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6 actionable tips to improve retention and recruitment

Employee wants and needs change all the time – this isn’t anything new. However, where the pandemic has accelerated this, it has thrust the importance of the employee experience into the limelight more than ever before.

As a result, the UK is currently seeing a record number of job vacancies available. Organisations who have failed to listen to what their employees want are now having to pay the price. This is because staff are instead looking to head where the grass appears greener. In fact, a Microsoft survey of more than 30,000 people found that 41% are considering quitting or changing their profession within the next year due to being unsatisfied at work. With strong competition, it’s left businesses struggling to acquire new candidates and fill the gaps where someone valuable once was.

So, how can you stand above the rest in the crowded job market? How can you boost staff confidence in your organisation as a place to work? It’s time to reconsider your HR plan. In this article, we’ve listed 6 different methods that you can implement in your workplace to improve retention and recruitment.

Tip 1: Embed regular employee listening and feedback

Elevating your employee listening strategy will help your organisation to understand what’s happening within the workforce. As a result, any issues can be actioned, and the employee experience can ultimately be improved. However, it’s important that the techniques you implement are undertaken on a regular basis if you’re looking to improve retention and recruitment within your organisation.

Many things can happen in the space of a year, a quarter, or even a month. So, therefore, relying on a particular approach that you only relay to staff annually will not be reflective of how they feel at the current time. In fact, you will be greatly limiting the opportunity to identify issues your people may have. And you will be left unable to action them efficiently, or even at all. By implementing regular employee listening and taking the time to take on board feedback, you’ll be able to make any changes before it’s too late.

Tip 2: Build a robust onboarding process

First impressions are everything – especially in business – and particularly for new employees. A great and lasting first impression could just be the difference between a successful working relationship with longevity, and a short-lived, disappointing professional experience.

It’s important to note that the impression you give off to your new hire goes beyond their first day though, as research has found that 31% of workers tend to leave their job within the first 6 months. So, to improve retention and recruitment at your organisation, a well thought through onboarding process is critical. Scheduling meet and greets with different teams, putting regular and open conversations with managers and peers in place, sending supplies of content to introduce the organisation, a team social or meal out, are all great places to start.

A well-structured onboarding process comes as a sign that your organisation wants to get the best out of its teams, making employees feel more welcomed and valued. This will help new individuals become more easily settled in their role, encouraging them to stay, and therefore reducing the amount of money and time spent on hiring new people.

Tip 3: Set teams up for success

To get the most out of your employees, they need to have the right equipment and processes in place to perform well and remain satisfied in their role. Employees that are held back by absent, poor-quality equipment will be less productive. And, they will perform at a decreased level, fundamentally setting up for failure. Imagine walking into the hospital to see outdated equipment from the 1980’s – you would turn around and leave! The same goes for in the workplace.

It’s also important to remember that setting your teams up for success doesn’t just mean through material items like tools and software – it includes people too! Does everybody at your organisation have someone that they can go to for support? Are training opportunities provided for each employee as and when needed? Having the top of the range equipment or ensuring the latest updates are installed is one thing, but if the people within your organisation aren’t supporting this, it will cause issues.

Tip 4: Prioritise employee wellbeing

As an organisation, it’s important to foster a plan to protect employee wellbeing. This includes mental health and other work-related stresses and illnesses. And, to do this efficiently, it’s vital that you focus on prevention techniques rather than cures.

Setting up health programs or delivering wellbeing activities will provide employees with a healthy outlet in which to handle stress. This will make for a more amiable workplace. Other techniques, like a good work-life balance, encouraging people to take time off when they’re feeling unwell, or paying a ‘fair’ wage, are also beneficial in improving the health of employees but in a more indirect way.

Whilst most wellbeing techniques are intangible benefits that your organisation may not be able to measure financially on a short-term basis, the good health of your employees creates an environment in which they can thrive. This is a fundamental driver not just for employee engagement, but for business performance too. And, where more recently, people are wanting to work for more ethical organisations, adopting a wellbeing plan is a promising step towards maintaining and attracting great talent.

Tip 5: Encourage a culture of reward and recognition

Acknowledging the contributions that your staff have made for your organisation is a powerful and useful tool to engage employees. But it is a generally underutilised tactic. And, whilst many would link reward and recognition to something of monetary value or something time consuming to be effective, it doesn’t always have to be.

Recognising your employees and rewarding them could be as simple as a genuine in-person compliment. It could even be a shout out in the team meeting, allowing them to finish up early, a team lunch, or a small gift. Embedding regular reward and recognition initiatives will in time boost morale, as well as reinforce positive behaviours and outcomes. In the long run, this will make people more inclined to stay due to feeling like an appreciated employee, which will improve retention and recruitment for you organisation.

Tip 6: Take a look at your leadership team

Based on WorkBuzz survey data, employee satisfaction regarding leadership has dropped by a staggering 8% compared to the same data from 4 years ago. The impact that the last few years have had on people (the emergence of Covid-19) has accelerated many changes within the world of work. This has left some stakeholders failing to keep up and address new demands. And, as a result, organisations are seeing an increase in employee turnover due to a direct impact on employee engagement. As well as this, organisations are experiencing difficulties with attracting new candidates.

And so, it’s clear – change needs to start from the top. To make sure that your organisation stands a good chance at improving retention and recruitment, it’s essential that stakeholders are openly listening to what it is staff want. Additionally, leaders need to be addressing/solving these issues, and meeting employee needs. Having understanding and trustworthy members on your leadership team will, in-turn, improve the work culture, engage the workforce, and instil both motivation and inspiration amongst staff. Read our eBook, Steering your leadership teams: A how to guide for HR, here.


Hiring and retaining employees within the current climate can seem like a complex challenge. But, in the end, it all comes down to one thing – how well you listen. If you need support with employee listening within your organisation, book a demo with us by using the form below, and see how we can curate effective surveys with the right questions to help you better understand your workforce.

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