t work for very much longer. Your team members want a personalised employee benefits scheme, and to feel heard and listened to individually. 

For instance, some employees would go as far as to completely exchange a pay rise for better workplace benefits. And with the COVID-19 pandemic proving that flexibility and hybrid working are huge positives in the workplace, these demands continue to grow. 

If you aren’t investing in employee retention strategies and don’t think your business needs to do so, it could have consequences soon, with many employees feeling undervalued and prepared to depart your team. 

Quick wins won’t fix culture issues

Don’t #2

Ping-pong tables, pizza Friday and beanbag chairs won’t fix company culture issues. It’s as simple as that. Unfortunately, a lot of companies don’t realise this, investing in quick fixes to much bigger problems. 

Instead of reshaping office spaces, HR managers and business leaders should listen to the concerns of employees; find out what matters to them and what’s impacting their happiness in the workplace. 

This way, managers can focus on worthwhile changes and improvements. Those that will increase employee retention and job satisfaction for team members. While we would all love to correct problems with table tennis in the office, it just isn’t all that impactful. 

Perhaps your team are struggling with personal finance, invest in financial wellbeing. Maybe your team doesn’t feel like they’re improving their skills, find out what training and development you can provide to them. 

There are tons of ways to correct culture issues, and the problems your team face. And 9 out of 10 times, it’s likely not a new office gadget. 

Avoid praising burnout and overworking

Don’t #3

Our third and final don’t when it comes to improving employee retention is praising burnout culture. Unfortunately, there are many managers and businesses out there that actively glorify long unsociable hours, and being overworked. 

While your calendar can be stacked out until next April, your health and wellbeing are likely to be at the brink of collapse. This has a direct impact on our personal lives, professional lives and our employers. Firstly, if we’re overworked, we’re often less sociable, prioritising projects and tasks over hobbies, and time with friends and family. 

In the workplace, however, this can cause presenteeism, whereby employees are present but underperform and fail to hit deadlines and objectives. This then harms business results. 

If you either praise or work in an environment that praises this kind of behaviour and attitude, it’s time to put an end to this way of work.  The past couple of years has proven that this will be detrimental to business, with many people looking for new employers that promote health and wellbeing. 

Improving employee retention through health and wellbeing

Employee retention comes down to several things, one of them being engagement. To increase employee retention, and ensure your best employees are happy at work, consider the following:

  1. Are my employees engaged with their duties and projects?
  2. Are my employees engaged with the current company culture? 
  3. What employee benefits do we offer that influence employee engagement? 

Believe it or not, employee wellbeing has a direct impact on employee engagement, which then results in improved retention. And employee wellbeing is exactly where we come in at Heka. 

Through 1000s of wellbeing experiences, services and products, employers throughout the UK are using our platform to build healthier, happier teams. 

Whether it’s healthy meals delivered to your doorstep or virtual counselling and therapy sessions, there are thousands of experiences to book and buy with Heka. 

Book a demo with our wellbeing experts, who are more than happy to walk you through all the great benefits that your team can reap with our wellbeing platform.

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