Practical Steps To Retain Your Best People in 2019 and Beyond

47% of Irish HR Managers find retention to be their biggest challenge at work, according to SHRM. And a CIPD survey found a further 40% of Irish companies experienced an increase in voluntary turnover over the past year.

What You Will Learn in This Article:

  • Employee Retention in Ireland
  • Giving Jobseekers What They Want From a Job
  • The Importance of Monitoring Employee Engagement
  • Investing in Modern HR Technology

Interestingly, a survey by the 2019 Work Institute report found that 77% of the reasons employees quit could have been prevented by the employer.

So, with employee turnover on the rise and getting more costly, what can HR Managers do to minimise their company’s retention rate?

Give Jobseekers What They Want From a Job

The first step is to familiarise themselves with the main drivers of attraction that encourage jobseekers to apply for a job, and secondly, to implement these aspects into the workplace and retention strategy.

Career Progression – A lack of growth and development opportunities being cited as a reason for leaving a job rose to 21.5% last year, which is a 170% increase since 2010, according to the Work Institute.

CIPD found that 58% of Irish companies are currently active in providing career development opportunities for employees. It also discovered that “over one quarter of respondents said they experienced a lack of senior management commitment to learning and development. While 82% agreed that individual learning objectives are discussed with staff, only 54% agreed that managers engage with informal feedback on learning”.

Thus, these are significant issues and demonstrate that a learning and development culture is not strongly embedded in many companies in Ireland. Moreover, new employees want the chance to climb up the company ladder and if they don’t have room to grow, they are prepared to change jobs.

Workplace Culture – Workplace culture issues made up 34% of reasons for employees to quit their jobs last year, according to the Work Institute. These are the top reasons why people in this category quit their jobs:

  • 36% Problematic Co-Workers
  • 34% Culture-Employee Not a Good Fit
  • 10% Problems with Mission or Values
  • 7% Unsafe Environment
  • 6% Hostile Atmosphere or Organisational Crises

It’s vital for HR Managers to regularly assess how employees are fitting into the workplace culture, by having one-on-one meetings, asking for feedback and showing genuine interest in how the employee is feeling at work. By doing so, HR Managers will be able to pinpoint steps that need to be actioned that will increase employee happiness and engagement.

Having a work mentor – Research shows that employees thrive best when they have a work mentor who can provide guidance when needed, celebrate their wins and listens to their rants and grievances. Furthermore, a work mentorship creates the opportunity to keep people engaged and connected in the workplace, which would tackle the issue of disengagement which is present in many current working environments.

In LinkedIn’s Relationships at Work study, work mentors made employees happier and bolstered their spirits and performance. Furthermore, the study revealed that:

  • 57% of people said mentorships made them happier,
  • 50% of people said mentorships provided motivation, and
  • 39% of people said mentorships generated higher rates of productivity.

Flexible Working Opportunities – The availability of flexible working arrangements is a key element of many company’s approach to assist the acquisition and retention of talented employees. In fact, a survey conducted by Ibec found that 11% of companies expect to enhance or improve this benefit to employees between now and 2020 and 44% of the respondent companies already offer flexible work location/remote working opportunities.

From an employee perspective the availability of remote working mitigates both the expense of commuting and the time required to travel between home and office, particularly where distance is an issue. It can be one of the top reasons why an employee who has a family, will stay in a job.

The Importance of Employee Engagement

85% of HR managers say that employee engagement is an ever-increasing priority for their companies in order to attract and retain key talent, according to PWC. Furthermore, disconnected workplaces have been linked to nearly 40% higher rates of absenteeism, 60% higher rates of avoidable errors and 50% in voluntary turnover, according to The Harvard Business Review.

However, Workforce 2020 has found that one of the keys to positive engagement, is the relationship between employees and their leaders. 49% of employees who are satisfied with their leader are engaged, while 80% who are dissatisfied are disengaged.

It’s so important that HR Managers monitor employee engagement and the best way to do this is by is by collecting and analysing data using HR specific technology.

Investing in Modern HR Technology

40% of global companies plan to replace their outdated HR systems over the next two years, according to Deloitte. This is positive trend considering only 50% of companies are currently using data to understand retention, engagement & performance. 

Deloitte research also found companies that make use of people analytics “outperform their competitors in quality of hire, retention, and leadership capabilities, and are generally higher ranked in their employment brand”.


The Irish job marketplace is so full of opportunities, that employees can now choose workplaces that meet their expectations and goals.

Thus, a powerful retention strategy that matches the vision and goals of today’s talent will see a much-anticipated decrease in retention within Irish companies. HR Managers and business leaders will need to work together to strengthen the companies core values, employee engagement and workplace culture amongst other aspects we have discussed above, that attract employees to stay in a job for longer.

Engage People is a specialist recruitment firm where we align business in Ireland with talent in three niche financial areas:

  • Accountancy & Finance
  • Banking & International Financial Services
  • Insurance

For a confidential discussion regarding your own attracting and retaining star performers, you can reach me at:

Paul McClatchie, Director, Engage People

W: +353 1 6994530

E: [email protected]

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