How to retain staff and avoid talent shortages


In a market where a majority of Belgian employers are experiencing a shortage of suitably qualified candidates and with rising vacancy levels, it is more important than ever to ensure retention of your existing staff.

What can you do to keep your best people from leaving? Try these strategies to make employees feel valued and engaged in order to keep them. These retention methods can have a significant and positive impact on an organization’s turnover rate. 

1. Focus on upskilling 

A good way of counter-acting talent shortages is to focus on getting more out of your existing employees. Providing staff with opportunities for further training or the chance to take on new responsibilities, is a valuable retention strategy and can prevent the emergence of skills shortages if staff do leave. Most employees relish development opportunities so this can have the added effect of increasing loyalty amongst your staff.

2. Communication is key

It may sound simple, but something you can never do enough is to actually communicate with your staff. Ensure employees have regular catch-ups with management so that you are up to speed with any issues or concerns they may have about their role. You could also ask staff to take part in employee surveys. This can be a great way for people to air their grievances privately and for you as an employer to get a feel for the general mood in the office.

Discovering issues that may be causing frustration amongst your team could be an important preventative measure towards retaining those who are on the cusp of making a move. 

3. Counter with more than just cash

What steps can you take to prevent a staff member from leaving who has been offered a position elsewhere? 65% of employers tell us that they have given counter offers or cash in order to retain staff. While it can be tempting to throw money at the situation, our research shows that 40% of professionals who were offered a cash only counter offer, go on to restart their job search within a year.

Remember, staff members may start thinking about leaving an organisation for reasons other than remuneration. Offering additional benefits such as flexible hours, clear career progression plans or giving them more autonomy in their role can ensure employees will stick with employers for longer.

Providing staff with opportunities for further training or the chance to take on new responsibilities is a valuable retention strategy and can prevent the emergence of skills shortages if staff do leave.

4. All work and no play

We’ve all heard of the types of perks staff receive at Silicon Valley’s large tech companies. Google has a dry cleaning service and an onsite gym. At Facebook you can enjoy free food all day and have your holiday snaps processed. While these perks may seem overly generous they are fast becoming the norm as companies compete for the best talent. If you’re not already doing so, consider introducing initiatives such as free breakfasts or subsidised gym memberships.

In the long run, the return in terms of employee satisfaction and commitment will far outweigh the financial costs.

5. Hire when you need to

If you are losing staff it can be tempting to push more responsibility onto your existing people. Remember though, that there is a difference between upskilling, and pushing extra work onto your employees in order to bridge skills gaps.

Once more, communication is key. It is important to identify which members of your staff are happy to take on more responsibility. Forcing an increased workload onto those who will not want it can lead to further talent shortages, which could leave you struggling to fill client demands. If you need to fill a position, start looking as soon as possible - it can often take longer than anticipated to find the right fit for a role.


To find more comprehensive information on how to manage skills shortages, download our latest whitepaper ‘Recruiting professionals in a candidate short market’.

Ready to hire? Contact one of our specialised consultants today.

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