From the Blog

Employee retention. An enterprise risk?

Employee satisfaction and engagement is as much of an risk management issue as ensuring your workforce complies with conduct risk standards and regulations.

Examining employee engagement programs with a risk lens is essential as:

  • the resources and investment required to replace staff impacts profitability
  • low retention can result in a disengaged workforce impacting outputs across a range of sales, service and compliance areas
  • a poor workforce culture can lead to brand and reputational damage making it more challenging and resource-intensive to replace staff.

One of the major causes of low employee satisfaction and engagement is poorly managed compliance and risk policies and processes. While an enterprise risk management system can help, to have an impact it needs to be built around strong programs that tackle attrition, embed the behaviours that promote compliance and safe performance and help team members understand the ‘why’ behind compliance and risk polices.

Poor retention is an enterprise risk

High turnover requires businesses to commit considerable resources to recruiting, onboarding and training. Research company Gallup found that companies typically spend one and a half to two times an annual salary replacing an employee (Gallup 2019). A resignation also puts more pressure on other team members who are left behind which in turn may lead to more resignations.

A range of sectors are still experiencing high turnover (and the ‘great resignation’ is still happening). NAB found that 1 in 5 Australians changed jobs in 2021 and 1 in 4 were considering it (NAB Behavioural & Industry Economics 2022), with younger workers and part-time employees more likely to be considering changing employers.

Yet, assessing and managing turnover and retention is largely not part of enterprise risk management programs.

Improving retention and risk outcomes

If you want to improve retention, compliance and manage risk, first look to the factors that drive employee engagement: great communication, recognition, sense of belonging, work-life balance, culture. Developing programs that lift these areas will help improve satisfaction and engagement outcomes.

Risk management programs

Conduct an enterprise risk assessment and establish your ERM standards and then embed and manage these with an enterprise risk management system. Ensure team members are clear on the behaviours they’re expected to demonstrate and why.

Employee coaching programs

28% of people cited a lack of growth and advancement opportunities as one of the reasons for leaving a job (Shuster 2022).  On-the-job coaching can lift both compliance and engagement. It’s highly effective at developing the behaviours you want your people to see while giving people the development opportunities and investment they’re seeking.

Coach the coach programs

Develop a ‘coach the coach’ program that continually refocuses leaders on the core competencies that make a great leader.

Rewards and recognition programs

Implement a recognition program the rewards team members for doing the right thing – not just achieving a result.

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Helping team members understand the ‘why’ behind compliance and risk policies

A lack of understanding of the ‘why’ behind compliance and risk policies can lead to an inability to retain high performing staff and is clearly a critical risk for any business, with low retention resulting in loss of profitability and poor workplace culture outcomes.

It can be easy to assume team members understand the reasoning behind workplace compliance processes, measures or changes, but this is not guaranteed. And when employees don’t understand the reasoning – the ‘why’ – they can easily become disengaged and even think that the measures are in place to make their lives more difficult!

Addressing these assumptions should be part of a risk management program and it is every leader’s responsibility to help team members understand the ‘why’ when it comes to compliance programs.

You can support team members by:

  • involving them in designing processes to improve ownership and embed changes successfully
  • providing regular updates – explaining what the changes mean for employees and customers and why the changes have been made
  • ensuring team members are clear on what ‘good’ sounds like so they can align their own behaviour with expectations
  • being consistent with coaching and performance conversations – reiterating the ‘what’, the ‘why’ and the ‘how’.

While sometimes employees might see compliance as an annoying barrier to doing their jobs well, when the ‘why’ is effectively and consistently communicated, loyal and engaged employees are more likely to understand the risk issues and the importance of adhering to compliance regulations.

Enterprise risk management solutions that both consider employee satisfaction and the ‘why’ are more likely to improve compliance and decrease risk.

How YakTrak helps

YakTrak is an enterprise risk management platform with powerful employee coaching capability. It helps:

  • manage a risk from when a risk first arises, through to the employee coaching, goal setting and reporting that happens to remediate and manage risks
  • provide clarity over conduct risk and compliance expectations and drives development activity around behaviour gaps
  • lift employee engagement by providing consistent coaching and development activity with tracked outcomes.

Get in touch with us today to find out how YakTrak can help lift engagement and improve risk management in your organisation.

Find out how YakTrak can help improve retention and reduce risk

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Gallup 2019, This Fixable Problem Costs U.S. Businesses $1 Trillion, Gallup,

NAB Behavioural and Industry Insights 2022, Australia’s Great Resignation, NAB Business Insights,

Shuster L 2022, Out With The Great Resignation, In With The Great Retention: How To Keep Valuable Employees In 2023, Forbes,


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