The importance of employee retention

  • 28-02-21
  • Richard Lloyd Recruitment

In an active accounting job market, retaining employees is hard, which begs the question of how you keep good employees. In 2021, we are predicting that the fight for talent will heat up as companies look to get back on track.

To ensure that your Accounting and Finance team remains happy and continues to feel valued, here are five easy, low-cost employee retention strategies.

1. Spend quality one-on-one time with your team

Are you still spending a lot of time with your staff on video calls? It’s hard to identify if any of your team are struggling until you see them face to face

A simple answer to quality time is to take each employee out for a coffee or lunch and get to know them again in a casual setting, away from the office. It doesn’t have to be an expensive lunch, the personal attention is more valuable

Really listen to what your staff members have to say from both their professional and personal perspectives. How are they feeling about work? Has COVID-19 changed their career plans? How do they feel the team is functioning? By letting them know that their ideas and comments are valued, you are creating open communication channels with your team members which will in turn have a positive effect on employee engagement.

2. Recognise great work

“Thank you.” Two words that won’t cost you a cent yet are easily forgotten when we are busy and are trying to get through a lot of topics on a video call – especially if you have a large team with everyone trying to be heard. Acknowledging a great piece of work leaves your team members feeling good and builds their confidence.

Rightly or wrongly, working from home has created an environment where your staff can feel obliged to put in additional hours to prove that they are being productive, and it isn’t always obvious how hard they are working.

Recognition goes a long way in reducing employee turnover and boosting morale. Don’t forget that the same also applies when we are in the office. A thank you can make all the difference to someone’s day and their morale.

3. Use team members' skills

Most staff are hired for a specific role with a definitive job description, especially in the accounting profession. That job description is also the reason why your team member accepted the position in the first place. However, many Accountants have broad skillsets and continually want to add to their competencies.

Now is a great time to find out what additional skills are available in your team that you aren’t capitalising on and give those team members the opportunity to use them. Not only is there potential to uncover a gold mine in your own team but your company culture and bottom line will benefit from greater employee engagement.

4. Succession planning

Interviewing hundreds of candidates each year, we understand the reasons why Accounting professionals decide to look for new jobs. Our research has shown that the most common cause is the lack of career development and progression. For an employee who is driven by the need to continuously learn or is focused on future promotional opportunities within the company, not having these available to them can be incredibly demotivating.

Before looking to hire externally, consider whether a vacant position could be filled by an internal team member; can someone step into a new role with training? Employees are more likely to stay engaged and loyal if they can see that the business regularly promotes and develops the team from within.​

5. Burnout beware!

During the pandemic, many people worked longer hours without additional financial rewards or what we used to consider a ‘proper’ holiday.

Working from home can impact the clear differentiation between work and home. Be aware of when your team members are starting to behave differently from what is normal (for them) and encourage them to take a break before the symptoms are exacerbated further.

Look for signs of increased stress, heightened emotions, or strange working hours such as receiving emails at 1 am! These are some of the signals that may alert you to potential burnout or general discontent.


Irrespective of how great a manager or leader you are, there are times when there is absolutely nothing you can do, that is within your control to avoid a staff member resigning. Even the above simple strategies may not circumvent resignations as they are not one-off panaceas, they should be part and parcel of the day-to-day management of your team.

At the end of the day though, so long as you are satisfied that you could do no more, you need to move forward and focus on the employees that remain in your team and identify the job responsibilities and personal traits of the person you will hire as a result of your staff member leaving.

Remember, these strategies are relevant to any team, no matter the make-up at any time, not just during a pandemic. And your reward will be a stronger, more engaged team with an enviable staff attrition rate.

If you have had an employee leave and would like some hiring assistance, contact a member of our experienced Accounting Recruitment team today.

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