Staff Retention: Winning Strategies for SMEs

Employee retention has become a key success factor for many SMEs. The current low unemployment rate makes of candidates a scarce resource on the market. Approach People Recruitment, an international recruitment company created in 2000 in Dublin, provides a good case study on staff retention.

Founded in Dublin by a young visionary Frenchman, the agency Approach People Recruitment was born with a simple mission: create a more efficient way to manage the international recruitment process.

As the company celebrates its 20th anniversary, founder and Managing Director Laurent Girard-Claudon and his team continue to target a unique niche in the recruitment marketplace.

“Having moved from France to Ireland in the late 1990s, I quickly realised that many companies were struggling to find multi-lingual and multi-cultural candidates, particularly in
Dublin which was fast becoming an international business centre. It was also apparent that
‘traditional’ recruitment agencies had trouble placing such internationally minded candidates,” explains Laurent Girard-Claudon.

“Approach People Recruitment was started in 2000 to fill these voids - to assist companies
seeking a German speaker for their Paris office, or to help an Italian speaker searching for a
job opportunity in London. Our mission was in being truly international, which was unique at
that time.”

Now two decades later, Approach People Recruitment has grown to become a chosen European partner for some of the world’s leading multinational companies including Amazon,, Apple, Rolex, Nestlé, LVMH to name but a few.

As Approach People Recruitment has continued to expand, not only geographically, but also
in more specific practice sectors such as engineering, life sciences, finance, IT, retail, sales and
luxury, the agency has focused on their own employee retention efforts. Their success provides an interesting case study, particularly in Dublin where recruitment for talent, especially by ‘Big Tech,’ is intense and highly competitive.

A ‘People First’ Approach

“Over the past 20 years, we have been very successful not only in Ireland, but internationally.
However, to continue to thrive, we not only need to consistently attract new talent, but to retain our employees over the long-term,” says Laurent Girard-Claudon.

“Competing with ‘Big Tech’ as a SME is certainly challenging, so we aim to offer what they
can’t: flexibility and agility – a ‘People First’ approach,” he continues.

“We have discovered that personalising benefits for each employee is hugely impactful. Not
just with the likes of health insurance, flexible hours and unlimited bonuses, but perks that they wouldn’t necessarily purchase for themselves such as exotic mini-getaways or a pair of luxury shoes. Creativity is key. For example, an Uber Pro allowance means a lot to a team member who is always relying on public transport. Whilst our tailored wellness package offers the possibility to go to the gym or relax at the Spa.”

The agency’s ‘People First’ approach extends to its onboarding process for new staff hires.
“Research has shown that a new employee will make up their mind about a short-term versus
longer-term investment in their company during their first 30 days on the job, so we have
learned how crucial this time is,” explains Laurent Girard-Claudon. “We have made it a priority to provide quality training from day one, as well as personal coaching throughout their career here at Approach People.”

“The improvements in our employee integration has naturally led to other changes, such as
more team feedback sessions, investments in team training tools, career path reviewed every
semester and even the ability to transfer between our various office locations.”

Turnover is a real threat for any company. Indeed, studies have shown that the average cost to a company of losing an employee is up to a full year of their annual salary. However, for
Approach People, this people-driven focus has not only improved employee satisfaction and
retention, but their clients too appreciate the stability of our long-term familiar faces. All good
news for their bottom line.

“As we look to recruit 40 new team members across our different offices of Dublin, Paris,
Geneva, Barcelona and Madrid this year, we know that continuing these ‘People First’ efforts
will propel us into a successful third decade.” concludes Laurent Girard-Claudon.

Emilie Langlade
Hopscotch Europe
+353 (0)1 639 8881 /
Ellen O’Brien
Approach People Recruitment
+353 (0)1 400 35 00/

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