Holding On: 3 Keys to Employee Retention


Recent national and global upheavals, such as Brexit and the pandemic, have not only had an economic impact but have also shifted attitudes around how we work, and how we feel about our work. Many employers are seeing the reverberations of this played out as a loss of workforce and a skills shortage.

So, why are people leaving their jobs or looking elsewhere for work? And how do you hold onto a good thing when you’ve got it? The main driver for an employee to leave their job is because they are unhappy in some way – stressed, overworked, underappreciated, or disengaged. More specifically, research shows that the top reasons include lack of mental health and wellbeing support, uncertainty around career progression, and feeling undervalued by their employer.

Now more than ever, employers need to tune in to how their people are feeling and what’s important to them. This is why the emotional analytics that we offer at Inpulse are so vital, helping you to better understand and engage your employees.

The Gen Z Factor

In collaboration with Imagen Insights, we recently carried out some research into the Generation Z workforce to understand what they want from their work and their employers, and certain key themes shine through:

  • Meaningful work and a clear career trajectory
  • Honesty and transparency from employers
  • Variety and opportunity to branch out
  • Mental health and wellbeing support
  • Diversity and inclusion
  • Flexible and remote working

So, with Gen Z dominating the incoming workforce, what can employers do to cultivate this kind of culture and keep their talent from walking out the door?

1. Keep Up Communication

Start out on the right foot. Effective, proactive, and human-centred onboarding immediately engages your new recruits with the vision and culture of your company and helps them feel that they are contributing something of value. But it’s also essential that you maintain regular, consistent and transparent communication channels throughout the employee lifecycle so that your people continue to feel seen, heard and valued.

Our regular pulse surveys are the best way to achieve this, giving you regular and measurable insights into how your employees are feeling and what actions you can take to keep them engaged and motivated.

Excellent communication, from the C-Suite to the ground level, helps employees to stay in step with the vision and mission of the organisation over time: what are they part of and why does it matter? When decisions are made, they can understand the reasons for these changes within the bigger picture. It helps to reduce anxiety around uncertainty or misunderstandings. Even better, actively involving your people in these conversations breeds the sense of collaboration, inclusion and co-creation that many Gen Zs are looking for.

2. Provide Opportunities for Growth

Encouraging people to share and develop their skills is a powerful way of maintaining engagement, motivation and loyalty. Ongoing opportunities for learning, growth and career development prevent people from feeling “stuck”. Most of us, and especially Gen Zs, value both variety and progression in our work, so this is a crucial step towards long-term retention. It benefits your employees as individuals and the company as a whole when you invest in your current talent pool, helping them to expand and sharpen their skillsets.

Again, this involves knowing your people. Find out what they are interested in learning or developing, and where they feel their weaknesses lie, so that you can provide opportunities of real relevance and value. If you just take a stab in the dark, you risk wasting time and resources on training that doesn’t translate into anything meaningful or impactful – and this in turn can breed resentment.

3. Equip Your Leaders and Managers

Both communicating well with your employees and investing in their development can be greatly facilitated by effective line managers. These are the people who can regularly connect with the people in their teams, provide a clear channel of communication, engage in real dialogue, develop strategies for personal and professional development, provide meaningful feedback, and check in with employee mental health and wellbeing.

In order to do this effectively, though, managers need to be trained and equipped in how to manage well. It’s not the case that someone who has been in the job for many years, and moved through the ranks to a managerial position, is necessarily a great manager. Your leaders and line managers need coaching in mental health awareness and wellbeing support, as well as how to foster trust through dialogue, and how to nurture their people to grow and develop. At Inpulse, we have a proven track record of equipping managers to do just that, through expert coaching.

Holding On to a Good Thing

A combination of excellent line management and regular pulse surveys provides employers with both qualitative and quantitative data to understand your people, identify trends over time, and inform your decisions and actions. At the same time, employees will value both the personal interchange and dialogue that an effective line manager can offer, and the efficiency and anonymity of a pulse survey for gathering their input.

Together, these form a foundation and a springboard for effective employee engagement throughout the entire employee lifecycle. And with these keys to retention in your back pocket, you stand a much greater chance of holding on to the best talent and realising its full potential.

Master Engagement Throughout the Employee Lifecycle