Imagine what a difference it would make if you could keep all your top billers! When you think of it like that, it’s obvious that investing in good retention strategies more than pays itself back. So here’s a menu of ten of my top ways you can hold onto your staff:

  1. Employee ownership – if your employees have a stake in the business then that vested interest in the company’s performance will improve both retention and their individual performance. And it’s a virtuous circle - improved performance will typically mean better billing and more commission further improving retention...
  2. EMI shares – EMI share schemes are a proven way to tie senior employees into the business helping day to day revenue and, correctly structured, making the business more valuable to investors.
  3. Staggered commission – recruitment companies that pay out commission in single lump sums will see employees often resign the day after a pay out. Staggering commission means that successful recruiters will always have a pipeline of commission due to them meaning that there will never be a good time to walk away.
  4. Social purpose (CSR) – recruitment companies with a social purpose enjoy better retention rates. This is particularly true with recruitment firms looking to engage with generation Y who expect employers to make a positive difference to society.
  5. Social budget – the bonds between employees that come from a positive team atmosphere make it much harder for other employers to tempt your team away. Social activity is indispensable in building these bonds.
  6. Lifestyle career options – the traditional nine 'til five role is changing in all areas of society as employees look for careers that can fit around their lifestyles and modern technologies. Recruitment firms able to offer flexible, remote or other lifestyle career options will enjoy higher retention rates.
  7. Career development plans – a formal career progression plan gives staff confidence that they will be rewarded if they achieve their targets and so reduces the urge to look outside the company for career progression.
  8. Marketing, training, admin and tech support – the more support recruiters have the more they can bill and earn. Reducing admin, delivering visible marketing support and offering plenty of training gives employees confidence that they have the tools they need to perform to the best of their abilities.
  9. Sabbaticals – recruitment is an intense industry.  Offering your consultants the opportunity to take an extended break if they hit agreed targets can both be a motivator and help to reinvigorate them.
  10. Training grants – supporting consultants with their career goals by funding their training shows a commitment to helping them develop. Many companies will cover the cost of external training courses to support employees’ development but with the provision that if the employee leaves within a certain period of time after the training finishes then they need to repay the cost of the training. 

Alex Arnot is non-executive director to more than 20 recruitment companies.