The secret to retaining employees in a labour short market

In the current climate, many employers are feeling frustrated as their employees are being approached for other opportunities and finding a suitable replacement is proving to be very challenging.

With more job opportunities available than there are job seekers, retaining staff is a huge concern for organisations as it’s much more cost-effective and efficient to keep your current talent than it is to try to recruit new talent, train them and hope that they’ll stay!

Whilst some employers are choosing to counteroffer to entice employees to stay, this isn’t always the answer. However, if a more holistic and proactive approach is taken, you may just be able to avoid receiving a resignation in the first place.

Based on our recent interviews and conversations with candidates, some of the main reasons for people seeking employment elsewhere includes limited learning and development opportunities, not being paid market rate, cultural issues, a lack of support, limited flexibility, and a misalignment of values.

While it may not be possible (or advantageous) to retain everyone, here are our tips to ensure you are in the best possible position in the current climate:


1. Provide ongoing learning and development opportunities

Many of the candidates we’re speaking to have been with their employer long term and are feeling stale and disengaged. While for some, it may be time for a change, but others would be quite happy with a new challenge and the opportunity to expand their knowledge or learn a new skill.

Consider what opportunities you may be able to offer, whether it’s a secondment, a project opportunity, the ability to move into a different department or supporting them with formal education to help them meet their goals.


2. Know what your employees are worth/Assess compensation and benefits

Much of the movement we’re seeing in the current market is driven by salary. Whilst it’s not always possible (or sustainable) to increase to the current market rate, particularly for some of the more in-demand roles, it’s important to be aware of what your staff can achieve should they decide to look elsewhere. Being proactive in this area speaks volumes to your staff so be open to having the conversation. Perhaps you can meet them part way or consider getting creative with compensation and benefits as salary is just a part of the package.


3. Build a culture of trust, recognition, and support

If your employees don’t feel seen and valued, you are at risk of losing them. This increases tenfold for your top performers as they are most likely to resent a lack of recognition for their performance.

Open and honest communication is key to building trust. By keeping your team up to date, providing feedback, recognising their efforts, and welcoming their input, you are well on your way to building a positive workplace culture that people won’t want to leave!


4. Embrace flexibility

There is no doubt the pandemic has changed the way we work and has shown us that productivity can be maintained even when our employees are working remotely. However, flexibility doesn’t just mean working from home. Many job seekers are simply looking for flexibility with their work hours in order for them to meet family commitments and have a balanced life. Be open to having these discussions and willing to trial different options.

There is no doubt this is an incredibly challenging time for organisations however it is also an excellent opportunity to re-evaluate your employer value proposition and position yourself as an employer of choice to enable you to attract and retain top talent not just now, but in the future.