Losing a top-performing employee can have an unwelcome domino effect across the team. Sometimes you can see these resignations coming, but sometimes they are a bolt from the blue. A ripple effect sweeps across team morale, productivity, and business operations.

The pandemic has turned the heads of employees, leaving them to rethink their employment situations.  Research has documented that just over a third of professionals feel their career has stalled since the start of 2020.  That number jumps to two-thirds for workers at the start of their careers; those aged between 18-24. This cohort highlight the stagnation of salary, career advancement, and skills development to be the reason behind their dissatisfaction.

Given these numbers, now’s the time to ensure that your workforce of tomorrow remains motivated, engaged, and on your payroll!

We look at the possible reasons behind the departure of your MVPs and the steps you can take to ensure your business is doing the right things to drive job satisfaction.

Why do employees leave?

Conducting a thorough exit interview is critical if you want to gain valuable insight into your company from the perspective of your employee.

Leavers cite many reasons for wishing to move on.  If you have ever conducted a leaving interview, it is more than likely you will have heard one of the following;

  • Inadequate salary and benefits
  • Feeling overworked and/or unsupported
  • Limited opportunities for 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

As the list demonstrates, it’s clear that it’s not only remuneration factors that incite resignations.  Many professionals are feeling stuck right now. The same body of research found that 1 in 3 workers want to pursue a more meaningful or fulfilling job following the insecurity of the last 18 months.

Retention strategies for increased job satisfaction.

If you sense that your business is at risk of losing its key players, here are some retention strategies you could employ to improve job satisfaction and hold onto your most valuable workers.

Onboarding and orientation.

Start as you mean to go on by setting up every new hire for success from the start. Your onboarding process should include a 360 picture of the role, the company culture and what they need to do in order to contribute and thrive. The training and induction you provide in the first days will set the tone for the employee’s entire tenure.


Teaming up a new employee with an established team member is a great way to compliment your induction process. A mentor can welcome newcomers, offer guidance and be a support – both professionally and pastorally.  Mentorship doesn’t need to be limited to new employees.  Existing staff, and overall employee retention prospects, can greatly benefit from mentorship schemes.

Employee compensation.

It’s essential that companies regularly review and adjust salaries so that employees are paid fairly and competitively. If your business can’t do that right now, perhaps you could get creative with how you reward. Perhaps you could offer other forms of compensation…bonuses, flexible working or childcare vouchers for example.

Don’t just look to the short term here.  Pension schemes, health care plans and long service rewards can also help to improve job satisfaction.


Perks of employment can help to attract new talent, re-engage current staff and boost morale.  Flexible hours and remote working arrangements are highly valued by workers, as is paid parental leave options.

Wellness benefits.

Encouraging healthy employees is just good business.  The pandemic has encouraged many employers to put the overall health of their teams front and centre. Wellbeing offerings aim to ensure that teams feel supported and that their health is prioritised. You may like to consider gym memberships, counselling services and stress management programs as options through which you can scaffold the wellness of your employees.


The pandemic and its enforced remote working underlined the importance of connection and team communication.  Your team should feel, and be reminded that, they are able to go to line managers at any time with concerns, ideas or questions.  Team leaders should connect regularly with the entire team – remotely or in person – to help promote timely, constructive and positive communication and to get a picture of workload and job satisfaction.

Feedback on performance.

Annual performance reviews are being shunned for more frequent appraisal systems.  These 1 to 1 meetings should cover conversations about short- and long-term professional goals, helping them to visualise their future with the company. While you should never make promises you cannot keep, you should be able to have discussions regarding possible career advancements and plan how you may work together to make those happen.

Training and Development.

As part of the feedback process, you should help employees identify areas of professional growth and facilitate the learning of new skills. Upskilling is especially important as technology continues to change how we work. As your team upskills, you will see both their competency and confidence increase. New abilities will keep them able to tackle new and interesting projects, thus keeping them motivated and in tune with industry developments.

It should be a priority to invest in your talent. You should create opportunities for them to attend conferences, meetups and workshops.  If possible, you could consider offering a reimbursement of tuition fees for out of hours learning.

Succession planning is also critical for retaining mid-level employees. This is highly effective for advancing professional development and building leadership skills.

Recognise and reward.

Everyone wants to feel appreciated for what they do. Today’s working arrangements can sometimes mean that an employer’s gratitude can miss the target.  Business leaders should make sure that those employees who go the extra mile are recognised and that their contribution is acknowledged.  Some larger companies set up a formal rewards system to incentivise staff, but compelling rewards systems can still be implemented without a big budget. You just need to be a bit more creative!

Work/life balance.

A healthy work/life balance is essential to job satisfaction.  Your team needs to know that the management team recognise that they have a life and commitments outside office hours.  Employees should be encouraged to take their holiday allowance and set boundaries around being digitally connected.  Sometimes, late nights and weekend working are necessary, but wherever possible, this time should be compensated.


As we all make our way back to ‘normal’, many companies are preparing for the fact that some employees will still want to work remotely, at least part-time.  As a savvy business leader, you should pre-empt the requests and think about what you are able to offer regarding remote working.  If permanent remote working isn’t an option, why not consider other options…. a compressed week, hybrid working, or flex hours, perhaps? All these possibilities offer stress relief for your team and help to boost employee retention.

Effective change management.

Every business must deal with change – good and bad.  During these times, employees look to management for reassurance, leadership, and insight.  If change isn’t dealt with sympathetically, it can lead to a mass exodus of staff as they look for stability.  Your team should be kept as informed as necessary throughout the process to ease anxiety and stop the rumour mill from taking hold.

If you are a business leader navigating change, why not head to our guide on Change Management in a Changing World.


Teamwork should be encouraged across the entire business. Ideas, contributions, and solutions should be offered and encouraged by all… not just the star players.

You can create opportunities for team collaboration by accommodating individuals’ work styles and by giving everyone the opportunity to contribute to decision-making.

Acknowledge achievements – big and small.

To help you in your retention efforts, you should be ready to shine a light on notable achievements.  Morale will soar if you seize opportunities to celebrate together, even if this is done remotely to accommodate your off-site workers.


  • The resignation of key team members can cause an unwanted ripple effect across the business, affecting team morale and operations.
  • Employees cite many reasons for leaving their jobs but include both financial and personal concerns.
  • Employers should re-evaluate their business and company values regularly to ensure that job satisfaction remains high.
  • Market standards and best practices should be monitored to ensure that an attractive workplace culture and strong manager-employee relations remain high.
  • It is inevitable that some team members will leave sooner than you would like but using the 14 strategies above can help to make that decision a little harder.

About the author: I manage the recruitment for a range of digital roles for my clients on both a retained and contingency basis. I specialise in senior and confidential appointments, always giving a first class representation of a client’s employer brand.

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