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Employee Retention: The Ten Mistakes Employers Make


Expert analysis from Maura Jakksen Byrne, qualified Senior Executive Coach, Mentor and Behavioural Analyst.

As Ireland approaches full employment, it's now a candidate's market and employers wonder at the best way to hold onto their people. The costs are high when people leave: the time and cost of sourcing a replacement, loss of productivity and profitability, the effect on customers and insecurity among co-workers.

Here are some of the common mistakes employers make:

  1. Not benchmarking employer retention rates: A senior executive can cost twice their salary to replace 1, so ensuring you monitor retention rates helps identify and flag potential patterns early. 
  2. Insufficient on-board training:  You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. A well organised and tailored induction programme can show new employees how much you value and are investing in them. US studies showed that 58% of employees 2 remained with the same company for three years because of the quality of the training they received when they initially joined. 
  3. Not clearly articulating the company's mission and their role: Employees need to feel that the organisation's products and services matter and that they play a part in its success. The value that the individual employee adds needs to be recognised and communicated.
  4. Not creating a personal growth culture with career coaching and mentoring: Investing in continuous personal development training leads to less attrition.
  5. Assuming employees are happy and not creating a high feedback environment: Creating regular feedback channels helps flag issues early and enables conversations that facilitate change. Making employees feel like they are listened to and that their voice is valid can help retain employees.  It can also throw up some interesting results, for example, a US study reported that 65% of employees 3 would prefer a change of boss to an increase in salary.
  6. Not giving employees personalized benefits: Pensions, healthcare, flexible hours, company shares, gym membership, remote working, wellness at work programmes, Christmas bonus, gift cards, family days.  These don’t necessarily have to cost much to the company, but go a long way in acknowledging staff.
  7. Not creating a caring culture:  Companies who invest in facilitating social connections have far less attrition.  Examples include company social clubs, company CSR initiatives, fitness clubs membership, parent groups, LGBTQ, family days, returners to work initiatives.
  8. Not advertising promotions internally: Career advancement is amongst the biggest reasons cited when people move jobs.  If you offer staff room to grow internally, you can keep the expertise and experience you’ve invested in in-house.
  9. Almost total focus on the bottom-line or the next deadline: Being able to step back and see more than just deadlines and budgets can turn employees into your biggest champions. Being open to regular, informal catch-ups can create a relationship of care and co-operation.
  10. Not conducting exit interviews: Exit interviews are the one chance companies have to discover what they are doing well and where it can do better.  Missing the opportunity to debrief staff is the chance to take remedial action to help retain the remaining team.

Well thought-out planning and execution of Employee Retention Strategies save enormous amounts of management time, money and productivity. It’s the people in your organisation that matter the most.


Maura Jakksen Byrne is a qualified Senior Executive Coach, Mentor and Behavioural Analyst.

Maura works closely with companies and their management teams as an Executive Coach, Mentor and Behavioural Analyst. She acts as a strong catalyst for positive change within the individual, the team and the company. She is passionate about Wellness @ Work and the power of Coaching.

Maura can be contacted at 086 8566460 or maura@yourbusinesssmartcoach.net  



1. Huffington Post, Jan 2017, How Much Does Employee Turnover Really Cost?

2. Arlene S. Hirsch, Aug 2017,  Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM), Don't Underestimate the Importance of Good Onboarding

3. Ty Kiisel, Forbes, Oct 2012, 65% of Americans Choose a Better Boss Over a Raise -- Here's Why