Employee retention – how to keep hold of your top talent

Employee retention - keeping hold of top talent with Blackhawk Network

Workplace burnout is real. Costing companies anywhere between £90 billion to £180 billion a year in health care expenditure and attributing to high employee turnover, the psychological and physical problems of burned-out employees and low morale cannot be ignored when it comes to companies facing issues of employee retention. 

So much so, that the WHO has added it to its list of International Classification of Diseases, characterising it as feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion, increased mental distance from one’s job and reduced professional efficacy – burnout specifically refers to employees.  

Although burnout can be caused by a number of factors, a primary catalyst is usually low morale and lack of employee appreciation, which then leads to further issues of employee turnover and lack of employee retention. In order to address these issues, it is important to identify what could be causing low morale and deal with it accordingly.  Effective leaders need to ensure that they have their ears firmly to the ground when it comes to their teams and assess why levels of employee turnover are high and employee retention are low.  

Retaining your top talent isn’t just a HR exercise – it has real, proven benefits for organisations and their bottom line. 

What is employee retention? 

For a company to succeed, employers need to keep their best employees on board. This is the main goal of employee retention: an organisation’s concerted efforts to retain their existing staff. 

Employee retention is and can often be expressed as a statistic, such as, the percentage of employees that remain in a company for a fixed time period (for example, a quarter or a year). To measure it, companies can use the formula of total number of employees less the ones that have left and assess how high or low that number is based on the company year.  

Although a small amount of turnover is expected and even healthy to allow room for new talent, an increasingly high number can have huge consequences for businesses.  

Why are employee retention strategies important? 

High rates of employee turnover can harm an organisation's ability to carry out their mission because of losses to continuity, damage to established knowledge, and high costs of replacing employees that have left. Amongst some of the biggest impacts of low employee retention is reduced productivity and losing competitive advantage. 

A high level of employee departures can lower morale and spur more employees to leave the organisation as employee retention is also important to team building and cohesion in the workplace, so workers can come to trust and depend on each other and build and grow relationships. 

For HR and Talent Managers, it is a key performance indicator to understand why their workforce is leaving, which is why it is important to understand the negative implications of it. Let’s take a look at the different aspects to consider when dealing with employee retention. 

  • Hiring is not an easy process:
    It takes time and effort to hire talent within your organisation; shortlisting from a large pool of talent, conducting preliminary interviews and eventually recruiting the right candidate for your company. It is a time-consuming process and if turnover is high, this can impact the time that HR managers can spend elsewhere in supporting long terms goals. 
  • An organisation invests time and money in training and nurturing an individual: 
    Organisations work closely with new talent to train them in line with company culture and set expectations for their duration within the company. High employee turnover can disrupt this process and the overall development of the organisation.  
  • Losing competitive advantage:
    It can be concerning for employers when valuable and highly skilled employees hand in their notice, especially when they have built up strong and ongoing relationships with company clients and move on to possible competitors. It is worth exploring the impact of this on an organisation, not just from a strategy perspective, but also from a root cause perspective – what is causing your employees to go to competitors? 
  • Effect on teams:
    When building a team, every employee needs time to know and adjust with fellow team members. Building relationships and connecting is at the very core of functional teams. Organisations always benefit when the employees are compatible with each other. When a new individual replaces an existing employee, adjustment problems can crop up and can be difficult to establish new relationships easily.  
  • It is essential for companies to retain the valuable employees showing potential:
    Every organisation needs hardworking and talented employees who can really come out with something creative whilst being aligned with company values. An organisation will struggle if all its top talent continues to quit, which is why it is really crucial for hiring managers to consider where the flaw in their retention strategy is.  
  • Loss of customer trust:
    Another negative effect of turnover is the impact on customers, who can notice that they are dealing with a continual flow of different people, and relationships that have been previously formed could be damaged and have an adverse impact on customer loyalty.  

How can you improve employee retention within your organisation? 

Employee engagement and employee experience are seen as among the most important strategies in retaining valued employees and maintaining a positive employer-employee relationship. 

“Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person - not just an employee - are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled. Satisfied employees mean satisfied customers, which leads to profitability.” – Anne M. Mulcahy, Xerox Executive 

To encourage high employee retention within your company, your strategy needs to consider the following: 

  • A nice working environment: 
    Your workplace is like your second home, which is why it is important for employees to foster a secure and amiable work environment. This might include benefits like free fruit and onsite gym access, but most importantly, it is about fostering an overall positive culture.  
  • Training and career development:
    Offering learning and training opportunities is also a huge motivator for employee retention. Employees can acquire new knowledge by attending interesting seminars and courses to develop professionally. It’s normal for long-term employees to want to experiment with new methods and specialisations. Training motivates them to develop further in their roles. 
  • Clear communication:
    Employees might get confused with ambiguous messages and expectations and find it hard to respond accordingly. Line management should be clear in their expectations and communication with their teams to support them with their goals. 
  • Compensation and benefits:
    You can attract a good candidate by offering them a competitive salary and basic benefits but that’s often not enough incentive for them to stick around. Rewarding employees with benefits shows them that you acknowledge their efforts and the value they bring to your company. Non-monetary benefits play a crucial role in how companies invest in their people. Having an employee benefits scheme, with employee wellbeing at the forefront of many organisations’ minds, having customisable and flexible employee rewards and benefits can support your organisation in your long-term goals of employee retention.  

Benefits to boost employee retention 


Cyclescheme is the UK’s most popular Cycle to Work benefit. It allows your employees to save from 25% - 39% on a new bike and accessories and spread the cost via salary sacrifice. Employees can have access to any bike they want, with a choice of over 2,000 retailers to claim the scheme at.   

Cyclescheme is a behaviour change programme that can put fitness and wellbeing at the forefront of your employees’ minds, whilst also making them feel appreciated. It also allows those commuting to the office a safer alternative than public transport.   

Cyclescheme is a total cycle to work solution, it's who we are and what we do. Because of this we've gone the extra-mile with every aspect of our scheme design and service to offer an intuitive user experience with minimal admin, and for you to focus on your company vision.  

What are the advantages of Cyclescheme?  

  • Free marketing portal with customised posters  
  • Free events support for all employers  
  • Freedom to ride - schemes over £1,000  
  • Weekly, monthly and seasonal sales and offers  
  • Save-on-sale retailers - employees save twice  
  • Easy to access finance option available  


Techscheme is the UK’s most desirable technology benefit and lets employees get the latest tech from Currys PC World, through their employers. By spreading the cost across 12 payments from their salary, employees can own the products from the beginning and save between 2-12% on their purchases.   

Even better, the scheme is not limited to just the employees themselves. Techscheme can also be used to buy the latest tech for friends and family which provides a great option to buy those all-important birthday or Christmas gifts, leaving them feeling good about their options and being able to treat their loved ones.  

What are the advantages of Techscheme?  

  • It is relevant, your staff love it and are more loyal  
  • It upskills your workforce, increasing creativity and productivity  
  • Simple to set up and easy to manage  


bYond is a prepaid shopping card that helps your employees’ pay go further. As a dedicated card for their everyday shopping needs, it acts a handy budgeting tool, while earning the cardholder money back every time it's used.  

Available to use at a vast network of selected retailers, bYond Card can be a great way to allow employees to gain between 3% and 15% rebate on purchases. As a flexible benefit, employees can either top up their account manually, or they can sign up to have a chosen amount paid onto the card from their salary on a monthly basis, giving them a boost and working in line with your strategy to retain employees for the long term.   

56% of cardholders agreed that their card made them feel valued, loyal or engaged with their employer*   

The initiative covers a majority of retail categories, promoting choice for the cardholder, such as:  

  • Food retailers  
  • Clothing  
  • Beauty  
  • Home  
  • DIY  
  • Leisure  
  • Dining out, 

*889 Cardholders surveyed  

What are the advantages of bYond?  

With a wide network of retailers, bYond allows your staff to: 

  • Be flexible and creative in how and where they want to spend allowing your teams to have flexibility on where to spend 
  • Choose what they spend and how much 
  • Feel more appreciated as they can choose purchases of their own liking   


Talking with an employee benefits specialist to learn more about what employee retention strategies to deploy can help you create a solution that is geared not just for the short term, but also for the long term.  

Want to discuss how to set up a programme that can help retain employees? Fill in the contact form on your right and we’ll be in touch to chat about the ways we can support you in implementing your employee rewards and benefits.  

UK - Global BHN - Start a conversation