Employee retention refers to the ability of an organization to retain its employees. Employee
retention can be represented by a simple statistic (for example, a retention rate of 80% usually
indicates that an organization kept 80% of its employees in a given period). However, many
consider employee retention as relating to the efforts by which employers attempt to retain
employees in their workforce. In this sense, retention becomes the strategies rather than the
In a business setting, the goal of employers is usually to decrease employee turnover, thereby
decreasing training costs, recruitment costs and loss of talent and organisational knowledge. By
implementing lessons learned from key organizational behavior concepts employers can
improve retention rates and decrease the associated costs of high turnover. However, this isn't
always the case. Employers can seek "positive turnover" whereby they aim to maintain only
those employees who they consider to be high performers.
An alternative motivation theory to Maslow‘s Hierarchy of Needs is the Motivator-
Hygiene (Herzberg‘s) theory. The theories have overlap, but the fundamental nature of each
model differs. While Maslow‘s Hierarchy implies the addition or removal of the same need
stimuli will enhance or detract from the employee‘s satisfaction, Herzberg‘s findings indicate that
factors garnering job satisfaction are separate from factors leading to poor job satisfaction and
employee turnover. Herzberg‘s system of needs is segmented into motivators and hygiene
factors. Like Maslow‘s Hierarchy, motivators are often unexpected bonuses that foster the
desire to excel. Hygiene factors include expected conditions that if missing will create
dissatisfaction. Examples of hygiene factors include bathrooms, lighting, and the appropriate
tools for a given job. Employers must utilize positive reinforcement methods while maintaining
expected hygiene factors to maximize employee satisfaction and minimize retention.
Employee Retention – How to Retain Employees
o Offer a competitive benefits package, including health and life insurance and a
o Provide employees financial incentives such as raises, bonuses and stock options.
o Consider hiring a human-resources manager if your company is nearing 100
o Make sure employees know what's expected of them and how they can grow
within your company.
o How to Attract Talent to a Small Company
How to Hire Your First Employees
Hiring employees is just a start to creating a strong work
force. Next, you have to keep them. High employee
turnover costs business owners in time and productivity.
Try these tactics to retain your employees.
– Offer a competitive benefits package that fits your
employees’ needs. Providing health insurance, life
insurance and a retirement-savings plan is essential in
retaining employees. But other perks, such as flextime
and the option of telecommuting, go a long way to show
employees you are willing to accommodate their outside
– Provide some small perks. Free bagels on Fridays
and dry-cleaning pickup and delivery may seem
insignificant to you, but if they help employees better
manage their lives, they‘ll appreciate it and may be more
likely to stick around.
– Use contests and incentives to help keep workers
motivated and feeling rewarded. Done right, these
kinds of programs can keep employees focused and
excited about their jobs.
– Conduct “stay” interviews. In addition to
performing exit interviews to learn why employees
are leaving, consider asking longer-tenured
employees why they stay. Ask questions such as:
Why did you come to work here? Why have you
stayed? What would make you leave? And what are
your nonnegotiable issues? What about your
managers? What would you change or improve?
Then use that information to strengthen your
– Promote from within whenever possible. And
give employees a clear path of advancement.
Employees will become frustrated and may stop
trying if they see no clear future for themselves at
– Foster employee development. This could be
training to learn a new job skill or tuition
reimbursement to help further your employee‘s
– Create open communication between
employees and management. Hold regular
meetings in which employees can offer ideas and
ask questions. Have an open-door policy that
encourages employees to speak frankly with their
managers without fear of repercussion.
– Get managers involved. Require your managers
to spend time coachingemployees, helping good
performers move to new positions and minimizing
– Communicate your business’s mission. Feeling
connected to the organization‘s goals is one way to
keep employees mentally and emotionally tied to
– Offer financial rewards. Consider offering stock
options or other financial awards for employees who
meet performance goals and stay for a
predetermined time period, say, three or five years.
Also, provide meaningful annual raises. Nothing
dashes employee enthusiasm more than a paltry
raise. If you can afford it, give more to your top
performers. Or, if you don‘t want to be stuck with
large permanent increases, create a bonus structure
where employees can earn an annual bonus if they
meet prespecified performance goals.
– Make sure employees know what you expect of
them. It may seem basic, but often in small
companies, employees have a wide breadth of
responsibilities. If they don‘t know exactly what their
jobs entail and what you need from them, they can‘t
perform up to standard, and morale can begin to dip.
– Hire a human-resources professional. If your
company is nearing 100 employees, consider hiring a
human-resources director to oversee and streamline
your employee structure and processes. Putting one
person in charge of managing employee benefits,
perks, reviews and related tasks takes a huge load
off of you and makes sure employees are treated
fairly. HR managers are also more up to date on
employment laws and trends. They can set up
various programs and perks you may not have
o Return on Engagement Calculator -- A tool that figures the annual savings of having
employees put in extra effort, stay with a company and other behaviors associated with
commitment and motivation, from HR Solutions, a consulting firm.
o Bad Hire Calculator -- A tool that figures the cost of hiring an employee who doesn't work
out, factoring in training, advertising and related expenses, from HR World, a human-
resources trade publication.
o Cost Per Hire Calculator -- A tool that figures the cost of hiring a job applicant, factoring in
advertising, recruiter, travel, relocation and related expenses, from HR World, a human-
resources trade publication.
o Conservative salary estimates for employees -- Base salary calculations by position and
location, from SalaryExpert.com, a Web site from Economic Research Institute Inc., a
provider of compensation and performance-metric information.
o Free Human Resource Training -- Training at no charge on employer-sponsored benefit
plans from Economic Research Institute Inc., a provider of compensation and performance-
o Employee Stock Option Plans Overview -- Information on creating an employee stock option
plan, from the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Tips on Employee Retention
Employee retention starts with the application process. The applicant's first look at the agency,
followed by the employee's initial impressions during orientation, as well as subsequent
assignments, performance ratings, awards, promotions and overall working conditions, all
influence whether an employee stays or leaves. An essential element of successful retention is for
agencies to inform employees and applicants -- as well as the public -- that the agency places high
value on EEO and diversity. Following are tips intended to assist agencies in creating a rewarding
and diverse work environment in which it can hire and retain employees who strive for excellence.
1. Demonstrate leadership commitment and accountability. Agency leadership should
create a work environment in which employees want to establish careers rather than merely
have jobs. A significant part of developing employee satisfaction and loyalty begins at the top,
with senior officials who: (a) clearly communicate that EEO is an integral part of the agency's
mission; (b) ensure that employees from all backgrounds feel accepted, respected, and fairly
treated; (b) provide on a fair and equal basis the support and opportunities its employees
need to reach maximum potential; and (c) hold managers accountable when employees leave
the agency due to lack of EEO compliance or the lack of effective EEO management.
2. Hire and train the right people. Agencies regularly should review their recruitment policies
and practices and collect and analyze applicant flow data to ensure that they are attracting
and fairly considering the widest and most diverse possible applicant pool. It also is vital for
agencies to recognize the value of having supervisors and managers with sufficient
knowledge, skills and attitude to establish a model EEO workplace. As such, EEO and
personnel law modules should be included in supervisor and manager training sessions.
3. Establish Special Emphasis Programs and collaborate with affinity groups. By
establishing and utilizing Special Emphasis Programs and partnering and/or consulting with
the affinity groups, agencies can raise employee awareness of the importance of diversity and
demonstrate the agency's commitment to a model EEO workplace.
4. Include the EEO director in strategic planning. The EEO director can provide senior
leaders with important workforce data and analyses of diversity and retention in the total
workforce, mission-critical occupations and senior grade levels. Moreover, the EEO director‘s
input on employee advancement opportunities can improve the effectiveness of training,
career development and succession plans.
5. Review agency EEO and personnel data. MD-715 workforce data tables and EEOC's
Annual Report on the Federal Work Force are valuable resources and should be used to
examine retention-related issues. For example, agencies should examine hiring and
separation data by EEO group. If an agency sees more employees of a particular EEO group
are leaving than being hired, the agency can further investigate whether there is a pattern of
discontent among those employees by reviewing exit interviews, its EEO complaint inventory,
its anti-harassment program, and its grievance process. In addition, agencies can look for
indicators of stress among employees by noting increases in the use of leave or accidents.
6. Improve advancement opportunities. Agencies can ensure that all employees have equal
opportunities for advancement by creating and funding Individual Development Plans and
Career Development Programs. Agencies can include these programs in their succession
plans to ensure that they identify and develop well-qualified candidate pools (feeder pools) for
their senior grade levels.
7. Conduct employee opinion (climate) surveys and 360 degree evaluations. Climate
surveys and 360 degree evaluations can help agencies assess the pulse of their workforce
and make changes before employees decide to leave. Agencies can use these tools to hold
supervisors and managers accountable for low ratings and reward them for high ratings.
5 Employee Retention Strategies
for a High Performance
All high performance environments share a serious devotion to results.
They‘re competitive, stressful workplaces where mediocrity is disdained and failure
intolerable. Moreover, individuals who thrive in these environments tend to be ―A‖ players
with intense ambition. And they are always on the lookout for greener pastures.
How can high-performing employers better retain these critical employees?
The challenge is often how companies approach retention — reactively. Retention issues
are ignored until the company suspects an employee might bail, at which point it‘s
addressed by offering the employee some kind of enticement to stay, and then it‘s back to
business as usual.
