Employee Retention: 6 Ways To Keep Great Talent In Your Business (Part 1)

Employee retention has risen to be the #1 concern for the future workforce, according to the latest ICIS Base Oil Community report. Candidates with in-demand skills likely won’t have to wait long to find a new opportunity. Many companies within the lubricants industry never stopped hiring during the pandemic, and a lot that did are starting to expand staff levels again. If you sense your business is at risk of losing top talent, you need to move fast to shore up your employee retention strategies.

After 15+ years of placing candidates in a variety of senior roles, we’ve learnt some key retention strategies from our clients on how they keep hold of great talent.

Why are employees leaving?

Exit interviews can provide invaluable insight into the employee perspective of your company and help determine whether your employee retention strategies need improvement.

More than likely, you’ll hear the departing employee cite one or more of the following reasons for leaving their job:

  • Inadequate salary and benefits
  • Feeling overworked and/or unsupported
  • Limited career advancement
  • A need for better work-life balance
  • Lack of recognition
  • Boredom
  • Unhappiness with management
  • Concerns about the company’s direction or financial health
  • Dissatisfaction with the company culture
  • The desire to make a change
  • More desirable opportunities at other companies


1. Set a clear career path and framework

One employee complaint that crops up regularly is the lack of clarity over their career path and uncertainty on their potential for growth within the company.

To combat this, companies have learnt to firstly, understand what their employees’ goals and career paths look like for them. They find out where they see themselves in 1 and 5 years’ time, what further responsibilities they’d like to develop within the company, areas they’d like to gain more experience in, etc.

Understanding this then allows employers to work with staff to help them achieve these goals, by laying out a clear framework and plan for getting there. This includes providing any external training, experience opportunities, and monthly targets to hit.

In doing this, employees then feel invested in the company, which reduces their chances of wanting to jump ship and leave.

2. Give them training and development opportunities with creative freedom through ‘internal downtime’

Training and Development is a win-win for employers and employees. Employer’s benefit from a more skilled and productive workforce with retention of staff considerably higher as employee’s feel more valued, engaged and welcome investment in their professional development.

Google, one of the most innovative companies around, have been known to encourage their employees to spend 20% of their working week on side projects for the company.

Whilst we don’t think giving away 20% of employee hours is financially viable for many companies, even setting aside just 1-2 hours a week for creative downtime has many benefits.

Giving your best staff time to test out new ideas or ways of working could potentially lead to either new revenue streams or improved service.

3. Make employees feel a part of the company values

Have employees describe what the company’s core values mean to them as an individual and how they plan to use them in their everyday working life. Better yet, let them come up with the core company values, so they feel more empowered and part of the decision making process.

We’ve heard of employers who’ve previously demanded their staff live by their core values, through an ‘if you don’t like it then tough’ approach. However you want employees to feel a part of something, not feel like they’re in a regime, so taking a more inclusive approach can have a much greater impact.

4. Support employee wellbeing

The importance of empathy in the workplace can’t be overstated. Not only are 90% of employees more likely to stay with an organization empathetic to their needs, but they are willing to work longer hours. (60% would even take slightly less pay if it meant their employer was empathetic!)

You can practice being an empathetic employer in your daily interactions by putting yourself in others’ shoes. When communicating or decision-making, take a moment to reflect. If you were in their situation, what treatment would you like and respond best to?

On a macro-level, enshrine employee wellbeing by writing it into your company policy. For example, offering ample time for parental leave, annual leave, sick days and compassionate leave. To employees, these are things that eclipse the importance of work. Show them that they’re important to you too to boost morale and loyalty.

5. Pay them slightly above the market wage

Make employees feel valued right from the off by ensuring you offer hard to find talent at least slightly above the average market pay.

Whilst this may raise your initial recruitment costs, it’s been estimated that the true cost to replace an employee is upwards of 30K*, so it’s worth investing a little more from the start.

Plus, great people create more value.

6. Give thanks when thanks is due

Treating people how you like to be treated is a good barometer for making sure you are looking after staff the right way. Giving praise to employees when they’ve done a good job on something is such a simple thing, but it’s surprising how many managers forget to do this regularly, despite it being a key employee gripe.

Call out staff who’ve had big or even small wins in front of others – you don’t have to hand them an award or give a speech just a simple ‘good job’ can be enough to make someone feel valued and give them a boost of motivation.


Find out how we work with our clients to place the best-matched candidates here.