Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Improving employee retention

A previous article mentioned that UK workers in the retail, leisure and catering industries were found to have the least job satisfaction, with 31% saying they rarely or never feel fulfilled in their job. It should therefore come as no surprise to read in the 2009 CIPD Recruitment, Retention and Turnover report that labour turnover in the hotel, catering and leisure industry is running at 34%, but even that is a decrease on the previous year’s figure of 41%. Nationally, the overall labour turnover rate is 15.7% which is a significant reduction from the previous year’s rate of 17.3%. Labour turnover is highest in the private sector, with a turnover rate of 16.8%.

Perhaps the finding that should raise the most eyebrows is the fact that respondents consider that the most effective method of improving retention is to improve the HR skills of line managers. Sadly only 39% claim to be doing this though! What we do instead is offer increased learning and development opportunities (47%), improve the induction process (45%), increase pay (42%) and improve selection techniques (42%)
  • What could be the factors that lead to turnover in the hotel, catering and leisure industry being so high?
  • What could be the reasons why the public sector finds it easier than the private sector to hold onto its employees?
  • How effective do you believe the quoted methods (increased learning and development etc.) of improving retention to be?
  • Why might so few organisations have attempted to improve the HR skills of line managers when it’s claimed to be the most effective method of reducing labour turnover?


  1. An interesting choice of graphic for this one, Mr Salisbury. Not sure whether it relates to restraining employees within organisations or shackling managers with the tedious (as they see it) aspects of managing staff!

    My experience within a large organisation is that you get some managers who are more than happy to fully embrace the remit of their role ie managing people (which includes having those difficult conversations, managing performance and tackling absence issues) however the majority are usually far to busy contributing to the bottom line to ‘waste time’ in people issues. After all, that’s what the HR function is for, isn’t it?!

    From HR’s point of view, it is a scary prospect to devolve people matters to the line as the risk of ending up in an employment tribunal is just too great. Better keep holding managers hands and, if truth be told, keeping themselves needed.

    It does seem a bit strange to me that managers who are perfectly capable of dealing with customers seem incapable of talking to their staff. To manage HR matters is no mystery – the competencies are the same. OK you may need to follow some HR procedures but investigating a staffing issue surely can’t be too dissimilar to getting to the bottom of a customer complaint. I do think managers are allowed to plead ignorance on HR matters when in fact a bit of common sense and application would go a long way to making life better all round.

    Rant over – pass me the handcuffs!


  2. We can do more to help employees understand the value of their whole compensation package - everything from paying for sick days, through benefits including health as well as salary - the more traditional interpretation of compensation.
    Human Resource Consultant in Hosur | Industrial Employees Relations Consultant