This approach might work in the short-run, but does nothing to cultivate longer-term loyalty.
A better approach is to address retention proactively, as a strategic issue. I recently
connected with two thought leaders in talent management strategy to discuss how to do this
in high performance environments. Based on our conversation, here are five things any
organization can do to proactively combat turnover.
1. Hire retainable employees
The pressure‘s on from Day One in a high performance environment. While some thrive
under pressure, others will falter. Elissa Tucker, Human Capital Management Knowledge
Specialist atAPQC, says the first thing leading organizations are doing to curtail this type of
turnover is a focus on ―hiring retainable employees.‖
While there are some obvious indicators of a candidates‘ ability to deliver consistently (e.g.
three to five years‘ tenure in a similar role), there are other signals that can provide insight in
your sourcing and screening.‖
Tucker suggests working with your managers and top performers to identify what
backgrounds, skills or personality characteristics your retainable employees have in
2. Plan careers, don’t fill roles
It‘s easy to focus on the near-term when managing people in a high performance
environment. You bring in ―A‖ players with the expectation that they‘ll succeed in the role for
which you‘ve hired them — and unrealistically assume they will stay in that role forever.
Your top performers are thinking about their career, and you should be too.
―Best-practice organizations work to help individuals plan to stay with the organization — to
plan their careers with the organization,‖ says Tucker. The key is to guide your employees
in mapping out how they can attain their career goals within your company.
For example: If a top salesperson sees her current role as a rung in the ladder up to senior
management, outline some long-term goals that will get her there. If another is just in it for
the money, keep him in challenging roles that will reward him for working hard and allow
him to play hard.
3. Make retention personal
Every employee is motivated by different things, and retention strategies thus need to be
tailored down to the individual level.
Steve Miranda, Managing Director of the Center for Advanced Human Resource Studies,
Cornell University ILR School, says, ―The key phrase is specialized efforts.‖ Successful
organizations, he says, don‘t view retention initiatives as ‗one size fits all.‘ Instead, they‘re
making retention strategies personal. How? By simply asking, ―What motivates you?‖
You may be surprised to find that monetary incentives are low on the list of responses you
get. These days, ―A‖ players are more concerned with challenging work, personal and
professional growth opportunities, work/life balance, and workplace flexibility.
4. Get to the heart of underperformance
Let‘s face it: Underperformance happens, but you don‘t want to lose employees who were
previously strong performers. If you notice a drop in performance, Miranda advises against
writing them off without first getting to the heart of the issue.
In my conversation with Miranda, we broke underperformance down into a few root causes:
Skill and competency issues often come up when someone’s been
promoted into a role they weren’t quite ready for. Fortunately these can be
addressed with coaching and training–and usually for a fraction of the cost of
replacing an employee.
Behavioral issues are usually more difficult. ―If it‘s a behavior issue,‖ Miranda
says ―identify the source of the issue to get an idea of whether it‘s something
worth investing the time and effort in.‖
Personal issues are a leading cause of burnout among top performers.
Things come up (divorce, health issues, mortgage issues, etc.), and can
distract employees from their work and affect their ability to deliver. In these
cases, a little support and flexibility will go a long way toward cultivating loyalty.
You may uncover trends in underperformance that you can use to your benefit. Are
employees bored with the work? Are people burning out after six months? This kind of
feedback is vital to the refined people process that supports success and curtails turnover.
5. Invest in your line managers
―Employees don‘t quit jobs,‖ says Miranda. ―They quit managers.‖ He estimates that 80
percent of turnover is driven by the environment a manager creates for an employee
(compared to 20 percent resulting from issues with company culture). Because of this, any
investments in training and development for your line managers are well-spent.
The success of your retention strategies are ultimately subject to your line managers‘ ability
to deliver on initiatives you put in place. According to Tucker, ―Whatever your company
values, you have to be sure your managers are executing on it. Help them help you reduce
turnover. Teach them how to empower employees to succeed and grow, rather than just
It‘s also critical to keep the line of communication about careers wide open between
employees and managers, especially because career goals change over time. Build more
opportunities for employee check-ins (formal and informal) with managers. As Tucker points
out, ―Individualized conversation needs to happen on a regular basis.‖
What retention strategies have you seen work in a high performance environment?
Employee Retention Grant Scheme
The purpose of the Employee Retention Grant Scheme is to assist employers to retain
employees who acquire an illness, condition or impairment which impacts on their ability to carry
out their job. It helps to explore the employees continuing capacity to operate as productive
members of the workforce.
This scheme assists in maintaining the employability of the employee when s/he acquires an
illness, condition or impairment (occupational or otherwise) by providing funding to:
Identify accommodation and/or training to enable the employee to remain in his/her current
Re-train the employee so that s/he can take up another position within the company.
The scheme is Structured in 2 stages according to the development and implementation of a
Stage 1 facilitates employers by enabling them to buy-in external specialist skills and
knowledge needed to develop an individualised ‗retention strategy‘ for the employee who
acquires a disability.
Stage 2 provides funding to the employer towards the implementation of the written retention
strategy, including re-training, job coaching and/or hiring of an external co-ordinator to oversee
and manage its implementation.
The Employee Retention Grant Scheme is open to all companies in the private sector. Funding
is available to support the retention of any existing employee, at all levels and occupations
within the company, who acquires an illness, condition or impairment which impacts on their
current ability to do their job.
Funding & Application
Stage 1 – Development of the Retention Strategy
Funding of 90% of eligible programme costs is available to companies up to a maximum of
2,500 towards the development of a retention strategy for any 1 employee. Download Stage I
Stage 2 – Implementation of the Retention Strategy
Funding of 90% of eligible programme costs is available to companies up to a maximum of
€12,500 towards the implementation of a retention strategy for any 1 employee. Funding for the
specialist personnel is limited to a set number of hours and, application may not be made
without the support of an individualised retention strategy (refer to Stage 1).
What is an Organization ?
A set up where individuals come together and work in unison to achieve a common goal is called as
organization. Individuals working together in an organization to earn their bread and butter as well as
make profits are called employees. Employees are the lifeline of an organization and contribute effectively
to its successful running and profit making.
An organization can‘t survive if the employees are not serious about it and are more concerned about
their personal interests.
What is Employee Retention ?
Employee retention refers to the various policies and practices which let the employees stick to
an organization for a longer period of time. Every organization invests time and money to groom a
new joinee, make him a corporate ready material and bring him at par with the existing employees. The
organization is completely at loss when the employees leave their job once they are fully trained.
Employee retention takes into account the various measures taken so that an individual stays in an
organization for the maximum period of time.
Why do Employees Leave ?
Research says that most of the employees leave an organization out of frustration and constant
friction with their superiors or other team members. In some cases low salary, lack of growth
prospects and motivation compel an employee to look for a change. The management must try its level
best to retain those employees who are really important for the system and are known to be effective
It is the responsibility of the line managers as well as the management to ensure that the employees are
satisfied with their roles and responsibilities and the job is offering them a new challenge and learning
Let us understand the concept of employee retention with the help of an example:
Misha was a talented employee who delivered her best and completed all her work within the desired
time frame. Her work lacked errors and was always found to be innovative and thought provoking. She
never interfered in anybody else‘s work and stayed away from unnecessary gossips and rumours. She
avoided loitering around at the workplace, was serious about her work and no doubts her performance
was always appreciable. Greg, her immediate boss never really liked Misha and considered her as his
biggest threat at the workplace. He left no stone unturned to insult and demotivate Misha. Soon, Misha
got fed up with Greg and decided to move on.
Situation 1 - The HR did not make any efforts to retain Misha and accepted her resignation.
Situation 2 - The HR immediately intervened and discussed the several issues which prompted Misha to
think for a change. They tried their level best to convince Misha and even appointed a new boss to make
the things better for her.
Situation 1 would most likely leave the organization in the lurch. It is not easy to find an employee who
gels well with the system and understands the work. Hiring an employee, training him and making him fit
to work in an organization incur huge costs and thus sincere efforts must be made to retain the employee.
Every problem has a solution and the management must probe into the exact reasons of an employee‘s
displeasure. Employees sticking to an organization for a longer time tend to know the organization better
and develop a feeling of attachment towards it. The employees who stay for a longer duration are familiar
with the company policies, guidelines as well as rules and regulations and thus can contribute more
effectively than individuals who come and go.
Employee retention techniques go a long way in motivating the employees for them to enjoy their
work and avoid changing jobs frequently.
The importance of staff retention
A moderate level of staff turnover can be good for a business; it means fresh ideas and approaches.
However, every organisation needs to have a strategy in place to retain the high performers that give it a
competitive edge; they are the ones you can’t afford to lose.
Ignoring high levels of employee turnover can be very costly; it lowers internal morale and it could harm an
organisation's external reputation and cost it business. So, understanding the importance of staff retention is
It's essential to try to learn more about the reasons why people resign. The reasons might simply be more
attractive jobs elsewhere or chances for lifestyle reshapes, in which case it might be out of your hands to
retain these employees. However, many people leave their jobs because they are dissatisfied with their
current situation. There are ways of retaining these people, highlighted below.
Main reasons people leave a job
In our experience the most common negative reasons for leaving a job are:
Poor salary and benefits
A lack of training and development opportunities
Dissatisfaction with management
Not getting along with colleagues
The journey to work
Lack of work/life balance
Methods to find out why staff are leaving include:
Confidential attitude surveys.
