The HR team huddle — The five issues around retention we’re seeing across the board right now

This month we’ve been talking about the ‘R’ word — retention. Our clients are currently sharing stories and challenges of not only attracting great staff, but keeping them — especially high performers. 

Here are the top five issues around retention that are floating about each office right now. 

1. Technology and decentralised working

Since COVID, a shift has occurred in how we work. With the majority of workplaces now offering working-from-home options or a hybrid approach to work, this has meant more flexibility and time freedom for workers. 

However, managing teams remotely and keeping teams engaged when there is less in-person interaction has posed a challenge. 

Bespoke HR’s Managing Director, Paulette Kolarz says the shift has had a profound impact on staff retention. 

“How are people learning and developing on an ongoing basis when you are missing out on the ‘spur-of-the-moment’ opportunities to help develop people?” she says. 

“You can no longer just pull people into an office for a quick informal chat and there’s now a sense of personal disconnect we’re experiencing across teams from having meetings and interactions over a screen.

“As a result, there’s less opportunities for development and growth, paired with a sense of disconnect and isolation which is affecting retention rates.” 

2. Fallout from COVID — shifts in perspective, priorities and importance of work 

Since COVID, there has been a significant shift in mindsets around work. We have been aware the Great Resignation has been happening, and its underpinning drive has been from realising there is more to life than just work. 

Paulette says instead of trying to fight this (and fight a losing battle), it’s going to be more beneficial for business owners and managers to lean into this shift. 

“Leveraging the changes in technology and allowing more flexible work is one thing, but if you can also ensure staff feel valued, heard and have a sense of belonging at work, you can create meaning within the workplace so people don’t feel like your workplace is ‘just a job’.” 

3. Greater expectations placed on employers

Business owners used to be relied upon for providing a stable income and a place to work, but now it’s commonplace for employees to expect flexibility in working, great pay, remote working, benefits, a great workplace culture, great team (and the list goes on!). 

Are these expectations fair on employers? 

“Keeping people happy and motivated has never been more difficult,” says Paulette. 

“The number of things people are managing right now are hard — from families, to changing circumstances, to mental health, to multiple commitments. Given we spend so much of our time at work, work is naturally going to experience the brunt of any personal things going on.

“Fuses seem to be a lot shorter, the ability for people to tolerate things is less, and more things are being noticed. It’s important for employers to be able to provide a sense of understanding and care around personal circumstances in a bid to retain great staff.”

4. ‘The grass is greener’ mentality 

With broader accessibility to roles on a global scale thanks to decentralised working, although this has broadened the spectrum and calibre of candidates for businesses, it has also created a highly competitive market. 

Staff are beginning to ask the question — “what else is out there?”

People are not looking to stay at a company for ten years any more,” says Paulette. 

“In 2022, we’re normalising not making ‘exit’ a dirty word, but investing in effective succession planning to support people to thrive in an organisation, and also come to their own decisions about moving on earlier than later if they no longer feel challenged. 

“It doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world when a person decides to try something new, and it’s admirable for staff to acknowledge when they don’t feel like a right fit for a role or company.”

5. Job instability and the need for multiple income streams 

Paulette says people don’t want stress of 40 hours a week anymore, especially if their role is unstable.

“No longer are people putting all of their eggs in one basket anymore; cutbacks and redundancy are so normal that people have now safeguarded themselves by having multiple income streams. 

“It is now not uncommon for people to have three or five different career prospects. People are willing to walk away from a career if it doesn’t excite them and take the risk to niche down when it comes to their skillsets through freelance work, contracting, starting small businesses and leveraging social media channels to reach out to aligned clientele.

“We’re living in a time where having a full time job exercises the same amount of risk and provides about the same level of job security as starting a new business.”

Want to learn more about how you can increase your retention and create rewarding incentive schemes in your business? Reach out to one of our experienced People & Culture specialists today for a free chat. Email us at