Nurturing staff loyalty in a difficult labour market

August 31, 2023

Amidst their many other issues, businesses can be bedevilled by staff recruitment and retention issues to the point where some have had to change their business models to fit in with the human resources available to them.

Despite falling job vacancies, there’s no doubt that it’s a tight labour market and that working lives have been transformed by the pandemic. How can companies generate the vital staff loyalty that protects them in a time where recent research by one recruitment consultancy has revealed that 42% of employees it spoke to were looking for a new role and 62% didn’t feel that their existing position was secure?


Covid has revolutionised people’s working lives. For all the traditionalists harrumphing about reduced productivity and demanding a return to the office, working from home and other forms of flexible working are well and truly out of the Genie’s lamp. Staff want flexibility from their employees and working practices that can reflect an individual’s particular needs. Businesses need to understand that their people are not just resources and can no longer be shoehorned into a one-size-fits-all HR policy.

Career progression

A clear career path supported by training and skills development is an essential part of the loyalty toolkit. Employees will often leave a business if they can’t see the chance of a bigger role ahead of them. Inevitably, they’ll look elsewhere for that promotion. It’s vital to make staff aware of where their job is going within the business. Nurturing their growth and progression helps to increase their engagement, boost their productivity and save time and money on having to deal with excessive staff turnover.


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Incentive schemes

Of course, competitive basic pay is a major motivator in recruiting staff, especially as so many people are battling to pay their housing costs, feed their families and heat their homes, but there’s more than money involved in keeping them.

Too many businesses make the mistake of treating employee share schemes as something of an afterthought, but candidates in the jobs market see them as a differentiating factor between employers, as incentive plans can offer very valuable rewards. For the employer, a properly structured share plan should have no immediate cash flow implications and can act as a very effective pair of golden handcuffs, encouraging employees to stay the course to reap the benefits from the plan. Best of all, these schemes offer significant tax advantages to both the employer and employee.

Effective dialogue

The new hybrid or wholly virtual world of work requires business leaders to work much harder at connecting with their people emotionally to encourage loyalty. Internal communications must be open, honest and very definitely two-way, with staff being provided with safe channels through which they can share their worries and doubts without fear of being judged adversely. Equally, business leaders need to be up front in sharing not just their triumphs but their problems and challenges.

Staff can be a priceless source of knowledge about the inner workings of a business, as well as a fount of good ideas for improving its performance. Management needs to tap into this and be prepared to reward employees for constructive suggestions. For individual employees, this provides both a financial and an emotional boost, whilst it also fosters an entrepreneurial environment from top to bottom in the organisation.

Getting expert help

Smaller businesses aren’t always able to a support a sophisticated HR function in house and may lack experience of generating meaningful staff engagement amongst their leadership teams. This is where engaging with specialist external professionals can be money well spent, either for one off projects or on an ongoing basis.

How we can help

We have extensive experience advising business leaders, and we will always work with you to find the best solution for you and your business.

One of our Partners would be more than happy to have a non-obligatory confidential chat with you. We can be contacted at or call us on 020 3326 6454 and we will arrange for a call with one of our Partners.

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