Questionnaires sent to former employees around six months after their departure.
However, while companies do conduct 'exit' interviews to try and ascertain the reasons behind a departure,
because of the necessity to obtain a decent reference, people often tone down or completely fabricate their
reasons for leaving.
Ways to improve staff retention
By adopting a mix of the following methods, you should see an improved staff retention rate:
Ensure those being recruited have a realistic idea of what the job entails
Improved career development opportunities.
Strong diversity policies.
A practicable means of dealing with bullying.
A good work/life balance.
A mechanism for staff to register dissatisfaction, whether it be appraisals, grievance
proceeding and so on.
Leadership training for managers.
Make your employees feel valued and proud of the work that they do will not only do wonders for
your employer branding strategy, but will immediately improve your turnover rate. Develop a work culture
that encourages diversity and creativity and put in place effective anti-discrimination policies that promote
flexible working, where possible.
Adopting a strategy for staff retention is not always easy, but it will greatly benefit your organisation.
One of the greatest challenges facing employers today is finding and keeping good employees.
This article describes some effective employee retention strategies that will help you retain good
staff and develop a stable workforce.
The first step is to understand why employees leave. The second is to implement employee
retention strategies to get them to stay.
Five main reasons why employees leave
1. "It doesn't feel good around here." This can include any number of issues to do with
the corporate culture and the physical working environment.
2. "They wouldn't miss me if I were gone." Many people don't feel personally valued.
When people don't feel engaged or appreciated, all the money in the world can't hold
3. "I don't get the support I need to get my job done." People want to do a good job;
they want to excel. At the same time, most feel as though their boss won't let them do a
good job. When frustrations exceed the employee's threshold, they leave.
4. Lack of opportunity for advancement. Advancement doesn't necessarily mean
promotion. More often, it means personal and professional growth. People want to be
better tomorrow than they are today.
Personal growth constitutes a very strong driver in today's workforce, particularly with
the younger generation. People coming out of college often identify training as the
primary criterion for choosing their first company. Companies that gutted their training
departments have a lot of catching up to do in order to attract good people.
5. Inadequate employee compensation. People want fair compensation, but – contrary to
most managers' beliefs – money rarely comes first when deciding whether to stay or go.
A certain percentage of people will always chase more income, but the majority of
workers look at non-monetary reasons first.
Many executives still cling to the outdated notion that people "go for the gold", that salary
dictates all their employment decisions. But for the most part, people want opportunities
to grow and learn, to advance in their careers and to work on challenging and interesting
projects. They want to be recognised and appreciated for their efforts. They want to feel
a part of something that adds value to their community.
Five strategies for employee retention
1. Working environment
The primary employee retention strategies have to do with creating and maintaining a workplace
that attracts, retains and nourishes good people. This covers a host of issues, ranging from
developing a corporate mission, culture and value system to insisting on a safe working
environment and creating clear, logical and consistent operating policies and procedures.
Environmental employee retention strategies address three fundamental aspects of the
workplace: the ethics and values foundation upon which the organisation rests; the policies that
interpret those values and translate them into day-to-day actions, and the physical environment
in which people work. The overall goal is to make your company a place where people want to
come to work.
A sampling of environmental employee retention strategies includes the following:
Clarify your mission.
Create a values statement.
Communicate positive feelings.
Stay focused on the customer.
Be fair and honest.
Cultivate a feeling of family.
Do not tolerate sub-par performance.
Insist on workplace safety.
Reduce the number of meetings.
Make work fun.
These employee retention strategies all relate in one way or another to corporate culture.
However, one environmental issue tends to stand out above the rest.
More than ever, employees want a culture of openness and shared information. They want to
know where the company is going and what it will look like in the future. How is the company
doing financially? Where does it stand in the marketplace?
Above all, employees insist on knowing how their specific jobs fit into the grand scheme of
things and what they can do to help the organisation get to where it wants to go. If you operate
in an open environment where managers share information, you can expect reduced turnover
To assess your culture's level of openness, ask questions such as:
Do our employees know how the company is doing in key areas such as sales,
financials, strategy and marketing?
Do we promote open-book management (or something approaching it), or do we keep
information a closely guarded secret among the top management team?
Do employees understand our vision, mission and values?
Do we have a values statement that clarifies and supports a culture of openness?
Do we give performance feedback on a regular basis or only at annual review time?
Do we encourage individuals and departments to share information with each other?
Take the pulse of your people on a regular basis. From time to time, bring in an outside third
party to get a more objective view of how your people really feel. Find out if they really know the
vision, mission and values. At the same time, give employees plenty of information about how
the company is performing and where it is going. When people buy into your clearly stated
corporate values and have the information they need to get the job done, they tend to stick
2. Employee relationship strategies
Employee relationship strategies have to do with how you treat your people and how they treat
each other. Developing effective employee relationship strategies begins with three basic steps:
Give your managers and supervisors plenty of relationship training. Recognise that
(in all but the smallest companies) people work for their supervisor, not you. Their pay
cheque may say "XYZ company", but their primary work relationship is with their
supervisor. If your supervisors have the knowledge, training and sensitivity to work
effectively with people on an individual level, you'll probably get the bonding you need to
Ask employees why they work for you. When you do, two things happen. One,
employees reinforce to themselves why they work for you. Two, you gain a better
understanding of what attracts people to your company. You can then use that
information to recruit new employees, saying: "Here's why people work for us. If you
value these things, perhaps you ought to work for us, too."
Once you have the information about why people work for you, ask: "What can we
do to make things even better around here?" Do it in a positive way so that it doesn't
become a gripe session, then listen closely to what your employees say. Out of these
conversations will come many good ideas, not only for improving conditions for your
employees but for all facets of your business.
Some top employee relationship strategies:
Use behavioural style assessment tools, such as Myers-Briggs or DISC, to help people
better understand themselves and each other and communicate more effectively.
Help employees to set life goals and get focused on where they want to go. Then help
them to see how their goals match up with company goals and that they can achieve
their goals by staying with the company. If people believe they can achieve their goals
and objectives by working in your organisation, they will think twice before going
somewhere else to work.
Whenever possible, get the family involved:
o Write a letter of commendation and send a copy to the family.
o Write a letter to the family thanking them for supporting your employee.
o Have an open house. Invite the families for a tour to see what the spouse/parent
o Hold social activities such as family picnics, holiday parties, special events.
o Celebrate birthdays.
o Take people out to dinner to celebrate an achievement.
o Hold public celebrations when the company hits major milestones.
Other employee relationship strategies that impact employee retention:
Build mentoring relationships with people to increase their emotional ties to the
Be firm and fair. Avoid second-guessing employees.
Encourage humour in the workplace.
Focus on building individual self-esteem.
Stick up for your people.
Give recognition strategically and deliberately.
Ultimately, employee relationship strategies help to build a sense of family. In families, people
have conflict and disagreements but they learn how to work them out. They stick together
through good times and bad and support each other's growth. Families have an "all for one and
one for all" mentality. It's a lot harder to leave a family than to leave somewhere where you just
go to work.
3. Employee support strategies
Employee support strategies involve giving people the tools and equipment to get the job done.
When people feel they have what they need to perform, job satisfaction increases dramatically.
All employee support strategies stem from three basic principles:
People want to excel.
People need adequate resources to get the job done.
People need moral and mental support from you and your managers.
Employee support strategies start with your and your managers' attitudes. Do you see
employees merely as cogs in a wheel, or as valuable resources that make the company go? Do
you expect high performance or mediocrity from them? Believing that people want to excel (they
do!) rather than perform at minimum levels will lead you to treat them in a much more positive
Information is another key area in employee support strategies. The more information you give
people about what they are doing, what the company is about and why you do things the way
you do, the more valuable it becomes. Help people to understand all the nuances of their jobs.
Why is what they do important to the company? What are the expectations of the customer?
Let people know what is going on. Give them sales figures and some of the financials. You don't
have to disclose salaries and other sensitive information, but let them see performance
measurements, particularly as they affect their jobs.
Other employee support strategies include:
Give people productive work to do.
Remove obstacles and barriers to getting the job done.
Adjust jobs to fit strengths, abilities and talents.
Keep the promises you make.
Establish effective communication systems.
Clearly define job responsibilities and accountabilities.
Encourage people to take initiative.
Encourage, recognise and reward creativity and innovation.
Reduce reporting requirements.
When possible, offer job flexibility.
4. Employee growth strategies
Employee growth strategies deal with personal and professional growth. Good employees want
to develop new knowledge and skills in order to improve their value in the marketplace and
enhance their own self-esteem.
However, don't just "throw" education and training at your people in a random fashion. Instead,
organise and structure your training so that it makes sense for the company and the individuals
who work for you.
Take time to explore your employees' different needs and the best way to meet those needs.
There are many ways to help your people with personal growth that not only make a difference
in their lives, but bond them more closely to the organisation.
Training and education can include:
in-house curriculum for skills training and development
outside seminars and workshops
paying for college and continuing education
CD/DVD, podcast and online learning
having employees present workshops in their areas of expertise
bringing in outside experts to educate employees about subjects that affect their
The last bullet point above offers a real opportunity for employers to differentiate themselves
and have a big impact on employee retention. For example, most people own a car. Yet, how
many really know how to buy car insurance? Set up a brown-bag lunch that teaches people the
ins and outs of car insurance and how to get the best buy.
