How to Boost Employee Retention

Group of employeed in office

by Moira Grassick, COO at Peninsula Ireland

One of the biggest challenges facing Irish business owners at the moment is employee retention.

With inflation forcing many employees to seek higher wages or look for a new position with higher pay, business owners are having to deal with a volatile labour market.

While some employees move on in search of higher wages, there are other benefits and employee engagement strategies that your business can put into practice to ensure staff enjoy their work and build long-term careers with you.

So how do you go about making your business a great place to work?

Consider the following benefits and HR strategies to help your business retain key staff and attract new joiners…

Annual leave

One of the most appreciated employee perks is paid annual leave. If you offer your staff more than the statutory minimum of four weeks’ paid annual leave, you reduce your exposure to losing staff to competitors.

Many employers increase holiday entitlement in proportion to length of service. This can be an effective way to retain staff as it rewards loyalty. Essentially, the longer an employee works for your company, the more paid annual leave they receive.

Employee engagement

An annual or six-month review may have sufficed in the past, but employees tend to appreciate ongoing check-ins nowadays.

This approach identifies problems early and allows you to find a mutually agreed solution.

Similarly, if things are working well, these check-ins also allow you to discuss improvements and reward employees who are achieving good results.

Businesses and managers that get employee engagement right are much less likely to lose top performers.

Financial benefits

While growing SMEs are tightly focused on costs, there is an employee retention payoff for investing in employee benefits like a pension schemes, life cover and permanent health insurance plans.

If setting these schemes up is financially viable for your business, it will be greatly appreciated by your employees.

Family-friendly benefits

The Government has widened the number of statutory benefits that are available to working mothers and fathers.

Maternity, paternity, adoptive, parental and parent’s leave offer employees a wide range of options to take a period of protected leave during the early years of a child’s life.

Depending on the age profile in your business, providing additional paid or unpaid leave to employees during what can be a hectic period in their lives is another effective way to build loyalty within your team.

Flexible working options

If check-ins with employees reveal that flexible working options would make a big difference to their working lives, this is something you should definitely explore.

Flexible working options are often thrown together with remote working arrangements but some flexible options that don’t involve remote work include:

  • part-time hours
  • compressed hours
  • flexible start and finish times
  • a four-day week.

These options can make a big difference to employees who have a commute in particular and will provide your business with an employee loyalty boost.

Team building exercises

Often lampooned on TV, team-building activities can be a welcome distraction for staff from their work.

From an employer’s perspective, offsite team-building workshops have a range of benefits. While the recruitment process helps you identify candidates that will be a good fit for your business, sometimes employees need a nudge to learn about one another’s work styles and communication styles. These activities also encourage employees to develop soft skills like conflict resolution and collaboration.

Employees who participate in a team building exercise are likely to solidify their relationships with fellow employees and your business. The outcome is a clearer company culture, more productive employees and a better bottom line.

Employee Assistance Programme

An Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) is fast becoming an employee workplace support that businesses across all sectors are putting in place.

An EAP is a confidential counselling service that supports employees with a range of wellbeing issues that typically involve personal, mental or emotional health.

Most employees are likely to want to deal with issues around stress, depression, financial problems or addiction for example on a confidential basis.

An EAP is an invaluable resource for any employees who are going through a difficult situation and the professional advice they receive can prevent an issue from snowballing into a crisis that affects both their personal and working lives.

From an employer’s perspective, studies have found that employers with an EAP have higher employee productivity, reduced costs, reduced absenteeism and higher employee retention.

About the author

Moira Grassick is an experienced director with a demonstrated history of working in various services industry including financial and legal services. Skilled in HR Consulting, HR Policies, Organizational Design and Development, Management, and Performance Management. Commercially focused with the ability to grow and develop new business. Moira currently holds a BA in HRM, Certified Mediator and diploma in Employment Law.