The key element to retain employees for the long-term

By Matt Weston 8th May 2018

In today’s skills crisis, every organisation in the UK is fighting a war to secure the best candidates. In a candidate-short market, it can be a struggle to source, interview and hire the best talent. But the task doesn’t end there – it’s critical that the employee starts their new career in the best way possible.

This process is more important than it sounds. Too many business leaders forget that talent management isn’t just about attracting talent – but retaining it too. And the strategy for retention should start from day one. The first six weeks after hiring are a crucial time, when up to 20% of employee turnover happens. Even more important to note is that UK employees would consider leaving a job within the first month due to poor management (54%), a misalignment of the job tasks compared to their expectations (50%), and if they feel they don’t gel with the corporate culture (29%).

Losing a worker can cause significant disruption and cost, not only in lost productivity and damaged morale among the wider team, but the need to retrain or redeploy other workers. And of course, at times you will need to start the hiring process from scratch to find a replacement.

Across the UK, over a quarter (27%) of UK employees opted to leave a job during their probation period due to a lack of proper onboarding. Given the global talent shortage, it’s essential for organisations to provide a well thought out onboarding experience for new employees if they want to avoid the problems that result when staff leave shortly after joining.

The key to retaining these staff is to invest in a winning onboarding process – one that makes new hires feel welcomed and valued.

So how should employers approach onboarding?

I would recommend that organisations take a proactive and structured approach to every employee’s first few weeks, whether it’s an entry-level member of staff or a highly experienced professional leading a team. This should include prep work before the employee stats, introductions and orientation on day-one, regular meetings, a business induction and regular catch-ups to make sure all is going well. Also include personalised elements such as developing individual goals and action plans to develop and reward the positive behaviours needed in the role.

Of all the roles managers play in an organisation, talent management is one of the most pivotal, particularly in the current candidate-driven market. The general expectation that candidates need to wow you isn't always the best solution when it comes to attracting and retaining employees today. Throughout the hiring process, you have enticed a candidate to accept your job offer, now that they are part of your organisation doesn't mean that your talent management plans come to a halt. Take the time to ensure the onboarding processes are as smooth and efficient as possible, and you’ll go a long way toward retaining the professionals you worked so hard to land.


Matt Weston, Managing Director, Robert Half UK

Matt has worked for Robert Half for more than 18 years; he began his career as a recruitment consultant for Robert Half Finance and Accounting in 1999. Matt quickly excelled as a top consultant and earned a number of prestigious awards including being recognised four times as Robert Half’s worldwide number one consultant. With extensive experience in financial recruitment in the UK, Matt is a familiar industry figure and a valuable spokesperson on current trends affecting the market. 

More From the Blog...