When you offer these kinds of learning opportunities, it sets you apart from other employers and
shows that you truly care about your employees. It's one thing to provide training that helps
them to do a better job because your company benefits from it. It's another thing altogether to
offer education on how employees can improve their lives. They don't expect that. It shows that
you care about them as people, not just as workers who can make money for you.
Other recommended employee support strategies include:
Establish a learning culture.
Create individual learning plans.
Encourage people to join professional and trade associations.
Invest in career planning.
Operate a corporate mentoring programme.
Provide incentives for learning.
Take advantage of internet learning.
5. Employee compensation strategies
Effective employee compensation strategies stem from one fundamental principle: money alone
will not retain most employees. In the old days, companies essentially paid people for their time.
Today, more and more companies pay for performance – in every position, not just sales. To
retain employees, your compensation plan needs to incorporate this trend.
Pay-for-performance plans come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but they all involve two basic
activities: defining the job and checking performance against expectations.
When people exceed expectations, give them a bonus. It helps to lay the plan out ahead of time
so that employees understand your expectations and know what they have to do to get the
bonus. But make sure you base it on predefined profit goals, so that you don't pay out if the
company doesn't make money.
If you're not offering some type of incentive or pay-for-performance plan, you're putting your
company at a terrible disadvantage.
Smart employers use a variety of hard (monetary) and soft (non-monetary) employee
compensation strategies to make it difficult for other companies to steal their people away.
Discuss total employee compensation (salary, benefits, bonuses, training, etc.).
Design reward systems to stimulate employee involvement.
Use flexible employee benefits to respond to a changing workforce.
Offer stock options.
Offer time off, sabbaticals and other forms of non-financial employee compensation.
Provide childcare and/or eldercare.
Provide employee assistance programmes.
Arrange for discounts on purchases.
Arrange for professional services.
Fund fitness club memberships.
Keep in mind that employee compensation constitutes only one piece of the puzzle. If all the
other pieces – the environmental, relationship, support and growth strategies – don't fit together
into one interlocking whole, you won't be able to pay people enough to work for you.
In today's market, employees have control. They say: "You're lucky to have me working for
you." If you don't believe that and treat them accordingly, they will quickly find another employer
who will. That's why you need to have all five of these employee retention strategies in place.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist
advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.
Your resource for creating a retention-rich organization
culture that attracts, engages and builds lasting loyalty
among today’s most talented employees.
What sets Employee Retention Strategies apart is a steadfast philosophy that:
Uses only research-based, theory-supported approaches to improving employee engagement. Avoided
are gimmicks such as employee of the month, suggestion boxes, prizes or other “carrots.” While
commonly used, these short-term fixes fail to produce genuine employee loyalty (more than 60 years’
of research tells us so!).
Employs an easy-to-understand systems approach to ensure the root causes of turnover are addressed
and the potential for lasting change unleashed.
Customizes all activities to your organization’s unique history, current practices and strategic
objectives. Also considered are challenges unique to your industry sector, competitive marketplace
issues and talent shortages.
Involves those responsible for implementing change in actually creating the change, ensuring input
and improved shared understanding and support of all initiatives.
Integrates hands-on, action-oriented approaches that enable organizations to move forward quickly
Recognizes the research-proven role of no-cost strategies in developing the “glue” that builds
employee loyalty and commitment.
Brings to your organization leading-edge organization-development best practices to effectively and
quickly build a retention-rich culture.
The Employee Retention Strategies newsletter, which gained this website the No. 1
positions on Google and Yahoo during its publication in the early part of this
decade, was a nationally noted source for research-based, fact-driven guidance on
enhancing employee retention. (Back issues still are available). From that research
come approaches built on a solid foundation of what works (and what doesn’t) to
gain the commitment of employees in all industries and economic sectors.
Added to this base are leading-edge organization-development methodologies to
bring your organization’s strengths to the fore, to rekindle the dynamic potential of
your company to meet today’s challenges and to rebuild workforce commitment to
the heart of your organization’s mission.
Spend time reading the topics on this site. Understand more about what truly
contributes to employee engagement and retention. Then, call for an individual
discussion of your organization’s unique retention agenda.
The purpose of this document isto set out the employee
attraction and retention policy for
theUniversity of FortHare.
1.2.Strategic objectives ofthe university
It is generally agreed that the achievement of the
dependent on its ability to attract and retain high calibre
individuals. This is particularly
important with regard to defined critical occupations,
strategically critical individuals and
ensuring adequate succession.
2.1.Attraction and retention rests on the following key
2.1.1. Managing people wellto ensure directed andmotivated
2.1.2. Paying people competitively and rewarding superior
2.1.3. Developing people and retaining the best by providing
perpetual learning and
2.1.4. Establishing a work‐life culture and climate thatis
attractive and supportive.
2.2.Each of the four principles hasto be weighed and balanced
within a practical attraction and
Attraction and retention policy operates within the boarder
initiatives of talent management.
These include, but are not limited to, skills development, staff
performancemanagement, employment equity and employee
4.1.A formal collaborative process between Human Resources
and Line Management will be
employed to identify candidates, but attraction and retention
remains primarily the
responsibility ofthe Line Management.
4.2.Attraction and retention initiatives will include monetary
and non‐monetary interventions,
and will be approached objectively and holistically.4.3.The
University shall recruit strategically‐critical individuals whose
attraction and retention
are critical to ensure the achievement of key strategic goals.
Although not mandatory,
candidates in this group are likely to be senior decision makers.
The identification of these
key individuals is based on a set of guiding criteria which rests
within the discretion of the
Executive Management Team.
4.4.The University shall identify certain succession candidates.
This category comprises a group
of individualsidentified forsuccession purposes as
demonstrated by their performance and
potential, inclusive of the employment equity candidates. This
involves identification of
individuals with potentialto advance to key positions within
4.5. The University shall adopt market and best practices in its
initiatives to attract and retain
employees. This will be achieved by retaining employees who
see the University as a great
place to work in and this is determined largely by the quality of
leadership and good
management practices which entail:
4.5.1 Remunerating employees well
4.5.2 Rewarding exceptional performance
4.5.3 Developing employees
4.5.4 Communicating openly and sharing information
4.5.5 Caring fortheir employees
4.5.6 Recognizing achievement publicly and celebrating
4.5.7 Nottolerating poor performance
4.5.8 Developing and maintaining a reputation as being “an
employer of choice”. This
reputation is often best promoted by own employees
4.6.Learnerships and Interns. As part of promotion of skills
development, the University as an
academic institution shalltake a lead in encouraging
faculties/departments and unitsto take
on board learnerships and interns. The Human Resources shall
champion this cause by
ensuring that atleast one percent of employees are on
learnership programs and interns are
scattered around the faculties/departments and units.
5.1.In attracting and retaining of employees,theUniversity shall
employ the following actions:
5.1.1. Monetary interventions. Salary surveys will be used to
benchmark salaries and
benefits accurately with at least one standard salary survey for
all staff categories
5.1.2. Guaranteed salary. To maintain competitive guaranteed
salaries of employees with
critical occupations on the 75th percentile of the national
market for certain staff
categoriesindicated in 4.3 and 4.4 above. Senior managers must
continually ensurethat they have up to date information with
regard to employeesin the criticalskills
category and ensure thattheir packagessupportretention.
5.1.3. Exit and retention interviews. Turnover of staff will be
reviewed quarterly and
interpreted by the Executive Director: Human Resources who
will identify and
address areas of concern with regard to remuneration in
consultation with other
senior managers. The Executive Director: Human Resources will
report to Executive
Management Team from time to time. Line Managers shall
interviews as an on‐going interaction to ensure that the
issues whichmay increase the risk oflosing key skills.
5.1.4. Market Premium on Guaranteed Salary. In certain
defined cases, it may be
necessary to pay a market premium to attract or retain skills
occupations. This should be decided by the Vice‐Chancellor and
Director:Human Resouces according to the following
22.214.171.124. The market premium is used primarily when the market
126.96.36.199. The market premium isset at a maximum amount of up
to 15% above
current guaranteed salary
188.8.131.52. The market premium is defined as a separate item in
package, distinctfromthe guaranteed salary
184.108.40.206. The market premiumis not guaranteed and can be
removed or adjusted
in consultation with the employee as circumstances dictate or
guaranteed salary is broughtin line withmarkettrends
5.1.5. Benefits. Thisincludesthe following benefits:
220.127.116.11 Pension/ Providentfund
18.104.22.168 Medical aid
22.214.171.124 Group life
126.96.36.199 Housing subsidy
188.8.131.52 Staff housing where employees pay nominalrental
184.108.40.206 Study assistance for employees and their dependants
220.127.116.11 Research/sabbatical leave
18.104.22.168 Sick leave
22.214.171.124 Staff development leave
5.2. Non‐monetary Interventions. These depend on
managementskill and effort, are often less
tangible and are also far harderto copy.
