Climbing the mountain of employee retention

Stephen Woods

Stephen Woods

Digital Marketer

May 03, 2016

Climbing the mountain of employee retention

Stephen Woods, Digital Marketer
May 03, 2016

Our data shows that the employee retention journey is more a mountain of challenges than a steady path. So how can you keep your employees committed?

Being a business owner can sometimes feel like being a sherpa, guiding tourists up a mountain.

You think everyone is committed to reaching the summit, you’ve given them everything they need to get there, and you’re with them the whole way. But as they scramble up the steep slopes and winding paths, some of them stop thinking about achieving the summit, with its promise of a spectacular view and kudos. Instead, they’re looking for ways to avoid the effort to get there. Or they give up. So what can you do to keep your team going strong?

First, let’s look at your team’s stamina.

Is it any surprise a lack of retention strategy leads to high turnover?

More than over 50% of businesses don’t have a formal strategy to retain their employees according to the “What happens to key talent” report by Towers Watson in January 2015 . High-turnover means that businesses invest countless labour hours in hiring and training workers but then fail to realise the value of their efforts. In too many cases fully trained, high potential employees become disengaged with their work and voluntarily ‘turn over’.  As a business owner you’re left counting the cost as you start the hiring process once over.

9 month churn typical for most businesses

Deputy recently released our annual report on Employee Churn across Australia. We surveyed more than 7,500 employees who left their jobs in 2015 and,  we found that on average employees were leaving their companies after only 9 months service.

Such sobering figures highlight the growing issue of voluntary staff turnover faced by many companies. After 9 months employees can normally be expected to have matured into their roles and be contributing significantly to the performance of your business. But then some of them leave.

Losing key players can be incredibly damaging to any company, especially if you have a small team to start with.

  1. Skills drain – Departing workers are more likely to be the only ones possessing a particular skill or knowledge set.
  2. Morale drops – A small company’s culture suffers a more serious blow when an essential person leaves.
  3. Workload grows – There is a smaller internal pool of workers to cover the lost employee’s work and provide a replacement.
  4. Budget cut – The organization may have fewer resources available to cover replacement costs


How your industry rates for retention

Most at risk of losing staff in the short term are businesses in the hospitality sector. The National Restaurant Association in the US reported in March 2015 that as many as one third of US teenagers are employed in the restaurant industry.

A younger workforce coupled with the often seasonal nature of the hospitality business contribute to an average tenure of just 8 months . This compares to nearly 16 months for employees in the construction industry, where workers are often hired for multiple long term projects.




Will your staff want to stay or leave? 

Although the reasons employees might voluntarily leave your business are many and varied, there are plenty of things you can do to encourage good staff to stay.

Basically it comes down to a simple rule of relationships: do the positives outweigh the negatives? Or as SHRM puts it: employees tend to stay with a business if the number of inducements (satisfactory pay / good working conditions / opportunity for development) outweigh the number of contributions (time / effort).




So, the way to keep staff seems clear: help your employees feel empowered, challenged and fairly paid. Get those things right and you can lessen the chances of voluntary turnover and therefore lessen the damage it can bring.

So let’s look at how the sherpas themselves keep their teams on track all the way to the summit again and again:


Offer regular advice and guidance to team members to help them improve. You likely have a wealth of knowledge about your industry, business and day to day operations. Draw from this to coach and motivate your employees, showing them the best paths to take..

Shared vision

Sherpas tailor their approach on each climb to the individuals on their team. Take time to properly understand the skills and abilities of your individual employees and talk with them about how those talents can contribute to the team’s success. Helping each person see how they can contribute can improve the team’s staying power to complete the journey.


Choose conditions that suit your team’s circumstances. Offer your employees more flexibility in the workplace and help them better fit work commitments into their individual lifestyle and priorities. Help make it easier for them to manage their work-life and you’ll likely find you have a more productive and engaged workforce.

Perks and comforts

Every journey needs rest and recreation breaks. Offer your employees regular rewards for performance but also don’t forget comforts. Whether it’s rest spaces, thinking pods or healthy snacks. Helping your team unwind  with regular downtime (even if it’s only short) can help everyone be more focused and productive.

Important Notice
The information contained in this article is general in nature and you should consider whether the information is appropriate to your needs. Legal and other matters referred to in this article are of a general nature only and are based on Deputy's interpretation of laws existing at the time and should not be relied on in place of professional advice. Deputy is not responsible for the content of any site owned by a third party that may be linked to this article and no warranty is made by us concerning the suitability, accuracy or timeliness of the content of any site that may be linked to this article. Deputy disclaims all liability (except for any liability which by law cannot be excluded) for any error, inaccuracy, or omission from the information contained in this article and any loss or damage suffered by any person directly or indirectly through relying on this information.

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Stephen Woods
Stephen helps manage Deputy’s digital marketing efforts, designing and optimising campaigns to build awareness and drive user growth.

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