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Retain and Gain: Proactive Employee Retention Strategies

Updated: Jun 16, 2023

Written by Michaella Prow, Recruitment Partner

In this competitive candidate market, it’s even more important than ever to retain good employees to ensure the success of your organisation. Many employers leave it too late to find out why an employee is leaving, and whilst exit interviews have a place to identify any issues or areas you can improve in, it’s essential to be more proactive.


Retaining employees, means that you can invest and develop individuals, making the teams more productive and motivated, which strengthens your workforce and allows for company growth. It also saves money, as hiring and training new employees can be costly.


There are a number of ways that you can retain employees, through their employment journey with you, such as:

Provide a positive onboarding experience:

An employee’s first day is often seen as the ‘moment of truth’, where they find out if all the promises made to them during the recruitment process are brought to fruition. Your onboarding process should reflect the core values of your organisation, and aim to be as engaging as possible, utilising technology for ease. Getting this right means your employee is engaged from day 1 and set up for success!

Hold regular and constructive 1:1’s:

Consistency and adding value are the key points here. Setting regular times to catch up with an employee, and sticking to that, is important. Consider questions which will add benefit and insight, which may be different for each employee. Don’t just focus on the individual’s role, but also the bigger picture of the organisation. Example questions can include - Why did you decide to join us and are we living up to your expectations? If you were managing yourself, what would you do differently? Is there anything that frustrates you on a day-to-day basis? Is there anything we are doing that you feel could be improved? Is there anything that would entice you to leave us?

If we think about the reason we last left a job, it's likely that it started as a small issue or concern, but it snowballed as it wasn’t discussed / acknowledged, so it’s essential to have these ‘stay conversations’.

Offer Training & Development:

Offering training shows an employee that you are invested in them and want to support them in their development. This can be done through formal training such as registering them on an external skills based or personal development course, or more informally through offering internal mentoring and opportunities to step up into a leadership role to cover a managers leave.

Have regular team meetings:

This is something that builds connection and trust within teams. Again, it can be done formally in the workplace to discuss current activities, questions, concerns, or share knowledge related to work; or more informally though team building activities and a chance to just connect and catch up with each other.

Offer a competitive salary and benefits:

This is obviously a conversation that you have with a candidate when you make the initial offer to work with your organisation, but after that, the topic of remuneration is often swept under the carpet. As the employee grows and develops in their role, and as the external candidate market changes, it’s important to acknowledge that with your employee. Offering a current employee a pay rise, would be cheaper than going through a recruitment process to advertise, hire and onboard a new employee.

Encourage work life balance:

Flexible working and work life balance has become increasingly important for employees and is often cited as a reason for leaving employment. Offering a mental health day once a month, a paid day off on their birthday, or a slight adjustment to their hours so they can pick their child up from school once a week could make a big difference, and it won’t cost you a thing.

Show your appreciation:

Research shows that employees are more likely to leave their job if they feel underappreciated, so it’s important that employees know they are valued. It can be as simple as saying ‘good job on that project you completed yesterday’ or give them a bonus or a small gift thanking them for their contribution.

Which of these options you choose may depend on factors such as the sector you are in, the size of the organisation, the culture, the individuals’ personalities, and the employment type (such as casual, full time, part time); but research shows that adopting strategies like this will certainly increase your retention, which in turn strengthens your workforce and your brand.

If you would like to know more about how you can support your employees and provide a positive working environment, please contact us at Essential HR.

How can we help?

As specialists in human resource management and industrial relations, Essential HR assists Australian businesses navigate their way through the complexities around employing people.

To learn more how we can assist your workplace stay up-to-date and compliant by visiting our website at:

This information is of general guidance only and is not legal advice. Readers are encouraged to consider this information in their own context and with independent advice.


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