5.3.Management interest and accessibility. A culture of caring,
knowing and interest can be
established if the leadership and the middle management and
supervisory personneldevelop this behavior as a strength that
adds significantly to retention and well‐being of
6. PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT
6.1.While high performance and critical skills may be rewarded,
poor performance must be
adequatelymanaged. Marketleading practicesthrivein a high
6.2.Personnel and Career Development. Personal and
intellectual challenge rate as a top
priority amongst skilled employees. The University is in the
position to aid attraction and
retention ofskills and key employees by providing:
6.2.1 Formaltraining bymeans ofsubsidized study assistance
6.2.2 International; exposure/ experience bymeans ofseminars
6.4 Quality of Life. The University boasts an environment that
enhances the quality of life. The
University provides facilities which include clean office
environment, security, housing units,
subsidized water and electricity, subsidized staff meals during
office hours, sports and
6.5 Support Services. The University provides quality support
services including, Human
Resources, Administration, Payroll, Technical and Information
Technology Support which
reduces bureaucracy and enhances quality of life.
Managersshall receive constant coaching
on management of subordinates as their behaviour is a key
determinant of how people
experience their immediate work lives. Managersshall take
steps to promote a positive and
enabling climate for performance to take place.
6.6 Recognition. The University shall create a well managed
recognition program that can
contribute towards considerable contribution to the well being
of employees and the culture
7.1.The governance and managementstructure regarding
attraction and retention initiativesis
made up ofthe following:
7.1.1 Line Management shall be responsible for the preparation
motivations andmanagement ofstaff.
7.1.2 Human Resources Division shall be responsible for
receiving and proposing
selection criteria,reviewing all nominations prior and preparing
for approvalto the Vice‐Chancellor.
7.1.3 The Vice‐Chancellor: all issues regarding attraction and
retention will be
approved by the Vice‐Chancellor.8. CONTROL,
8.1 The attraction and retention initiatives are subject to sound
and accountable management
practices. These will be achieved through:
8.1.2 Control: The attraction and retention process will be
facilitated by the Executive
Director: Human Resources who will review turnover reports ,
surveys and any other
information and willreportformally to the Executive
8.1.3 Reporting: The formalreports mentioned above in 8.1.1
will be tabled every six
months and will detailthe status of attraction and retention as
well as recommendation
8.1.4 Auditing: Internal audit will be conducted into
remuneration practices for the
attraction and retention candidates once a year to ensure
compliance and sound
practice. A formalreport will be issued to the Audit Committee
How to Improve Employee
As the economy revives, companies with dissatisfied employees will
experience a swift exodus of their top talent. Here's how to keep your staff
engaged and happy.
In a down economy, employees have fewer opportunities to take a job at another
company, but entrepreneurs would be remiss to take their fingers off the pulse of
company morale simply because employees have fewer options. "Companies that
don't think about [employee retention], that basically rest on their laurels and think
'the economy will take care of us, where are they going to go?' Those are the
companies that, as soon as the labor market picks back up, their turnover rates are
going to go from 5 percent to 50 percent and it will happen overnight," says Mark
Murphy, author of The Deadly Sins of Employee Retention and CEO of Leadership
IQ, a Washington D.C.-based executive education firm.
So what's one of the biggest reasons people quit their jobs? "One of the major
reasons is being dissatisfied with their supervisor," says Linda Argote, a professor of
organizational behavior at Carnegie Mellon and editor-in-chief of Organization
Science. And in the cramped confines of a small business, that relationship can
create even more of a strain. "In bigger companies there are more opportunities to
move to other jobs if you're dissatisfied with a particular supervisor but like the firm,
whereas smaller companies may have less options so they run the risk of losing the
employee," Argote adds.
How to Improve Employee Retention: Motivation is Not Enough
Bonuses, vacation days, office parties, and many of the tools in a business owner's
arsenal revolve around rewarding employees for a job well done and motivating
them to produce similarly stunning results in the future. But Murphy says that
leaders who dole out these types of perks are only focusing on half of the picture.
There are "two issues generally going on with employees at any given time: there are
'shoves,' things that demotivate people, and then there are 'tugs,' the things that
motivate you, that tug at you to stay at the organization," he says. While these factors
will differ for every employee, leaders often make the mistake of focusing on the
motivators without adequately considering what rubs people the wrong way.
Dig Deeper: Recruiting and Retention Secrets of Inc. 500 Alumni
How to Improve Employee Retention: Keeping the Employee Satisfied
Even if you resolve to be more attuned to employee likes and dislikes, it can be
difficult to ascertain what drives your employees especially when their motives differ
from your own.
In the last 10 years, as CEO of Engage Direct Mail, Dennis Hoffman learned the hard
way that "I never know what's inside people's heads. I used to assume everybody's
ambitious because I'm ambitious and that everybody's motivated by money because
I'm motivated by money, and I've learned through painful experience that that's not
Despite Hoffman's self-professed learning curve, his company actually has a stellar
retention rate for its 130 employees. Engage has a 90-day trial period during which
they evaluate whether new hires are good fits for the company. During that time
their retention rate is about 77 percent and afterwards it is over 95 percent, which is
about as good as you can get. After all, "zero percent turnover is not a thing to aim
for," Murphy explains. You want to retain your high performers and strong matches
and gracefully part ways with your worst performers.
Dig Deeper: Attracting Top Tech People to a Small City
How to Improve Employee Retention: Attracting the Right Candidates
Over the years, Engage has implemented a number of policies that serve the dual
purpose of attracting potential employees and keeping current ones passionate and
committed. Here are a handful of examples:
Engage gives hiring priority to people who live near the office because they
believe that long commutes are detrimental to work-life balance.
Instead of a traditional vacation policy, the company lets employees take time
off from a leave bank, in which they can accumulate as many as 60 days off to
use as they see fit. This policy has helped with employee retention,
particularly by making it easier for female employees starting families to take
time off and ultimately return to work.
During the hiring process, Engage administers the DISC Personality test,
which charts the four characteristics, drive, influence, steadiness, and
compliance, to build personality profiles for new hires. All employees' test
results are public knowledge, which Hoffman feels helps people understand
one another and get along.
By setting quarterly goals with rewards attached, such as iPods for the whole
team or a trip to a nice restaurant, Engage can encourage employees beyond
the competitive, and potentially divisive realm of salary bonuses. The group
nature of these rewards is important, says Hoffman, because "somebody who
is not motivated by getting an iPod knows that other people in his or her
group are and doesn't want to let them down."
In addition to spurring employees to productivity, this team structure can make
them happier in the workplace. Argote says, "there's evidence that being in cohesive
work groups where members like each other reduces turnover."
Talent management, work-life balance and retention strategies
Maintaining a stable workforce is a key element in effective talent management strategy and yet
over the years this has been something of a challenge for hospitality and tourism operators.
Research into the retention of talented staff is ongoing and this article examines the findings
from such research to put forward strategies for industry consideration.
There are four key themes to the current research. Firstly, the article examines the literature on
models of turnover and the subsequent implications of these models. Seminal work by
researchers such as Porter and Steers (1973), Mobley et al. (1979) and Price (1977)has
underpinned work in this area by Cotton and Tuttle (1986), Griffeth and Hom (1995), Deery and
Iverson (1996), Deery and Shaw (1999) and Ghiselli et al. (2001), these latter three being
located in the hospitality and tourism industry. Much of this research examines the role that
constructs such as organisational commitment and job satisfaction play in contributing to
employees' intentions to leave an organisation. The second theme addresses the personal
attributes of job stress and turnover intentions play in the decision to leave an organisation.
The third theme emerging from the literature examines the role that work-life balance (WLB)
plays in employee turnover. Work by Wang and Walumbwa (2007), for example, investigates
the role that family friendly programs have on work withdrawal, while Dagger and Sweeney
(2006) specifically focus on quality of life issues and employee turnover. Finally, research on the
fourth theme on strategies to achieve higher retention rates is discussed. Maxwell's
(2005) research, for example, into the role of managers in WLB policies and practices informs
this fourth theme.
This article, then, scopes the literature to identify past and ongoing debates around
perspectives, causes, solutions and organisational strategies surrounding labour turnover and
identify the implications of these for approaches to talent management. The article focuses
around four themes that appear frequently in the hospitality employee turnover literature. These
are the role of job attitudes such as job satisfaction and organisational commitment, personal
attributes such as positive and negative affectivity, the role of WLB in employee intention to
leave and, finally, the strategic role that organisational activities such as training and career
development can play in retaining staff.
Theme 1: job attitudes
The constructs of job satisfaction and organisational commitment have been consistently found
to influence employee turnover and have underpinned studies by Tutuncu and Kozak
(2007), Robinson and Barron (2007) and Carbery et al. (2003). Much of the debate in previous
research has focused on whether it is organisational commitment or job satisfaction that has the
greatest influence on employee turnover and, although this issue is examined in the hospitality
literature cited here, other issues relating to these job attitudes are also incorporated into the
studies. For example, the work by Carbery et al. (2003) investigate that the psychological
contract, career expectations and managerial competencies have in the decision to leave an
organisation. In concluding, the authors found that ―a combination of demographic, human
capital, psychological attributes and hotel characteristics, explain significant variance in turnover
cognitions of hotel managers‖ (p. 671).
