Tips to retain your most valuable team members

  • 27-12-22
  • David Landau

A question we are being asked frequently is; “How do we ensure we retain our best team members”? Given we are currently in a candidate short market, this is a very sensible question to be considering. Here are 6 key strategies to consider if you wish to know how to increase employee retention:

1.  Act early

You can often spot the signs of a discontented staff member. Knowing how to stop an employee from resigning is not as hard as you may think; you just need to have your ears and eyes open and can spot the signs. They could be asking you questions about their future; they may have applied for a role and not been considered for it; they may have started doing the bare minimum when they used to be the person that went the extra mile, the list goes on. A great manager will have the know-how to improve employee retention and motivation by spotting changes in behaviours and addressing them head-on.

2.  Have the tougher conversations

Don’t brush issues under the carpet. When we asked one of our clients with virtually no staff turnover what his suggestion was on how to increase staff satisfaction, his advice was to address grumbles head-on and foster an environment of open communication. He has proven time and time again that his ‘door is always open’. If someone is not happy then they can talk to him about anything. His team know that his biggest disappointment would be to receive an unexpected resignation letter.

3.  Be human

Treat people how you would like to be treated yourself. It’s amazing how many managers get this wrong. You would not believe the stories we hear! When your team member arrives in the morning, look up from your computer screen, say hi and ask them how their evening was. Be genuine. Show interest in them as a person. When they are packing up to leave for the day, ask them how their day has been, or what they are getting up to that evening. Similarly, if you are in a hybrid environment, keep in touch, check in on a video call, and be supportive. Also remember, not every catch-up needs to be formal. Have you ever considered a coffee and chat in a café to see how things are tracking, a lunchtime walk on a nice day, or shall we grab a sandwich together?

4.  A plan for everyone

Most people want to know where they are heading. This can come in a variety of guises. An unambitious employee who is happy to do the same job for the rest of their days may want to know that their job is safe and feel they are an essential part of the team. Equally, an ambitious employee may want to see that you have a roadmap planned out for their continued development and that you will support them on their career journey. This may be via external courses, study support, or training to take on additional / more challenging tasks. This gives additional comfort and something to work towards which is important to consider when thinking about how to improve staff satisfaction.

5.  Benchmark

Our astute clients come to us on a regular basis to discuss market salaries in order to ensure they are paying ‘on market’, or sometimes even above market. They then often communicate to their employees that they have gone to recruiters and looked at adverts for similar roles to ensure they are being paid the right salaries and that they are valued!

6.  Recognition

Gratitude, acknowledgement, appreciation – it won’t cost you a cent and it is one of the most effective means of how to stop an employee from resigning. Recognition can be top-down – i.e. a Manager saying well done, or thank you for good work or behaviours. Equally, it can come via peer-to-peer schemes. Even for the employee who hates the limelight, a public acknowledgement or thank you can be one of your most valuable employee retention strategies. Similarly, if someone has been working around the clock; don’t take it for granted – call it out, say thank you, and where possible it’s always great to be given a little something, be it an extra day of leave, a gift voucher, or a bonus.

​In summary, it makes far more sense to consider these easy-to-implement tips and avoid having a valued employee leave. The impact of a team member leaving isn’t just the headache of replacing them; you need to consider the impact it will have on your team culture, and then think about who will take on the workload until the new person is hired and trained. There is also the cost of recruitment and the knowledge that leaves with the departed person that may take months if not years to replicate.


If you need assistance following a resignation, call one of our Accounting recruitment specialists on (02) 8324 5640.