Struggling with retention?

23rd August 2023

People are at the heart of your business and the key to its success. But when economic times are tough, and people are potentially looking for greener grass, it can be helpful to start thinking about how to ensure you can attract the best talent and hold on to your best assets. One way to do this is to consider the working environment. A healthy working environment can be the difference between achieving your business goals or struggling to keep up with your competitors.

If you’ve already given this some thought, you’ve probably considered:

investing in staff training

offering higher pay

investing in staff benefits and perks

spending on a mass recruitment drive

outsourcing work to maintain productivity

But have you considered this?

“Companies with inclusive cultures have a 22% lower turnover rate than companies that don’t.” – Deloitte

To get you started in creating a culture of inclusion in your SME, here are 3 things you can do:

Invest in employee wellbeing

Your employees’ wellbeing is an important factor in determining retention, and as an SME you can foster wellbeing through initiatives such as creating employee wellness programmes, offering flexible working hours or providing mental health support services. Doing this can help employees feel valued and supported – which can, in turn, help boost their engagement and loyalty. I once worked for a company that offered an employee assistance programme that extended to family members too. I really appreciated being able to use those services when a close family member needed it.

Aside from lower turnover rates, the benefits of investing in staff wellbeing, include:

· Increased productivity – Employees who feel supported and valued are more likely to be productive and engaged.

· Improved job satisfaction – Providing employees with the tools they need to maintain their mental health and wellbeing can help them feel happier at work.

· Enhanced morale – When employees feel supported and respected, their morale is likely to improve, which can have a positive impact on team cohesion.

· Improved customer service – A happy, motivated workforce is better able to provide your customers and clients with the excellent service they deserve.

· Reduced stress – Employees who don’t feel overwhelmed by their workloads are more likely to be productive and perform better.

Putting the right policies in place

Part of creating an inclusive workplace culture in your SME is ensuring you have the right policies in place. Having the right policies in place means that everyone feels respected and included. Engage your employees when developing policy so everyone’s voice is heard.

To get started with policy development:

· Carry out an audit of your current policies – Identify areas where you could make improvements and ensure that all existing policies are up-to-date.

· Establish an inclusion committee – This group should be responsible for ensuring that any new policies are in line with your company’s commitment to inclusion.

· Introduce an anti-discrimination policy – This should be clearly communicated to all staff and enforced across the organisation.

· Provide training on inclusion – Everyone has biases and blind spots, but it’s important that these don’t get in the way of creating an inclusive workplace. Providing learning experiences that raise awareness can help to foster a culture of inclusion in the workplace.

· Collect data and measure progress – This will help you track your progress toward creating an inclusive workplace culture and identify areas where further improvements need to be made.

Promoting a sense of purpose

Everyone needs a reason to come to work. Feeling like you’re part of the bigger picture is one good reason. Promoting a sense of purpose in the workplace is an integral part of creating a successful organisation, and taking the time to identify how you can make employees feel valued and motivated will increase the chances of them staying with the business.

Of course, retention is what you want, but the added benefits to promoting a sense of purpose are:


Improved creativity – Having a sense of purpose in one’s job can help foster creativity and inspire innovative thinking.


Better problem-solving skills – Having a clear sense of direction helps to focus the mind and equip employees with the necessary skills to solve problems effectively.


Increased motivation – When employees are driven by purpose, they’re more likely to remain motivated and persist in the face of challenges.


Enhanced team cohesion – Employees with a sense of purpose are more likely to feel connected to their team, resulting in better collaboration and stronger working relationships.


Improved wellbeing – Having a clear sense of direction can help reduce stress levels and make employees feel more fulfilled in their roles.

Take these three tips as a starting point to creating a culture of inclusion in your SME and reduce the risk of losing your best people. With the average cost of replacing an employee earning £25,000 being a whopping £30,614, that’s surely not a path you want to go down.