Robinson and Barron (2007), on the other hand, focus on the issues of deskilling and
standardisation that lead to a lack of job satisfaction and organisational commitment and
ultimately to the decision to leave the organisation. Research by Tutuncu and Kozak
(2007) concur with these findings, noting that the work itself, the pay and supervision within the
hotel industry can lead to job dissatisfaction and then employee turnover. Many of these studies
use the job descriptive index (JDI) by Smith et al. (1969), in which the key components of job
satisfaction are the work itself, pay, co-workers, supervision and an overall job satisfaction
variable. The work by Walmsley (2004), for example, uses the JDI dimensions testing the
perceptions of these aspects according to both employers and employees. Substantial
differences were found between their perceptions. Gustafson's (2002) study on employees in
private clubs in USA confirms the role that low pay, and the opportunity for better pay, plays in
the decision to leave an organisation. In addition to these considerations, Lam et al. (2002) also
focus on the role that mentoring and training play in new employees' decisions to leave an
organisation. Importantly, they have found that training new employees significantly mitigates
their desires to leave the organisation.
Finally, the work by Ghiselli et al. (2001) and Stalcup and Pearson (2001) examine the causes
of turnover using management data. Lawrence and Pearson's study is particularly interesting in
that it examines both voluntary and involuntary causes. They note the similarities and
differences between the causes cited by the employees and those cited by the organisation. In
terms of differences, none of the employees cited a lack of skills or a lack of motivation as a
cause, whereas the managers cited these as important influences on the decision to leave.
Managers, on the other hand, did not cite integrity or the ethics of the property as causes, as did
the employees. There were, interestingly, more similarities than differences between the two
surveys and issues such as the organisational culture and work-life conflict were cited in both.
Research by Ghiselli et al. (2001, p. 36) also examines the role that job satisfaction and life
satisfaction has on the turnover decision. They found that ―managers who were more satisfied
with the intrinsic components of their jobs, more satisfied with their life and (relatively) older
were less likely to leave their position imminently‖ (Table I).
Theme 2: personal employee dimensions
The second theme focuses on attitudes that the employees have that contribute to their desire
to leave an organisation. Psychological dimensions such as job burnout and exhaustion were
examined by Lee and Shin (2005) where the job burnout construct used had the three
components of emotional exhaustion, depersonalisation and diminished personal
accomplishment. Emotional exhaustion, on the other hand, refers to a lack of energy ―due to
excessive psychological demands‖ (p. 100). Their study used a number of other dimensions
including examining the role of positive and negative affectivity on an employee's intention to
leave. The authors found that turnover intention was positively correlated with negative
affectivity, workload, exhaustion and cynicism. These items were negatively correlated with
vigour, dedication and absorption. In their regression analysis, the items of cynicism and
workload were the significant predictors of turnover intentions.
The research by Karatepe and Uludag (2007) also tests, among others, the relationship
between exhaustion and employees' intention to leave the organisation. Their study found that
frontline employees who had difficulty in spending time with their family or in keeping social
commitments were likely to be emotionally exhausted. This, in turn, impacted negatively on their
job satisfaction and ultimately influenced their intention to leave the organisation. Karatepe and
Uludag discuss the relationship between these personal employee dimensions and WLB and
the implications of these findings are discussed in the next section.
The final article discussed in this section is that by Rowley and Purcell (2001). While this article
examines a number of causes and strategies relating to employee turnover, it does elaborate on
the impact that stress and job burnout have on the employees' intentions to leave an
organisation. In particular, these authors specify the impact that job overload, through
―deliberate understaffing, temporary staff shortages and unrealistic task criteria‖ (p. 169),
together with impact of bullying, has on retention rates in hotels. Table II provides a summary of
the key literature in the area of personal employee dimensions.
In summary, then, the pressures that hospitality and tourism employees are under appears to
significantly contribute to employee turnover and the lack of staff retention. The excessively long
hours, style of management and conflict between work and family life, present barriers to
making the tourism work environment an attractive and stable one. The toll that the conflict
between work and family/life for hospitality and tourism employees, is discussed in the next
Theme 3: work-life balance
The issues relating to obtaining a WLB have received substantial attention over recent years,
especially in the area of contemporary organisational research. Less attention, however, has
been given to researching the impact of WLB in the hospitality area (Mulvaney et al., 2006).
These authors discuss the impact that non-work factors such as job stress and burnout have on
an employee's intention to leave an organisation and, in particular, they focus on the roles that
job stress, work-family conflict and the characteristics of the job have on this vital decision. Their
research, together with that of Mulvaney et al. (2006) has more recently provided the
underpinning for future work in this area. Their model, presented here in Figure 1, includes
many of the variables frequently associated with the antecedents of employee turnover,
variables such as the long and irregular hours.
These authors suggest that the levels of conflict between work and family will be impacted or
moderated by the levels of support employees (in this case, managers) receive, the personal
attributes they bring to the job, the industry norms and the way all these components are
managed in the workplace. Mulvaney et al. (2006), Cleveland et al. (2007), Namasivayam and
Zhao (2007) andKaratepe and Uludag (2007), together with Rowley and Purcell (2001), argue,
in various ways, that these components work to effect job satisfaction and organisational
commitment and ultimately lead to employee turnover.
The research note by Cullen and McLaughlin (2006, p. 510) offers a different perspective on the
WLB issue. Cullen and McLaughlin discuss the notion of ―presenteeism‖ defined as ―an
overwhelming need to put in more hours or, at the very least, appear to be working very long
hours‖. They argue that there are three rationales that reinforce presenteeism as a managerial
value in hotels. These rationales are that firstly, it appears to be the belief of hotel managers
that they have a duty to provide emotional support to their staff and need to be available to
provide counselling. The second rationale is that hotel managers see themselves as the face of
the hotel and need to be continually present to be this. Finally, the authors argue that it is the
very nature of the industry, the constancy and complexity of running a hotel that is open at all
times, that makes it appear vital that managers be available for excessive long hours. All of this
―presenteeism‖ of, impacts negatively on life satisfaction and the WLB (Table III).
The issues surrounding WLB, those of the long hours, the exhausting work and the stress that
arises from customer related activities are only just being examined in any substantial way in
the hospitality industry. Interestingly, however, there is sound literature on the success or
otherwise of initiatives to combat this issue of WLB and this is addressed in the next theme that
examines the strategies to reduce employee turnover.
Theme 4: organisational strategies to assist employee retention
This theme, that of the organisational strategies to assist in retaining employees, comprises the
largest number of articles for the purposes of this article. Many of the research studies focus on
the functional human resources (HR) activities such as recruitment and training. Examples of
these are from Collins (2007), Dermody et al. (2004) Reynolds et al. (2004) and Martin et
al. (2006) who focus on the important role that appropriate recruitment plays in retaining good
staff. Improving the quality and quantity of hospitality staff appears to be dependent on
improving the image of the industry, together with more strategic ways of managing work rosters
and workloads. Demody et al. argue that hourly paid staff are best motivated and attracted to
the industry through incentive pay programs and innovative benefits such as cash bonuses,
flexible work schedules and mentoring programs. Hospitality recruiters need to be more aware
of the skills and attributes such as computing and language skills required by the hotel during
the recruiting phase – basic allowance for sustenance rates (BAS, 2007) argues that many
recruiters are not sufficiently strategic in this area.
Another HR function, and therefore a potential retention strategy, that receives attention in the
literature is that training. Research byChiang et al. (2005) examined the relationship between
training, job satisfaction and the intention to stay in the hospitality industry. The findings suggest
that training quality was positively related to training satisfaction, job satisfaction and intention to
stay. Related to the concept of training is that of education and the type of training given by
training providers such as universities and vocational institutions. A study by Hjalager and
Andersen (2001) explores the difficult question of whether tourism employment is merely
contingent, temporary work or whether it is actually a career. These authors address this
question through examining research sites in restaurant and catering, accommodation and
travel services. They conclude by stating that:
Due to its structure, rapid shifts and the social character of its jobs, tourism seems to be an
industry that, more than any other industry in the economy, attracts the ultramobile, the virtual,
and the boundaryless (p. 128).
They also suggest, however, that due to the lack of research into the ways that careers and
professions develop, it is possible that the industry may develop into what we would now
consider to be a profession. Such findings are most informative and perhaps suggest that
vocational training and on-the-job training would be more appropriate for the industry. Such
findings also have ramifications for the way we view the turnover rates in the industry. The work
by O'Leary and Deegan (2005), examining the career progression of Irish tourism and
hospitality management graduates, in many ways confirms the findings of Hjalager and
Andersen as does that by Pratten and O'Leary (2007) who argue that hospitality and tourism
students need to be encouraged to look further afield than those promoted by their training
The approach taken by Wildes and Parks in their research on food servers, looks at the
influence that internal marketing has on employee retention. They argue that building strong
relationships within the organisation reduces turnover and, furthermore, promotes
recommending behaviour of employees of the hotel to friends. Interestingly, and contrary to the
work by Hjalager and Andersen (2001), a third of the food servers saw their jobs as professions
and as having a career.
The area that has most recently been a focus for examination regarding the retention of staff is
that of the role that balancing working and family life has in turnover decisions. The research
by Doherty (2004) and Maxwell (2005) provide insights into the link between the work-life
conflict and employee turnover. Maxwell suggests that managers are key to the initiation and
implementation of WLB policies with some of those policies being the introduction of flexible
working hours and arrangements, providing better training, breaks from work and better work
support. All these strategies not only address WLB issues but also enhance employee retention.
Doherty also examines WLB strategies, especially as they relate to women, and notes that such
strategies may only assist women hen the labour market is tight. She argues, too, that a
stronger equal opportunities approach is problematic in that it draws attention to the difference
between men and women's working preferences and needs. She suggests that there be a
greater and clearer set of rights as well as assisting male managers to provide more balanced
lives for both male and female workers (Table IV).
