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Why you should be keeping staff around for the long haul

By Jack Campbell | |5 minute read

Retention is a key player when combating talent shortages. Hiring new employees can be time-consuming and expensive.

According to ELMO Software, the average cost of hiring a new worker is $8,000. Some positions that require additional training can rack up thousands of dollars more.

Creating a workplace that fosters workers for the long haul can mitigate these costs as you’re utilising the talent you have.


“It’s definitely a candidate’s market. I think the best way for us to stand out is we have longevity in the company. And that seems to be very appealing to new candidates when we interview them, that staff have been there, some to people over 35 years,” said Mandy Oliver, financial controller and HR manager at Brooks Australia.

This can be achieved by providing a solid culture. If employees feel connected to their jobs and the colleagues around them, they’re more likely to enjoy work.

Forbes discussed the impact of strong company culture, saying it leads to better:

  • Innovation
  • Retention
  • Productivity
  • Profitability

Job security is also important. As the anxiety looms over whether we’ll fall into another recession, employers can ease their employees’ stress by providing security.

“In this climate of economic downturn and high interest rates, job security is very important to people now; they need that. Knowing that there’s regular income coming in,” said Ms Oliver.

Providing flexible working options can also assist in keeping long-term staff. Harvard Business Review noted that flexible working arrangements rank as the top benefit employees seek.

Flexibility can take many forms. It could be nine-day fortnights, work-from-home options, the choice for staff to choose their hours, and much more.

Four-day working weeks are another big topic of discussion, which Ms Oliver said should be on every employer’s radar.

“It’s something that every company in Australia has to look at, because it is happening all over the world. And they say that there’s less sick leave, and [employees are] more productive.”

“So, it is something that we will certainly look at in the future without any doubt, because I think that’s the way that society’s going forward,” said Ms Oliver.

One key benefit of retaining workers long term is the mentoring opportunities this brings. Older workers who have been with the company longer are able to provide guidance to those less experienced who may be entering the workforce.

Ms Oliver commented: “We have a lot of older workers that have been there a long time. But we also have staff that range from 21 upwards. So, we all work well together and learn from each other.”

“Offering them mentoring and good induction programs, when we bring new staff in, to learn how to mix with the older staff members, and to be equal to the new staff members is extremely important. We want to project that the younger ones feel comfortable with the older staff, and they don’t feel intimidated.”

Eliminating ageism is important to bring these ideas into action. If older workers feel discriminated against, they aren’t going to stick around. Keeping staff members around begins by making everyone feel safe and included.



Ageism, often known as age discrimination, is the act of treating someone unjustly because of their age. In the workplace, this might manifest as a person being passed over for a job or promotion, older workers being denied benefits or early termination of employment.


Training is the process of enhancing a worker's knowledge and abilities to do a certain profession. It aims to enhance trainees' work behaviour and performance on the job.

Jack Campbell

Jack Campbell

Jack is the editor at HR Leader.