The Great Retention: How to Retain Employees During the Great Resignation


Why is this happening?

How is the Great Resignation hurting businesses?

What can you do to retain employees?
     1. Support employee wellbeing
      2. Make sure you have a caring culture
      3. Hire the right people
      4. Have a solid onboarding process
      5. Ensure remote employees are supported and included
      6. Assist employees with career progression

Do you want to improve employee experience and business productivity?



The humble worker has never been in greater demand — and they know it.

A study conducted by Randstad UK in 2021 found that a quarter (24%) of all employees were considering leaving their job within three to six months. What’s more, 69% of the workforce feels confident about finding a new job if they do decide to leave their current roles.

Prior to the pandemic, just 11% of workers would be expected to move jobs.

The Great Resignation is a combination of a number of factors, with stress and other mental health considerations, ‘pandemic burnout’, as well as poor employee experience leading to people considering their options, a high number of job vacancies has also provided unhappy employees more opportunities to move on.

Regardless of the cause, the implications are clear — organisations have to act now to ensure they don’t lose their top talent, and this will require a big emphasis on employee experience and wellbeing at work.




The Covid pandemic gave people the opportunity to reflect on their lives and, in particular, their work-life balance. Having previously spent hours commuting and working long hours in the office, people have now had a glimpse of a different way of working. They enjoyed the extra time spent at home with their families, as well as the flexibility offered by remote working.

“The pandemic has changed how some people think about life, work, and what they want out of both,” said Victoria Short, CEO at Randstad UK.

“It’s made people step back and rethink their lives. Covid has reminded them that life is too short.”

Workers in certain sectors are quitting at higher rates, with accommodation and food service activities seeing the largest growth in job vacancies since the start of the pandemic:



Lower paying jobs, such as in hospitality and retail, are particularly vulnerable to this increased competition. For example, if you can get £1/hour more at a different restaurant, why not make the switch?

An increase in vacancies across all sectors is a key element of the Great Resignation. While people were staying put in the midst of lockdown, sometimes in roles they were unhappy in, they now recognise that it’s a seller’s market when it comes to their labour.


Another factor is that people who would’ve left their jobs during Covid have waited until now to make a move. 

Job vacancies fell to a record low in April-June 2020 as a result of severe job uncertainty and businesses putting a halt on hiring, but these workers are now ready to take a chance with a new company, and those companies are ready to hire again.


How is the Great Resignation hurting businesses?

The Randstad survey mentioned above shows the stark challenge businesses currently face in retaining their staff. With such a high proportion of the workforce considering leaving their jobs, organisations have to go the extra mile to retain their best people.

Last year, the British Chamber of Commerce released a report that showed 70% of businesses faced difficulty finding staff. The sectors that were struggling the most were construction (82%), followed by hotels and catering (76%).

Organisations across all sectors need to do better at attracting and retaining staff, but while the Great Resignation is posing a lot of challenges, it should be seen as an opportunity. High skilled and experienced workers are on the move — and if you do the right things you could snap them up.


What can you do to retain employees?

In the face of the Great Resignation, how to retain employees is a question all businesses need to be asking themselves. Let’s take a look at six things you can do to attract and retain the best people.

1. Support employee wellbeing

Supporting your employees’ wellbeing means ensuring their mental, physical and financial health are essential if you want to retain your top talent.

All three of these wellbeing pillars can be addressed through implementing employee benefit and reward programmes:

Mental wellbeing

Implementing an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) can go a long way to providing mental health support for your workforce.

EAPs are designed to support workers who are dealing with stress, anxiety and depression, either as a result of their home or work life. Our EAP provides access to accredited counsellors who are available for either telephone or face-to-face sessions.

Implementing an EAP helps to create a supportive company culture and leads to a happier workforce — and a happy employee who knows their employer cares about their wellbeing is more likely to stick around for longer.

Physical wellbeing

Did you know that physical health accounts for 84% of direct effects on productivity loss?

Healthy employees are more alert, make quicker decisions and are happier — but how can you promote a healthier lifestyle?

Discounted gym memberships and cycle-to-work schemes are great for encouraging a healthier lifestyle, but they support financial wellbeing too.  For example, our gym membership scheme can save your staff up to 25% with some of the UK’s biggest brands, while our cycle-to-work scheme can help them save up to 42% in tax and NI contributions.