The literature pertaining to the retention of staff has, over the last years, focussed on traditional
causes such as the lack of job satisfaction and organisational commitment. In addition, the role
that stress and various components of stress such as emotional exhaustion and job burnout,
has taken a more ―front-of-stage role‖ in being identified as a significant cause of employee
turnover. Stress has frequently been incorporated into studies on turnover, but the literature
presented here suggests that it is now being perceived as an issue/variable in its own right. The
various components of stress, emotional exhaustion and job burnout such as cynicism and
sabotage have received greater attention than previously given. Such a focus suggests that
stress and its various parts is a growing concern for both the industry and researchers and its
impact in employee retention, or lack thereof, is an area that demands more attention by both
industry and the academic community.
The most recent addition to the research into employee retention is the role that obtaining a
balance between work and life has in an employee's decision to remain with the organisation. It
would appear that the conflict between these important dimensions of human activity can cause
both job dissatisfaction and hence an intention to leave the organisation as well as causing
conflict with family members and family activities. Strategies to ameliorate these tensions have
been introduced into a number of organisations, but there is still substantial improvement and
trailing of such initiatives to ensure a better balance.
Strategies to ensure a WLB are among many that have been suggested in the literature to
retain staff. The most common strategies put forward, apart from the WLB ones, focus on the
role that recruitment and training have in improving job satisfaction and organisational
commitment and hence employee intention to stay. What is concerning, However, is that these
strategies have been suggested to assist in employee retention for some time now and yet,
there appears to be little improvement in the rates of employee retention. It is possible,
therefore, that strategies such as more focussed recruitment strategies and better quality
training programs need to be combined with other elements to achieve the most effective
outcome. Figure 2 brings together the various themes and strategies from the literature to
suggest a more holistic framework for improving employee retention rates.
The framework presented in Figure 2 provides organisations with a more holistic method of
examining the causes or low employee retention as well as suggesting ways to improve job
satisfaction and organisational commitment. Such a framework requires further examination of
each of the variables within the key categories of the organisational and industry attributes,
personal employee dimensions and improved organisation strategies. It is suggested here that
this framework should underpin future research in this area. Specifically, it is suggested that
organisations undertake a strategic approach to ameliorate employee turnover by firstly
addressing the organisational and industry attributes as outlined in Figure 2. More equitable and
flexible roistering of staff designed to alleviate the number of unsocial hours worked per
employee is a strategy within the control of the organisation. Similarly, the provision of
mentoring and a ―buddying‖ system of on-the-job training would assist in the professional
development of staff. Management need to be aware of the signs of employee stress and have
the capacity to provide counselling and stress management activities such as time out and
relaxation methods. Finally, it is argued that organisations need to monitor levels of stress and
work-life imbalance through longitudinal surveys; adopting these strategies provides an
opportunity to further the relationship between researchers and practitioners within tourism.
Implications for the workplace
The implications for the workplace in retaining staff from this review of the literature include a
range of actions at both the government and organisational level. Assuming that the previous
research is correct in that WLB issues impact negatively on staff retention, an imperative for
governments is to legislate, not only for minimum hours of work, but also maximum hours of
work. In Australia, for example, it has been found that according to the Relationships Forum
Australia report by Shepanski and Diamond (2007), more than 20 per cent of employees work
for 50 hours or more a week and more than 30 per cent work on the weekend regularly. Two
million Australians also spend at least 6 hours of family time on Sundays working, without
compensating for it during the week. At the organisational level, there are a number of actions
that can be adopted to retain good staff as well as assist in balancing work and family life.
providing flexible working hours such as roistered days off and family friendly starting
and finishing times;
allowing flexible work arrangements such as job sharing and working at home;
providing training opportunities during work time;
providing adequate resources for staff so that they can undertake their jobs properly;
determining correct staffing levels so that staff are not overloaded;
allowing adequate breaks during the working day;
having provision for various types of leave such as carer's leave and ―time-out‖
sabbatical types of leave;
rewarding staff for completing their tasks, not merely for presenteeism;
staff functions that involve families;
providing, if possible, health and well-being opportunities such as access to gymnasiums
or at least time to exercise; and
encouraging sound management practices.
These recommendations are made to assist organisations to retain their talented staff and to not
only retain them but to provide a more holistic experience that includes a balance between their
work environment and their home life. In so doing, employee turnover causes such as stress,
work overload, low job satisfaction and little organisation commitment can be alleviated and
retention rates of good staff improved.
Figure 1A prososed model of work-family issues for hotel managers
Table IVOrganisational strategies to assist employee retention
Best Practices for Employee Retention
Have you ever been tempted to explore ―greener pastures‖ with another prospective
employer? What keeps you trucking along at your current place of employment? These are
questions executives consistently try to head off with regards to the retention of their staff.
In an effort to learn best practices of employee retention, we went to the market and spoke
with several hospital pharmacy leaders who have been noted by their peers as some of the
nation‘s best at retaining top talent.
The HealthCare Initiative‘s Annual Hiring Survey reported that leaders from 47% of the
organizations that responded claimed retaining key employees was an issue that keeps
them up at night. Yet only 38% of organizations claimed to have formalized retention
programs in place. Common sense would tell us that those organizations with retention
programs in place would have higher rates of employee retention, right?
To our surprise, that wasn‘t necessarily the case. Rather, most organizations that reported
low-turnover rates in pharmacy, 5% or below, claimed to not have formalized retention
programs. After digging a bit further, we finally uncovered a common theme among these
institutions who consistently report low turnover rates. It seems that the actual culture in the
department was the most important factor contributing to the retention of employees. As
Suzanne Shea, Vice President of Pharmacy Operations for Cardinal Health Pharmacy
Solutions best put it, ―it‘s the warm fuzzies that make people feel good‖. It was also
apparent that these executives, in an effort to foster a strong, positive culture, would rather
cover shifts by relying on existing staff rather than making a hiring decision too quickly. ―We
don‘t just hire to the minimum specifications and we will work short rather than just taking
the next person off the street,‖ says Perry Flowers, System Executive, Patient Support and
System Pharmacy, for Memorial Hermann Health System in Houston, Texas. Taking a step
further in an effort to uphold a consistent, thriving culture, Mr. Flowers also went on to stress
the importance of taking time during new-hire orientation to teach concepts related to
business ethics, team member treatment, and philosophies upheld within the organization.
In organizations that continuously struggle with turnover, mostly those reporting rates
between 15-20%, management turnover rates were usually high. Obviously, this leads to a
lack of trust from employees which often is accompanied by lower morale, low employee
satisfaction scores, and ultimately higher costs associated with having to recruit more
employees. A culture either company-wide or within individual departments starts at the
top. Like a game of Jenga, when pieces are unstable at the top, the rest of the unit is sure
Top 10 Best Practices found at low turnover facilities:
Complete orientation program in the hospital and pharmacy department with 30, 60, 90 day
feedback. Director of Pharmacy makes sure to remain visible to new hire and is available
for questions and support.
Dedicated mentorship either assigned specifically to the new hire, or within each unit of the
pharmacy (e.g. IV Room, Decentralized Services, Central Pharmacy, etc.).
Management takes the time to know each employee on a personal level. ―A family culture
and not just a place to come get a pay check,‖ says Craig Frost, Director of Pharmacy at St.
Luke‘s Episcopal Hospital in Houston, Texas.
Opportunities for reimbursement upon completion of continued education such as Board
Certification. Flexible PTO to attend leadership conferences in an effort to support
continued professional development.
Management and Peer recognition in the form of hand-written notes, verbal recognition at
departmental or hospital-wide meetings.
Monthly all-staff departmental meetings to keep employees informed on the latest
happenings. Opportunity to present milestone awards and certificates of appreciation. Some
organizations have even created a Rewards and Recognition Committee.
Employee Satisfaction Surveys routinely taken allowing management to address concerns
early and often.
Management training programs providing opportunities for advancement within.
Hold Directors accountable for both developing a forced ranking of employees (A, B, C)
primarily based on job performance evaluations and an action plan to increase productivity
from low-performers and continuously challenge high performers.
Develop and maintain strong clinical programs.
The time we spent speaking with these Pharmacy Leaders has led us to believe that high
retention rates are a result of a positive, inviting culture more than anything else. Birthday
cake, a hello in the hallway, a ―great job‖ announced in front of peers at a meeting, are all
small gestures that apparently seem to go a very long way. I encourage you to go back to
your team today and take an objective look at the current state of your department‘s culture.
If you haven‘t already, begin implementing some of the best practices noted above, and you
will slowly but surely begin to see a difference in your rate of retention and overall employee
POLICY ON EMPLOYEE RETENTION
The Department of Public Works is committed to consistent
and effective service delivery through empowered employees.
A challenge facing the Department is the high vacancy rate
which has occurred through natural attrition, the impact of ,
transfers and promotions ofemployees to other Departments
and the difficulty of recruiting employees in the Department's
line function .
In order to reduce the high vacancy rate and to ensure an
improved and sustained service delivery the Department
commits to adopting a proactive approach towards the
retention of employees.
The purpose ofthis Policy is to facilitate the retention
ofcompetent employees within the Department, who are in
possession of a proven and consistent employment track
record. Retention of employees shall not be automatic and
will be at the discretion of the MEC or her/his delegate, aligned
to the Appointment Delegations in the Human Resource
Delegations of Authority, 2006.
