Taking Your Retention and Engagement to the Next Level – Key Event Takeaways


Need some guidance when it comes to attracting and retaining top talent for your business?

We’ve joined forces with HiBob to bring you the ‘Talent Insights Event Series’ to help you do just that. This series of exclusive events that will allow you to optimise your workplace strategies right now and for the next 12 months.

To get things started we brought together two industry experts, Lucy Wilson, Chief People Officer at Gumtree, Cars Guide and Auto Trader and Sarah Hadj, People Programs Manager at Mr Yum, along with our host, Damien Andreasen, Vice President of HiBob. Damien, who leads HiBob’s APJ operations, is super passionate about building collaborative and inclusive workplace cultures, growing the APJ team from just four people to 30 in under two years! Our experts sat down to chat about how to refine and adapt your retention and engagement strategies to make sure you continue attracting, and keeping, the best talent in the market.

Time for a deep diagnosis 

Before you dive into creating and implementing some fantastical new strategy for your business, both our experts agree the first thing you should be looking at is your organisation’s culture.

You know we love to start a discussion with some solid facts and Sarah had some great stats to share.

  • Employees that are engaged are 87% less likely to leave an organisation.
  • Replacing an employee can cost anywhere from 20% to 200% of that departed person’s salary

To find out how your employees are feeling and how the culture of your business is faring, both Lucy and Sarah recommend engagement surveys.

As Lucy highlights, having such a survey allows you to conduct a deep diagnosis of the organisation and ‘gives people an opportunity to talk about what’s important to them’. This allows you ‘to form a picture for how [you] might retain and engage people ongoing’.

With this information, as Sarah noted, you will be able to ‘measure how motivated people are to put in that extra effort into the organisation and how committed they are to staying’. From there you can ‘understand where to be focusing your attention when you’re building out a strategy’.

Leaders love data

So you’ve done your survey, you think you’ve got a good idea of where to start things, now, how do you get the big bosses on board?

As Sarah highlighted, ‘having buy-in from the business and the leadership team is really critical’ to ensure you don’t find yourself coming up against barriers that slow things down. When things slow down, tensions can rise, because ‘when employees take the time to be filling out these surveys, they’re expecting to get the results’.

We know leaders love data, so give them some. 

As Sarah noted, ‘the data from your engagement surveys will become your education piece’ to help them to ‘understand the why behind it’. This data will ‘give them a really nice view under the hood of what people are saying and where these opportunities are’.

For Lucy, something to keep in mind is ensuring the strategy you’re looking to develop actually aligns with the business. Ask questions like ‘what is it that the organisation’s wanting to drive? How do we get to that 12 month mark? What will success look like?’

But don’t forget the whole reason you started this, your people. Lucy reminds us you need to maintain a ‘collaborative approach to designing the way that [you] want to do this, [a way] which encapsulates everybody’s feedback’. You want to ensure you’ve given people ‘lots of opportunity to be able to participate … before [you] start making those decisions on everyone’s behalf’.

Talkin’ ‘bout my generation

With most workplaces having employees that span a number of different generations, how do you ensure initiatives you put in place cover a variety of generational drivers? You guessed it, just talk to them.

One of the key themes Lucy discovered most employees were after, no matter their generation, was wellness – ‘self wellness, individual wellness, team wellness [and] family wellness’. Leaders within organisations are also focusing on this, ‘wanting to be equipped to have more meaningful discussions with their people’.

While people may actually want the same thing, Lucy discovered they ‘just want different options within it that might culturally align for them’.

For Sarah, she’s found that younger generations, like Gen Z, want ‘transparency of information, they want the constructive feedback’. They ‘value leaders that are on the ground working with them, trying to solve problems with them, not just directing them what to be doing’. People ‘want to be working with empathetic managers and leaders, people that understand, that are able to speak to them as a human and not as an authoritative figure’.

Values + Behaviour = Culture

Creating a workplace that engages employees and values their thoughts, feelings and feedback all centres around having a good culture.

But how is culture defined and how do you develop an effective culture within an organisation?

For Sarah, culture is ‘a product of our mantras, our high performance behaviours, the attitudes of the team, the aspirations we set as a company, the way we support and nurture each other.’ Having a CEO that remains transparent about everything happening within the business instills trust and respect within employees.

For Lucy, culture can be encompassed in the Simon Sinek saying ‘our values, plus behaviours, equals our culture’. Culture is ‘all about how we show up, how we connect and how we take action’. What kind of environment do people feel like they are able to be their best selves? Does their current work environment enable this?

Our host, Damien, also advocates for saying goodbye to a traditional top-down approach. Instead of a company defining its culture and values and simply passing those down to employees, we should be creating a culture of collaboration. Giving them more of a voice in shaping ‘their reality and what the business looks like’.

A look into the future

With all that in mind, what then does the next 12 months look like when it comes to strategies for attracting and retaining talent?

For Sarah, once upon a time the focus was completely on talent attraction, creating a ‘well- structured hiring process that was aligned to our values’, a whole lot of employee brand and marketing, along with really progressive employee benefits. 

Now it’s all about engagement and retention. With the headcount number no longer growing at such a rapid rate, the shift has moved from vertical growth to horizontal growth. It’s about ‘supporting people’s career development’, looking at L&D programs and upskilling and training more empathic managers.

Lucy highlighted that her focus in the future will be ‘values and reinvigorating those values and our behavioural framework’. With a big focus on retention, effort will go to ‘driving purpose and creating opportunities and options around how we do flex’. It’s about being able to help people personally, as well as professionally. We love a bit of work-life balance. 

Wrapping up the conversation, Damien reminded us that it’s important to keep ‘listening to what’s happening in the organisation to help inform some of the strategies you use to thrive’. There will always bea constant in change and that is normal’. Whether your focus is attracting, retaining or both, it’s all about focusing on the people (who would have guessed). Get a deep understanding of what you’re people like, what they want. Then, do your best to deliver on that. 

When things do get tough, as they inevitably will, Damien also reminds us we don’t need to ‘suffer in isolation’.  Remember ‘that there is a very strong network out there’ of like-minded individuals and ‘you just need to tap into it’. We’re always stronger together.

Want to get in on the action at our next event? Click here to check out and register for our upcoming sessions.

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