Playing for keeps: how to hold on to your star players

One of the most unaddressed challenges in many organisations is how to keep good employees. Despite high turnover and poor engagement being linked with reduced productivity, absenteeism and other issues, an iHR Australia survey has shown that many companies have high turnover rates but no formal engagement strategy.


iHR Australia surveyed over 125 business leaders from multi-location organisations across Australia regarding their employee engagement policies and procedures. Survey questions looked into the integration of employee engagement practices related to retention rates and employee turnover.

iHR’s HR Maturity in Multi-location Operators survey report noted that, according to the Australian Human Resources Institute, the average employee turnover rate in 2008 was 18.5 per cent. This figure had dropped to 13 per cent by 2012, and although this was considered “more in keeping with best practice”, it could still be seen as a high figure.

However, the responses to the survey suggested staff turnover rates were even higher, with 38 per cent of respondents reporting a turnover rate of 20 per cent, 36 per cent citing a rate of 11 – 20 per cent and just over a quarter (26 per cent) saying their turnover rate is under 10 per cent.


In spite of these high turnover figures, a third of respondents (33 per cent) admit their organisations do not have formal processes in place to monitor the morale of staff. Moreover, 17 per cent of respondents admitted their company has failed to put formal processes in place to communicate information to staff.

A recent post in the HR Daily Community blog suggests that fairness is a key issue in improving and maintaining employee engagement and is clearly an attribute that managers need to cultivate to keep their teams on side. With research and commentary also suggesting that many upcoming leaders are not prepared for the responsibilities of a leadership role, it is important that organisations build management training into engagement and retention strategies. As the saying goes, “people leave managers, not companies”.

Training programs such as Stepping Up – Front Line Managers Training, Professional and Courageous Conversations Training and I’m a Leader, i’m a Coach are part of a range of leadership and management programs designed to up-skill new and existing leaders and help them effectively manage, develop and retain their team members.