The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996.
Public Service Act, 1994, as amended.
Public Service Regulations, 2001, as amended.
Employment Equity Act, 1998
Skills Development Act, 1998.
SCOPE OF APPLICABILITY
This policy shall apply to all employees of the Department of
Public Works - appointed in terms ofthe Public Service Act,
1994, as amended.
REASONS WHY EMPLOYEES LEAVE
5.1 Employees leave the Department for various reasons.
Some reasons are unavoidable and beyond the control of the
Department, examples being the death of an employee or for
personal reasons such as retirement, the employee's health or
5.2 On the other hand employee turnover is avoidable and
can be managed. These avoidable reasons for stafftumover
Financial considerations, where employees leave because they
are offered better salaries and/or benefits elsewhere.
Work Environment, where a poor work environment leads to
unhappy employees and makes other job opportunities
attractive to them. Examples of poor work environment are;
Low morale amongst employees and line managers,
Little or no motivation of employees,
Lack ofor limited strategic direction
Lack of leadership or communication,
Poor work challenges and
Lack of empowerment opportunities for employees.
Career Development, where employees cannot grow within
their existing work environments and pursue career
Affirmative action and employment equity, due to skills
shortages amongst historically disadvantaged groups, there is
competition and even poaching for those employees who have
the acquired skills to ensure compliance to the employment
Resistance to change, where employees leave the Department
as they do not agree or cannot adapt to the changes in the
Leadership and management style, where employees leave the
Department as they believe the management style is stifling
growth or where managers are not people-focused. In some
situations employees growth are stifled due to inaccurate
performance assessments and the failure to identify
appropriate development opportunities.
Lack of effective communication and grievance procedures,
also result in employees becoming disillusioned and frustrated
resulting in employees leaving the Department.
IMPACT OF EMPLOYEE LOSSES
The impact to the Department resulting from employees
leaving cannot be measured, yet the costs to the Department
can be substantial when considering the following;
l) Loss of efficiency and impact on service delivery during
the employee's notice period.
2) The loss of organizational memory.
3) The costs incurred from recruitment and selection.
4) Increased training costs.
5) Loss ofefficiency and impact on service delivery during the
new employee's orientation and induction period.
CRITERIA FOR THE RETENTION OF EMPLOYEES
In order for retention to be applied consistently across the
Department, employees must comply with the following
criteria, which must be approved by the MEC or her/his
delegate as per the Appointment Delegations in the Human
Resource Delegations of Authority, 2006. It must be
emphasized that the retention of employees shall not be
automatic and shall be at the discretion of the Department.
7.1 All requests for an employee to be retained must be made
in writing, accompanied by relevant motivation and supported
by the respective responsibility manager, prior to the
employee assuming duty in the new position. Applications for
retention shall not be entertained if the employee has already
assumed duty in the new position.
7.2 Requests to retain employees on higher notches within
the employee's existing salary levels shall apply when the
employee has been offered a position where the salary notch
falls within the existing salary level. In this situation, the
retention offer shall constitute an additional eight notches
from the employee's existing notch or the maximum notch of
the salary range in respect of those employees who are less
than eight notches from the maximum notch of the salary level.
Notch progression shall not exceed the maximum notch of the
salary range and shall be applicable from the 1st day ofthe
month after approval has been obtained from the MEC: Public
Works or her/his delegate.
7.3 Requests to retain employees on higher salary levels shall
be considered subject to the availability of equivalent posts on
the approved organizational structure, on condition that the
vacant posts are funded and have been subjected to job
evaluation and that the employee being retained meets with all
appointment requirements specified for the higher graded
post. The effective date shall be applicable from the 1st day of
the month after approval has been obtained.
7.4 All requests for retention of employees must be subject to
written confirmation of the availability of funds to address the
additional expenditure that will be incurred 5 through the
retention, provided by the respective responsibility manager.
7.5 Preference should be given to those retention
applications which would promote transformation and
representivity in the Department, with priority being given to
occupations classified as scarce skills.
7.6 In a case where retention is required for an employee
who has attained the compulsory retirement age, such
retention shall be addressed through an additional to the
establishment arrangement where the employee shall enter
into a fixed term contract with the Department not exceeding
two years in duration.
ADDITIONAL RETENTION STRATEGIES OVER AND ABOVE
Employees are individuals who have different priorities and
requirements, thus remuneration is not the only strategy that
can be adopted to retain the services of an employee. Thus the
following retention strategies can also be adopted by
respective line managers to retain the services of an employee.
Both formal and informal orientation is important to an
employee to help them form impressions of the Department
and the people with whom they will be working, it provides the
employee with a sense of security and belonging resulting in
the employee wanting to remain in the Department and to
make a positive contribution.
8.2 EMPLOYEE PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT AND
DEVELOPMENT SYSTEM (EPMDS)
8.2.1 The timeous and correct implementation ofthe Approved
Employee Performance Management and Development
System may also serve to retain employees.
8.2.2 It is important that clear and realistic key performance
areas, activities, performance measures and outputs are
identified which will also be associated with timeous and fair
assessments of all employees.
8.2.3 EPMDS shall also be used to identify and address
employee development interventions which support the
employee in becoming a productive unit within the shortest
period of time possible.
8.2.4 Lastly, where employees have been identified as
deserving of recognition for awards and progression, such
recognition should be accorded timeously and in a manner
appropriate to the recognition.
PROVISION OF A CONDUCIVE WORKING ENVIRONMENT
8.3.1 Employees provided with the appropriate and reasonable
equipment, facilities and amenities in the workplace will be less
frustrated as they will be able to undertake the duties expected
from them, thereby eliminating the reason for them wanting to
leave the Department due to poor working conditions.
8.3.2 The consistent and appropriate implementation of
prescripts in the Departments, results in all employees being
treated equally, thus preventing employees from feeling as
though they are being prejudiced..
8.3.3 The provision and implementation of appropriate skills
development interventions and bursary opportunities aligned
to the applicable human resource development policies can
also serve to retain employees as employees realize and
appreciate the Department's commitment to employee
8.3.4 The management styles ofline managers also playa major
role in the retention of employees. Line Managers are
encouraged to; a) Develop and maintain open channels of
communication and promote information sharing,
b) Develop and maintain clear performance standards and job
c) Respect employees as individuals including their cultural
d) Recognise high achievers by awarding non-monetary awards
Certificates/letters of appreciation,
praise and allocation of more challenging duties
delegation of authority were necessary.
e) Develop and implement career management strategies,
f) Applying discipline consistently and fairly.
g) Exercise reasonableness and trust in the employee.
h) Deal with complaints and grievances in a prompt, fair,
consistent and progressive manner.
8.4 EMPLOYEE HEALTH AND WELLNESS PROGRAMS (EHWP)
As additional strategies to retain employees, the Department
shall also commit to undertake and host various employee
health and wellness programmes providing information and
awareness to employees on wide ranging social issues ranging
from financial planning and entrepeneurship skills to healthy
lifestyles, health awareness and alcohol and substance abuse
EMPLOYEE ASSISTANCE PROGRAMME (EAP)
The Department is also committed to supporting and assisting
employees through the Employee Assistance Programme,
whereby personlised services and interventions are rendered to
employees in need of assistance. All referrals shall be
confidential in nature and in terms of relevant prescripts.
8.6 TEAM BUILDING
To improve morale and team work within the Department, the
Department shall also undertake appropriate team building
sessions, subject to the availability of funds and approval from
the MEC: Public Works and/or her/his delegate.
8.7 IMPLEMENTATION OF EXIT INTERVIEWS
8.7.1 To further understand why employees are leaving the
Department and to try and prevent employees from leaving the
Department an Exit Interview Questionnaire, attached as
Annexure A shall be completed at least one month prior to the
employee leaving the Department by a representative from the
respective Human Resource Management Component either at
Head Office or the Region dependent on where the exiting
employee is based.
8.7.2 The Exit Interview Questionnaire shall thereafter be
forwarded to the Manager: Human Resource Management at
Head Office within five working days of completion thereof for
analysis and the development of appropriate strategies to
prevent future losses of employees.
9. ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
9.1 HEAD OF DEPARTMENT
To provide support of the retention strategies indicated in the
9.2 GENERAL MANAGER: CORPORATE SERVICES
To monitor and evaluate the implementation of retention
strategies and the impact against the vacancy rate of the
9.3 MANAGER: HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT
9.3.1 Provide advice and guidance regarding the provisions of
the Policy and ensure consistency in implementing the
provisions of the Policy within the Department.
9.3.2Monitor the number of employee retained within the
9.3.3 Evaluate, recommend and report on the outcome of the
9.4 LINE MANAGERS
As per the provisions in paragraph 8.3.4 above.
8 10. CONCLUSIO AND REVIEW
Compliance to the provisions of the Policy shall be undertaken
by the Human Resource Management Directorate at Head
Office, and the necessary corrective action shall be applied
where non-compliance has been observed. This Policy shall be
reviewed as and when the changes occur and shall remain valid
until such time as the changes have been approved and
How to Measure Employee Retention
Measuring how many employees chose to stay or leave your organization is, on the surface,
a straight-forward measure. But for this metric to be valuable in shaping your practices, and
therefore worth the effort of measuring, requires some clear judgments about who you want
to retain and why.