Beyond the balance sheet

Employee retention strategies for the rise of the commuter

Jasmine Brook 17/5/2016 4 minute read

Jasmine Brook explains how employees are forced into a long commute to get on the property ladder and what SME businesses can do to retain them.

Rising property prices have traditionally be seen as a sign of increasing wealth and a vibrant economy. Unfortunately there can come a point where they become unreachable for all but a small section of society resulting in potential social, political and economic issues. It may come as a surprise but one group impacted by the UK housing crisis includes SME employers.

Such is the scale of this problem that entrepreneurs and owner managers will have to implement specific employee retention strategies to retain your best people and grow your business. This was the subject of two presentations we performed at the event, Business in Oxford. Though specific to this location in parts, many of the trends and solutions you'll find universally applicable.

Why the property market is a danger to your business and staff retention

Economically  successful  cities  across  the  globe  have been  witnessing  a worrying trend for some time now, an influx of wealthy people are purchasing residential property in these locations. Oxford hasn't just proven to be typical of this, the city is actually at the center of the housing crisis after being ranked as the most expensive place to live in the UK. It's made home ownership a pipe dream for many workers.


This issue is a  big  concern  for  business  owners  because  as  the  quote  goes, “employees are a company’s greatest asset.” Property prices in Oxford for example are now 11 times the average earnings of workers, forcing them to emigrate further and further out to live. The result is the rise of the commuter and all the associated travel issues that come with this.





How long will your staff tolerate rising journey times and the ever increasing cost, hassle and chaos of the commute? Is it only a matter of time before they look to opportunities locally as viable, both financially and career wise?

What you can implement to keep hold of your best people

Keeping and developing your best employees is essential to your success. That’s because most of the work your business performs and the all important relationships you hold with clients/customers are likely to be very reliant on them. It means their knowledge and skills are critical to driving sales and the customer experience in your organisation.


Ask yourself, could your company survive without them? High property prices and greater commuting distances need not spell the end for your business.



Here are some initiatives you can implement to help keep your best staff, these are covered in more detail in the above video:

  • Developing a mission statement and values as a basis for hiring and assessing staff performance
  • Implementing work life balance initiatives
  • Balancing salaries versus the annual budget
  • Creating a career plan and guiding employees
  • Establishing an HR strategy
  • Internal communication
  • Other forms of incentivisation such as share schemes

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The content of this post is up to date and relevant as at 17/05/2016.

Please be aware that information provided by this blog is subject to regular legal and regulatory change. We recommend that you do not take any information held within our website or guides (eBooks) as a definitive guide to the law on the relevant matter being discussed. We suggest your course of action should be to seek legal or professional advice where necessary rather than relying on the content supplied by the author(s) of this blog.


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