Retaining the right candidates

Employee relations
Priscilla Opuni BINEY

In previous series I shared some tips on how to hire the right candidate for any job. But what use is it, if after going through the stress of recruitment, your key employees exit? As much as getting the hiring process right, it is particularly important for employers to retain their staff so that key skills and experience are not lost.

Employers need to analyze the underlying reasons for staff departures and, if the departure rates are too high, establish a retention strategy. Retention strategies should be tailored to the specific underlying causes which are identified. Here I share some quite common strategies which usually helps to retain a company’s key employees.

  1. Involve employees in decisions that affect their jobs and the overall direction of the company whenever possible.

When people feel involved in decision making, especially in those decision that concerns them and the work they do, there is a high chance of obtaining employee buy-in, people will feel respected and will be motivated to stay longer.

  1. Recognize excellent performance, and especially, link pay to performance.

Humans as we are, we respond well to commendations and the proverbial “pat on the back”. Openly recognizing excellent performance as well as linking pay, bonuses etc. to performance is a great motivator for high performance and retention.

  1. Provide opportunities for career progression.

Every employee wants to grow, no one wants to be stagnant in life including their careers. The lack of career progression is one of the major reasons why employees leave their employers. Employers should provide career progression opportunities and effectively communicate them. Let the employees know what it requires to progress within the organization. People like to know that they have room for career movement.

  1. Provide the opportunity for Learning & Development.

Create opportunity for growth through training, cross-training, education, challenging projects and more.  Some Employees are hungry for lifelong learning, and such challenging assignments elicits excitement in serious employees. Also offer them the opportunity to share their knowledge through presentations, and mentoring others. These can cause them to stay longer.

  1. Keep Communication lines between management and employees open.

Employers should ensure that they effectively communicate their expectations, goals, and responsibilities of employees. Framing the vision and mission statements, the core values and hanging them nicely in the reception is ok, but it is essential to go beyond that to ensuring that employees imbibe these, they understand them and live them. This makes employees feel like they are part of the in-crowd.

  1. Provide the right resources for work.

Ensure the right staffing levels so as not to overwork your employees, manage overtime and prevent wear-out and burn-out. Also ensure the appropriate technological, transportation, furniture and other logistical requirements are provided. Imagine a sales team that does not have a vehicle to move around, they can do something but not much. Providing the right logistics makes employees feel supported to perform.

  1. Remuneration must be competitive.

Offer attractive, competitive benefits package with components such as life insurance, medical cover, and flexible hours.


It is essential to note that not all exits are regrettable. Comparing the employer’s total turnover rate and voluntary resignation rate with that of competitor employers within the same industry can help the employer to determine whether the level of turnover is acceptable, too high, or too low.

The writer is Head of HR at UMB Capital. She is passionate about Human Capital Development. She enjoys providing support for SMEs who cannot afford to set up full-scale HR Departments. She loves everything about People & Culture in the corporate environment.

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