5 Strategies to Improve Employee Retention in 2024

Discover the top 5 employee retention strategies for UK employers in 2024

In the rapidly evolving job market of 2024, employee retention remains a critical concern for UK employers. As businesses strive to retain top talent, adopting effective retention strategies is paramount. Employee turnover can lead to significant costs, not only in terms of recruitment and training but also due to lost productivity and decreased morale among remaining staff. According to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), the average cost of replacing an employee in the UK is around £30,000, factoring in recruitment expenses, training, and the loss of productivity during the transition period.

Moreover, a high turnover rate can damage a company’s reputation, making it harder to attract quality candidates in the future. In this context, it’s essential for UK employers to understand and implement strategies that can help retain their best employees. This article explores five key employee retention strategies relevant to the UK market, supported by statistics, real-world examples, and expert opinions.


1. Foster a Positive Work Environment

Creating a positive work environment is foundational to employee retention. A supportive and inclusive workplace culture not only enhances job satisfaction but also boosts productivity and loyalty. According to a report by Great Place to Work UK, companies with a positive work environment experience 50% lower turnover rates compared to those with a less favorable workplace culture.


Key Aspects of a Positive Work Environment

  • Inclusive Culture: Encourage diversity and inclusion. Promote policies that support equality and create a sense of belonging. A study by Deloitte UK found that inclusive workplaces are six times more likely to be innovative and twice as likely to meet or exceed financial targets. This indicates that fostering an inclusive environment not only helps retain employees but also drives business success.


  • Work-Life Balance: Offer flexible working hours and remote work options. According to the CIPD, 54% of UK employees value flexible working as crucial to job satisfaction. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies, including PwC UK, adopted flexible working arrangements, which they continue to offer as part of their standard policies. Flexible work options allow employees to better manage their personal and professional lives, reducing stress and increasing job satisfaction.


  • Recognition and Rewards: Implement regular recognition programs to celebrate employee achievements. Recognition can be as simple as a thank you note or as significant as employee awards and bonuses. The 2023 Employee Recognition Report by Reward Gateway revealed that 85% of employees in the UK feel more motivated when their efforts are recognized. Regular recognition helps build a positive work culture where employees feel valued and appreciated.


Example: Unilever UK has been recognised for its inclusive culture and flexible working arrangements, which have significantly contributed to higher employee retention rates. They have implemented numerous initiatives such as gender diversity programs, mental health support, and flexible work policies that cater to the diverse needs of their employees. Unilever’s commitment to creating a positive work environment has not only helped them retain talent but also attract new employees who value a supportive and inclusive workplace.


Expert Opinion: According to Emma Codd, Global Inclusion Leader at Deloitte, “Creating an inclusive and supportive work environment where everyone feels valued and respected is not only the right thing to do but also a key driver of business success. It fosters a sense of belonging and loyalty among employees, which is critical for retention.”


By focusing on these aspects, UK employers can build a work environment that attracts and retains top talent, ultimately leading to a more engaged and productive workforce.


2. Invest in Employee Development

Continuous learning and development opportunities are crucial for employee engagement and retention. Employees who feel they are growing professionally are more likely to stay with their current employer. Investing in employee development not only helps retain employees but also prepares them for future roles within the company, ensuring a pipeline of skilled talent.


Strategies for Employee Development

  • Training Programs: Offer regular training sessions to upskill employees. Training programs can range from technical skills development to soft skills enhancement. According to a report by City & Guilds Group, 94% of employees would stay longer at a company that invests in their career development. Providing ongoing training opportunities shows employees that the company is invested in their growth.


  • Career Pathways: Develop clear career progression paths. Employees are more likely to stay with a company if they see opportunities for advancement. Creating well-defined career pathways helps employees understand how they can progress within the organization and what skills they need to develop to move up the ladder.


  • Mentorship Programs: Pair less experienced employees with seasoned mentors for guidance and support. Mentorship programs can help employees navigate their careers, providing them with insights and advice from more experienced colleagues. This not only aids in professional development but also helps build strong relationships within the organisation.


Example: HSBC UK provides extensive training and development programs, ensuring employees have opportunities to advance their careers within the company. HSBC’s commitment to employee development includes leadership training programs, technical skills workshops, and career coaching sessions. By investing in their employees’ development, HSBC has been able to maintain a highly skilled and engaged workforce.


Expert Opinion: According to Peter Cheese, Chief Executive of the CIPD, “Employee development is crucial for retaining top talent. Companies that invest in their employees’ growth not only benefit from a more skilled workforce but also build a reputation as a great place to work.”


By prioritising employee development, UK employers can ensure their workforce remains engaged, skilled, and committed to the organisation.


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3. Enhance Compensation and Benefits

Competitive compensation and comprehensive benefits packages are critical for attracting and retaining top talent. While salary is important, additional benefits can make a significant difference in employee satisfaction. Offering a well-rounded compensation package shows employees that the company values their contributions and is willing to invest in their well-being.


Components of an Attractive Compensation Package

  • Competitive Salaries: Regularly review and adjust salaries to match or exceed industry standards. Competitive salaries are a key factor in retaining employees, as they ensure employees feel fairly compensated for their work. The CIPD’s Reward Management Survey indicates that salary is the most critical factor in job satisfaction for 75% of UK employees.