Financial wellbeing

Salary sacrifice schemes, like the cycle-to-work scheme mentioned above, can help your staff to make the most of their money.

Our employee discounts and rewards platform can also help them save money on everything from the weekly shop to big ticket, luxury items like cars and family holidays.

By ensuring your employees’ wellbeing is looked after across all three of these areas you’ll make it much more likely they’ll want to stay with the company for the long term.

2. Make sure you have a caring culture

You can’t expect your employees to care about the organisation if you don’t care about them. 

A culture of care and respect requires some work, but it’s essential for employee engagement and staff retention.

Make sure managers are having regular check-ins with their team, particularly if they’re remote workers, and providing an outlet for raising problems and concerns. You should also encourage employees to provide feedback on management and the company, either privately or publicly. This shows that the organisation is listening and taking their feelings onboard.

The British Psychological Society has developed a framework for creating a caring culture in the workplace, which includes:

  • Support and learning — effective line management and supervision; career advice; and providing access to wellbeing support.
  • Organisational culture — tackling stigma, discrimination and bullying; cultivating psychological safety; and supporting mental health at work.
  • Organisational interventions — a healthy working environment; Compassion Circles; and learning cycles.
  • Leadership and governance — compassionate and inclusive leadership; a wellbeing strategy; and effective communications.

3. Hire the right people

You’re not going to retain staff if you’re not hiring the right people in the first place.

If you’ve hired the wrong person for the wrong role, or someone who isn’t a good fit for the organisation, they’ll soon become unhappy, dissatisfied, and start looking elsewhere.

Regularly review your interview process to identify issues that are leading to poor hires, and consider ‘culture fit’ when meeting applicants.

4. Have a solid onboarding process

The first couple of weeks in a job are essential to helping that person settle into the role and feel at home within the organisation. And, onboarding can have a big impact on retention.

Research conducted by Brandon Hall Group found that a strong onboarding process can improve employee retention by 82%

Your onboarding process should provide a deep dive into your new employee’s position, as well as the company culture and how they can thrive within it.

It’s easy to rush someone through the onboarding process, particularly when you’re under-resourced and need someone to start quickly. But, the training and support you provide initially can set the tone for an employee’s entire tenure at the company.

5. Ensure remote employees are supported and included

Flexible and hybrid working is here to stay, so you need to make sure remote workers feel as supported and included as they would if they were in the office every day. This is particularly important for new hires who are working remotely, and they’ll need extra support and attention to make sure they settle in well.

Managers need to be scheduling regular meetings with remote employees, as well as keeping them in the loop with everything going on within the team, and the organisation as a whole.

6. Assist employees with career progression

A lack of career progression was cited as a key factor in the decision to leave a job by 40% of employees, according to a 2018 report by Global Talent Monitor.

People want to feel like they’re moving forward in their careers, but that doesn’t just mean more money — make sure you’re investing in your people and supporting their learning and development. 

Give staff time to attend training seminars and conferences (either virtually or in-person), develop robust internal training and put in place Personal Development Plans (PDPs) that are regularly reviewed and updated by both the employee and their line manager.

This will benefit the business too. A more skilled workforce delivers more value for an organisation, executing tasks faster while offering new abilities and competencies that help the business evolve as requirements change.


Do you want to improve employee experience and business productivity?

The continuation of the Great Resignation will be one of the biggest challenges of 2022 for organisations across all sectors. But by investing time and resources in the right places, you could be perfectly placed to take advantage of a large talent pool of people looking for a new challenge.

Improving employee satisfaction won’t just improve your own retention rates, but it’s also going to help attract new hires thanks to word of mouth recommendations, great online employee ratings and a strong reputation for employee engagement.

Do you want to find out more about how Sodexo Engage can help you to weather the Great Resignation and retain more of your best staff? 

We’ve been helping the UK’s most successful organisations reward and retain their best employees for over 60 years. After a short consultation we’ll be able to identify the ideal employee experience strategy that’s tailored to your business’s specific needs — so what are you waiting for?

Get in touch with our expert team today.