Is retention solely the employer’s responsibility? – the importance of retention in these highly volatile times.

December 7, 2021


It is a known fact that employee turnover has a negative financial effect on companies; mainly due to the amount of effort and cost that goes into recruiting and training new employees, as well as the impact on those remaining employees who must cover for those who have left until they can be replaced. Thus, an effective retention process is needed for a company to continue to be successful. According to a recent survey by Willis Towers Watson, nearly 80% of employers globally are having problems finding and keeping their employees. So how can companies ensure that, once they do find and train the right talent, they will be able to retain it?

It is a popular assumption that the retention process is a responsibility of the employer, but can it be achieved without employees’ input? Of course, it is the employer’s responsibility to put an effective retention policy in place, but as with any policy it should be fit-for-purpose and tailored to the needs of the particular organisation; it is not an off-the-shelf product. To ensure that the policy is fit-for-purpose, an effective feedback process should be created. To be successful, this process must be robust, so that employees can give honest feedback on issues which concern them. It is important to note, that once collected, the feedback should be considered carefully and, where appropriate, reflected in the policy.

According to Need theory, developed by psychologist David McClelland, a human being has three types of motivations and needs: achievement, affiliation, and power.

Achievement – people with this type of personality are motivated by getting things done. It is important, that once recognised, employees with this type of personality should be recognised for their achievements as that recognition will be a strong motivator for them and will likely lead to creating a lasting and loyal relationship.

Affiliation – the need of affiliation manifests through the creation of new connections and being part of a group. Employees with this type of personality are team players and need to have social connections to stay motivated. To promote retention such employees should be provided with exposure to team building and social activities.

Power – this need can be understood as an ability to influence. Employees with this characteristic would be motivated by knowing that their words/feedback/actions have a real impact and influence. To promote retention, it is important to make sure that employees know that their voice counts, and they are being taken seriously.

Another point to keep in mind is a change brought on by the pandemic, i.e., remote/flexible working. This practice has now entered our daily lives and is unlikely to be undone. According to an EY survey, 90% of respondents want to have the flexibility to decide when and where they work, and more than half of employees globally would resign from their current jobs if not offered post-pandemic flexibility.

MM&K works with clients to design and implement effective incentive and retention plans.  For more information on this topic or to discuss any of the points made in this article, please contact Margarita Skripina.

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