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Merlin House, 1 Langstone Business Park

01633 459012

For more than 10 years we have provided companies of all sizes and in a variety of sectors with uncomplicated, innovative and affordable human resources advice and on-site support ensuring that your people are an asset to your company and not a liability.


With the National Minimum Wage (NMW) now almost fifteen years old, and with another increase pending on 1st April 2017 HMRC have issued a list of the most elaborate excuses they've been given by employers for not paying the appropriate rates:

Improving Employee Retention

Alan Kitto

Experience tells us that higher than desired staff turnover levels stem from failures in one or more of the following activities:

  1. Recruitment - attracting the right quality of applicant, both in terms of skill-set and attitude.

  2. Selection - making sure the appointee has the right skill set and is the right fit for the team and company culture.

  3. Induction - making sure that new starters understand and work to the company’s values and learn what they need to learn to be effective employees as quickly as possible.

  4. Performance Management - setting and managing to objectives, recognising and rewarding good performance and dealing promptly and appropriately with performance issues.


The availability of good candidates is the hardest of these to influence given that it depends largely on (a) the availability of good candidates in the market place when you’re recruiting, (b) the strength of the company’s brand image and (c) the strength of the company’s brand as an employer. 

It’s rare for a company to be able to influence ‘a’ or ‘b’ above directly although good recruitment practices can access the best available candidates. The company’s brand image as an employer will improve as a result of addressing issues with 2-4 above. 

One issue that’s prevalent when unemployment rates are lower is that the good people are often in jobs and likely not looking for new new roles, especially if they feel valued by their current employer; hence traditional recruitment methods (recruitment agencies, internet job boards etc.) are only likely to attract candidates that are actively looking. 

More are more companies are now looking at targeted recruitment campaigns via social media to overcome this issue and reach those people not actively job-hunting. 


Selecting the right candidate is a skill that needs to be learned by recruiting managers. It is essential that managers fully understand the job-specific skills needed for the role they are interviewing for and how to properly and fully interrogate these in an interview scenario. 

In addition to job specific skills are the required behaviours and attributes desired and hopefully already inherent within the team. Recruiting managers again need to be able to interrogate these to ensure the successful applicant has the best chance of success. 

Where they don't already exist, we would recommend the introduction of core company values against which candidates can be measured. We regularly work companies to develop these, typically this would be a mind-mapping session taking no more than a couple of hours. 

We would also recommend some formal ‘successful interviewing’ training for all managers who will be involved in interviewing to give them the essential skills and confidence needed to properly assess candidates. 


Most employees decide whether to leave a company within the first six months of employment and hence if inductions are conducted poorly employee retention rates can plummet, typically because of vague work expectations and difficulties integrating into the new environment and the team.

As a result, first impressions are vital. From the first day on the job, the new employee needs to feel welcome, confident, and ready to engage with the on-going induction process and induction is an important too to achieve this quickly.

Each new employee will arrive in the workplace with different needs and expectations in terms of induction. Designing a comprehensive induction programme, to meet a variety of needs, helps with retention and productivity, because a good induction gets employees up to speed faster and builds their confidence in the company and allow the Company to see the employees ability and potential sooner.

A good induction ensures that the new employee feels the company cares about them from the first day and instils a level of trust by showing how they align the work of the employee with the needs of the company and the results it gives.

Performance Mangement

Dissatisfied employees who don’t feel engaged with the company will naturally feel more compelled to leave in favour of a company that sustains a more supportive, encouraging atmosphere. 

The performance management processes of planning, monitoring, developing, and rewarding performance come up often but are the main factors to get right in order to keep employees engaged. 

Some of the factors affecting employee retention relate to the quality of performance management, these include:

  • Type of work

  • Coaching and/or feedback from manager

  • Opportunities to learn new skills

  • Recognition for a job well done

The best way of retaining employees induce:

  • Giving challenging work assignments

  • Praise and guidance for the work they’re doing

  • Offering career development opportunities

  • Providing incentives which can include variable pay arrangements

Things that can push an employee to leave a company can include: 

  • Poor communication

  • Unrealistic workloads

  • Unclear expectations

  • Limited opportunities for progression

  • Lack of recognition

The above shows that getting planning, monitoring, developing and rewarding processes and strategies right, can keep your employees engaged and less likely to look to leave.


Different approaches to retaining employees have their own merits. Depending on what is important to the employees of your company will depend on the best retention strategy to use. Realistically a company needs employee turnover to bring in new talent and doesn’t stagnate but an employee turnover that is too high can be very disruptive and expensive.

If you feel you have a problem with employee turnover, speak to us and we can work with you to identify what the problem is and come up with a strategy to remedy this.