  • Health and Wellbeing Benefits: Offer health insurance, wellness programs, and mental health support. The UK’s Office for National Statistics reports that 75% of employees prioritise health benefits when considering job offers. Providing comprehensive health and well-being benefits can help employees feel supported and cared for, reducing stress and improving overall job satisfaction.


  • Retirement Plans: Provide robust pension plans to secure employees’ futures. Retirement benefits are an essential component of a comprehensive compensation package. According to a survey by Aegon UK, 63% of employees consider pension plans a critical factor in their decision to stay with an employer.


Example: Google UK offers competitive salaries, extensive health benefits, and generous pension plans, which have helped them maintain high employee retention rates. Google’s benefits package includes private healthcare, wellness programs, and a contributory pension scheme. By offering such comprehensive benefits, Google ensures their employees feel valued and supported.


Expert Opinion: According to Charles Cotton, Senior Reward Adviser at CIPD, “Offering a competitive and comprehensive benefits package is crucial for retaining employees. It demonstrates that the company values its employees and is committed to their long-term wellbeing.”


By enhancing compensation and benefits, UK employers can attract and retain top talent, ensuring their workforce remains motivated and committed.


4. Promote Employee Engagement

Engaged employees are more committed and productive. Promoting employee engagement through regular feedback, involvement in decision-making, and fostering a sense of community can significantly improve retention. Engagement is about creating a work environment where employees feel connected to their work, their colleagues, and the company’s mission.


Ways to Promote Employee Engagement

  • Regular Feedback: Conduct frequent performance reviews and feedback sessions. Regular feedback helps employees understand their strengths and areas for improvement. It also shows that the company values their contributions and is invested in their growth. According to Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace report, employees who receive regular feedback are three times more likely to be engaged at work.


  • Employee Involvement: Involve employees in decision-making processes and listen to their ideas. When employees feel their opinions are valued, they are more likely to be engaged and committed to the company. This can include involving employees in strategic planning sessions, seeking their input on company policies, and encouraging them to contribute ideas for improving the workplace.


  • Team Building Activities: Organise events and activities that promote team bonding and a sense of belonging. Team-building activities can range from social events to collaborative projects. These activities help build strong relationships among team members, fostering a sense of community and belonging.


Example: Innocent Drinks, a UK-based company, is known for its strong focus on employee engagement through regular feedback, open communication channels, and team-building events. Innocent Drinks organizes annual retreats, team outings, and workshops that encourage collaboration and communication among employees. This focus on engagement has helped them build a loyal and committed workforce.


Expert Opinion: According to David MacLeod, Co-Chair of the Engage for Success movement, “Engagement is about creating a work environment where employees feel connected to their work, their colleagues, and the company’s mission. Companies that prioritize engagement see higher retention rates and better overall performance.”


By promoting employee engagement, UK employers can create a more committed and productive workforce, leading to improved retention and business success.


5. Prioritise Mental Health and Wellbeing

Mental health and well-being have become increasingly important in the workplace. Employers who prioritise the mental health of their employees can significantly enhance retention. Supporting mental health involves creating a work environment that recognises and addresses mental health challenges and provides resources for employees to seek help.


Strategies to Support Mental Health

  • Mental Health Programs: Implement programs and resources to support mental health. This can include offering access to mental health professionals, providing mental health days, and creating awareness about mental health issues. According to Mind, a leading mental health charity in the UK, 1 in 4 people experience a mental health problem each year. By providing support, employers can help reduce the stigma associated with mental health and encourage employees to seek help when needed.


  • Workload Management: Ensure workloads are manageable to prevent burnout. Burnout is a significant issue that can lead to decreased productivity and increased turnover. According to a study by Deloitte UK, 77% of employees have experienced burnout at their current job. Managing workloads effectively and ensuring employees have the resources they need to complete their tasks can help prevent burnout.


  • Supportive Leadership: Train managers to recognize and address mental health issues among their teams. Managers play a crucial role in supporting employees’ mental health. Training managers to recognise signs of mental health issues and providing them with the tools to support their team can create a more supportive work environment.


Example: The John Lewis Partnership has a comprehensive mental health and wellbeing program, including mental health first aiders and access to professional support, which has positively impacted employee retention. John Lewis offers mental health training for managers, access to counseling services, and mental health awareness campaigns. These initiatives have helped create a supportive environment where employees feel comfortable seeking help.


Expert Opinion: According to Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind, “Employers have a crucial role to play in supporting the mental health and wellbeing of their employees. By providing resources and creating a supportive environment, employers can help reduce the impact of mental health issues on their workforce.”


By prioritising mental health and wellbeing, UK employers can create a healthier and more supportive work environment, leading to improved employee retention.



Implementing these five strategies can significantly improve employee retention in 2024. By fostering a positive work environment, investing in employee development, enhancing compensation and benefits, promoting engagement, and prioritising mental health, UK employers can retain their top talent and build a loyal, productive workforce.


Call to Action: Start implementing these employee retention strategies today to secure a committed and satisfied team. For more insights and resources, explore our related articles and connect with HR professionals for tailored advice.


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