Increasing retention cost-effectively

Case Study

High attrition is a well-known problem in professional services  Some estimates state that attrition in professional services is as high as 25%, which can have a serious impact on the bottom line and productivity.

GroHappy was asked by a major professional services firm to help them tackle high attrition among their junior grades. GroHappy provided a technology-enabled career programme, which was an engaging, effective, flexible way to support employees, without significantly impacting chargeable hours.


The challenges faced by the company

This major professional services firm was facing high attrition and declining employee engagement among junior employees who were 2-4 years into their career at the company.

They also knew that attrition and disengagement was higher among their BME (Black and Minority Ethnic) employees. Given the firm’s strong commitment to diversity and inclusion, this was a problem they they were keen to address.

Following a successful pilot with GroHappy, the company decided to offer GroHappy’s career programme to BME employees in the Audit practice who had been at the firm 2-4 years.

This group was at a critical juncture in their careers, where they are more likely to leave. Having remained at the company for around 2-4 years, many resign once they get their accounting qualification.

The firm aspired to better understand what a fulfilling career looks like for this group and to try new ways to support employees at this important career juncture. Their hope was that more employees would consider opportunities within the company – with the ultimate goal of encouraging more of them to stay at the firm.



Offering a technology-enabled Career Programme

Employees were invited to take part in GroHappy’s Career Programme. This was done on an opt-in basis, where employees chose to join the Programme if they wanted to.

The GroHappy Programme lasted for 6 weeks where employees were encouraged to spend an hour a week on the Programme. This involved:

  • Joining a series of interactive webinars, where expert facilitators covered topics to help participants reflect on their career to date, get clear on their career priorities and assess their career options.
  • Completing online self-reflection activities on GroHappy’s platform, to help them create space to think and plan their next steps.
  • Receiving curated resources (such as podcasts, events and articles) based on their answers in the guided activities.
  • Receiving a career handbook to capture their learnings, remind them of the methods they’d learnt and plan the next steps in their career.

Both employees and their Managers / Coaches we provided with tips and resources to help them have better career conversations during and after the programme.



Key takeaways and results

Overall, results from using GroHappy showed a positive impact on employee retention and self-leadership skills.


Increased likelihood of employee retention

52% of employees were more likely to stay with the firm for a year as a result of the programme.

50% of these respondents felt clearer on their next steps at the firm, so decided to stay for longer. 30% wanted to remain because of the positive career support offered by the company, and 20% because they felt more empowered to take action in the firm.

As one employee explained, “I was deciding whether I should stay or leave. After the programme, I’m leaning towards staying to build on my expertise.”


Increased clarity of development needs – and better conversations

84% of participants said they were clearer on their development needs as a result of the GroHappy programme. This positioned these employees to make better use of the opportunities already available to them in the firm – whether development opportunities on their project or signing up for relevant training.

84% of participants also felt more comfortable discussing their development needs with their coach/manager. This was an important outcome for the firm, in terms of getting even more value out of their internal coaching network.

Indeed, 74% of participants feel more comfortable having open and honest career conversations with their career coaches – giving the firm much greater insight into the motivators and ambitions of this employee group.

Coaches reported “having more to play with” during career conversations with teir employees and that the Programme had helped employees arrive at the conversation ready to ask for the help they needed.


Increased self-leadership and proactivity

There were also strong indicators of increased self-leadership skills. 90% of employees felt more comfortable building relationships at work to unlock further opportunities within the firm, and 89% of participants said that they were going to spend more time on personal development.

Importantly, 79% of employees using GroHappy stated that they were more likely to now seek internal opportunities to build their career at the firm.


Limited impact on chargeable hours

These results were achieved in just a few hours, spread across a few weeks, through employees taking part in the GroHappy programme.

The GroHappy Programme provided employees with the space and tools that they needed to think about their careers, with limited impact on chargeable hours or disruption to client projects. 

As one participant reflected, “The platform was helpful, forcing me to put time aside to think about myself, my career and my life.”

Another stated, “I like that it was dedicated time to lock yourself in a room where you can focus on the programme.”



Comparison with alternative solutions

Prior to using GroHappy, the firm would typically offer career training days which would last 1-2 days. While valuable and effective in increasing retention, these training days required significant time away from client work and reduced revenue.

Through GroHappy, the firm benefitted from an alternative solution to the traditional route of training days. In this way, employees didn’t spend as many chargeable hours with GroHappy as they would have done when attending a 1-2 day training programme. The bite-sized design of the programme and flexibility of the platform means that it fits easily alongside client work.

GroHappy’s solution offers the firm scalability to provide a consistent and personalised approach to its employees, across the world or in different client sites. The platform gives employees a ‘safe space’ for them to reflect on their career before taking action – making meaningful and honest interactions with career mentors and coaches more likely.



Final learnings


Timely support leads to greater retention

The results realised by this company, and others, indicate how equipping employees with the right tools at the right time can shift the needle on employee retention. Supporting employees at key career junctures by providing an engaging, personalised experience encourages more employees to stay longer and seek internal opportunities.


Technology enables greater reach to high risk groups

Traditionally, investment in career development has been reserved for ‘high potential’ individuals or leadership programmes. Now, with solutions like GroHappy, it is increasingly cost-effective to support employee careers at all levels in the organisation.


Targeted tools, like GroHappy, can bolster existing initiatives

Employees on GroHappy’s programme learn a mindset and methods they they can carry forward in their career. Many participants reported feeling much more self-reflective and became more proactive in making connections and seeking opportunities within the firm.

An important insight, for this company, was the value that a programme like this can add in helping employees get more value from existing infrastructure in the firm – whether that’s their coaching relationship, their broader network or learning/training on offer.



Interested to learn more?

If you’d like to learn more about GroHappy and explore whether it could be a fit for your company, please get in touch to request a demo. Click here.


Photo by Grant Ritchie on Unsplash



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