Apprentices are 85% more likely to stay in employment…

As we start to move on from the  pandemic, employer concerns are shifting from operational HR challenges to a renewed focus on the people themselves. 2021 was the year of the “Great Resignation” – a year when workers quit their jobs at historic rates. This trend seems to be continuing into 2022, with a survey from Slack showing a third of UK employees are considering a career change.

Initially thought to be driven by flexible working, this mass exodus appears to stem from much deeper problems with only 1 in 5 leavers stating this as their reason for leaving.

People-centric policies are key to retaining employees and improving overall morale whilst improving productivity. According to an annual survey from SD Worx, the HR and Payroll specialist, ‘The Future of Work and People’ survey shows that UK employers now consider employee retention and attrition as their top HR challenges for the coming year.

In the UK, the top five HR challenges for 2022 are as follows:

  • Employee retention and attrition – 45%
  • Staff welfare and resilience – 44%
  • Employee engagement and experience – 40%
  • Staff planning (including flexible workers) – 35%
  • Talent attraction and recruitment – 30%

According to the Deloitte Global Millennial Survey 2020, inclusion, diversity, sustainability and reskilling all drive an employees’ intention to remain with more than 6 in 10 of those surveyed highlighting these policies.

Larger businesses and SMEs are faced with the problem of creating a meaningful development path, with an emphasis on understanding people’s career expectations. By strengthening succession planning, employees have the opportunity to gain different development experiences through sideways moves where promotions are not feasible.

The pandemic reinforced the importance of workers being adaptable and willing and able to pivot or learn new skills as necessary as jobs were being reprioritised on immediate needs.

Developing an employee retention strategy is essential when facing the rising costs and causes of turnover specific to the organisation. As well as basic pay and benefits, organisations should consider the following practices, all of which have been proven to play a positive role in retention.

  • Flexibility – Where possible, accommodate individual preferences on working hours and times.
  • Treat people fairly – One of the biggest causes of voluntary resignation, is a perception of unfairness which has serious ramifications.
  • Employee well-being – Support managers to help their teams thrive and manage issues such as workplace stress.
  • Career development and progression – Maximise opportunities to develop skills and careers.
  • Consult employees – Ensure employees have a voice through regular performance conversations, attitude surveys and grievance systems.

Apprenticeships can be key to improving talent retention and hiring apprentices brings a number of benefits to employers:

  • 80% of employers have maintained or improved future skills in the business
  • 70% of employers have seen improvements in the goods and services they offer
  • 66% of employers have experienced improved staff morale

Studies have shown that apprentices themselves are 85% more likely to stay in employment post qualification with a staggering 64% staying with the same employer.

Why do apprentices stay?

From the offset, the apprentice is valued and invested in by their employer during the scheme, preparing them fully for a career in the company. Candidates themselves are much more driven as many have specifically sought out an apprenticeship, particularly at entry-level, and are likely to be focused with a clear intention to stay within the business.

Apprenticeships are an opportunity for development, mapped to specific roles they show learners a clearly mapped progression route. With a structure in place, apprenticeships create a real sense of confidence in the learner which is an essential part of the learning process and offers an understanding of the progression route meaning that managers are not only ready to step up, but also alleviate the anxiety of the additional responsibilities.

Strengthening the onboarding process creates an open and engaging culture, which is vital to the first 6 months as this is when most new starters (35%) are likely to leave.

Dealing with larger pools of apprentices, creation of cohorts and workshops help to develop that sense of community.

Establishing strong eligibility criteria for the screening process with a focus on suitability assures that candidates will enjoy the role and understand what their responsibilities are. This applies to both external and internal candidates.

If you want to find out more about how apprenticeships can help your business solve its retention issue, get in touch today on 0800 783 2545.


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