We ask a HR & Recruitment specialist what four biggest things affect businesses when it comes to retaining staff

What actually makes a person want to stay at a workplace? Free lunches? Beanbags? Flexible working? Great pay? 


They may certainly help, but when it comes to true retention, the answer lies in a deeper understanding of what motivates a person. 

According to Managing Director of Bespoke HR, Paulette Kolarz who’s experienced over two decades of HR & Recruitment issues and challenges, there are four things that can often precipitate a business’ retention rates. 

1. A sense of belonging

“People spend over half of their waking week at work,” Paulette says. 

“To spend half of your time feeling like you don’t belong has a huge impact on a person’s wellbeing and overall quality of life.”

Creating a culture where everyone feels valued, heard, respected and included can support a sense of belonging. 

From a HR & Recruitment perspective, developing diversity and inclusion policies, having proper onboarding and check in processes in place, and creating an open feedback based culture can all support the framework for helping one to feel a sense of belonging at work. 

2. Contribution, clear roles and responsibilities

When a person doesn’t feel like their role is contributing to a greater purpose or they are conflicted on what their responsibilities are within a role can greatly impact on retention. 

“Imagine coming to work every day where you don’t know what you’re meant to be doing, you don’t feel confident in what you’re doing, you have zero opportunities for ownership and accountability for your work, and none of what you’re doing actually contributes to any sort of outcome or company goal,” says Paulette. 

“These factors are instant motivation killers. Not only will you have issues with productivity, if a person feels like they don’t matter and what they’re doing doesn’t have any meaning, they will quickly start looking elsewhere.”

3. Resolving Conflict quickly and effectively

The biggest thing that will turn people away from a business is unresolved conflict. If there is an issue that hasn’t been resolved or addressed by a leader or manager, it can be left unchecked to fester underneath the surface. 

“As a leader or business owner, it is your responsibility to address any niggling issues or conflicts between individuals or teams,” says Paulette. 

“If these go unaddressed, they can create great divides between people, and leave a team feeling disjointed or misunderstood. It’s important to get onto little things early, so little things don’t become big things that inevitably result in team members leaving a business.”

Paulette suggests making regular feedback and check-in sessions a part of weekly routines and rituals, which provides people with a safe and open space to share what’s on their mind.

4. Team testimonial and advocacy

Paulette says a great indicator of whether people are happy at your company is to see if your team are willing to share a job advertisement for your business. 

“When team members feel a sense of comradeship and are generally happy at the workplace, they become advocates and champions for the business,” Paulette says. 

“However, if there is one or a few people who are disengaged or not enjoying their work, this can have a rapidly infectious effect on your business.

“People are influenced by their colleagues and peers often, so it’s important to keep on top of when someone might be disengaged through regular check-ins and addressing any issues that might be affecting someone’s ability to show up at work.”

5. Recognition and reward

“The number one thing that can affect retention rates is lack of reward or recognition,” says Paulette.

“Recognition and reward makes a person feel valued in a company, and more than ‘just a number’, which is something we hear often.”

In a study done by HR software company Achievers, they found when a person perceived to receive regular praise and/or recognition of their work and contributions to a company, or felt like they were making a difference in their workplace, they were 66% less likely to quit than those who received no recognition. 

You can read more about specific rewards and incentive programs here

Want to learn more about reward and recognition and how it can support positive outcomes in your business? The 90 Day Culture Accelerator covers in detail a range of incentive schemes you can use and implement for your staff. Find out more here