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10 Tips to a Successful Employee Retention Strategy [2023]

August 6, 2021
7 Min Read
Photo by
Timo Kuilder

‍Table of Contents:

Why an employee retention strategy is important

Your employee retention strategy is all about keeping your employees happy and motivated to work for you. 

When people feel valued, they stay. When they feel unhappy, they go. It's as simple as that!

Granted, there are other factors impacting employee turnover such as layoffs or relocation - but employee retention strategies are especially effective at keeping employee turnover low.

As more companies become global, employees have the opportunity of being recruited by other organizations with more attractive compensation packages outside of their home country. That's why employee retention strategies are even more important in today's business climate of international competition for talent.

The key to employee retention strategy success is understanding that employee retention is a core employee value, not just something we do to "be nice" or so we don't have to hire and train new employees. 

Planning an employee retention strategy

The employee retention strategy that you develop should be tailored to your organization and employees. There is no one employee retention strategy that works for every employee in every company, but here are several key areas where employee retention strategies can be employed: 

  • compensation and benefits
  • employee appreciation and motivation 
  • employee development
  • employee health and wellness 
  • work culture

An effective and comprehensive employee retention strategy will include fair and competitive compensation and benefits, a healthy dose of appreciation and recognition of employee achievements, and the opportunity for employees to develop their careers through company-sponsored learning experiences. It will also include provisions for employee health and wellness, and an emphasis on creating a work culture that is inclusive, engaging, and fun. 

10 tips to keep in mind when organizing your employee retention strategy 

  1. Set employee expectations for success. Ensure that all employees are on the same page with respect to what is expected of them, how they are being evaluated, and what will happen if their performance doesn't live up to expectations.
  2. Don't forget employee development! It's important to include employee development as part of your employee retention strategy, not only to help employees grow and be more successful in their jobs but also because studies have shown that professionally developed people are some of the most loyal employees you can find.
  3. Trust, don't micromanage. Trusting employees to get the job done will go a long way in employee retention! And if you trust your employee, give them the tools they need to succeed and hold them accountable when they don't meet their goals or objectives.
  4. Listen and communicate regularly with your employees. This includes remote workers be available for a chat when things get rough! Let your employees know that you care about what's going on in their lives and what's going on at the office. Also, show your employees you care about their opinions and ideas by soliciting employee feedback on a regular basis - and actually listening and following up!
  5. Use employee recognition as an employee retention strategy. Celebrate milestones, big wins, new projects, employee anniversaries, employee birthdays and employee achievements. One of the major causes of employee attrition is the lack of appreciation; no one enjoys working where their achievements are ignored.
  6. Offer flexible working arrangements for employees who are new parents or caring for others who need assistance. The cost of providing this employee retention service is often made back several times over due to high employee morale, increased employee productivity, lower employee turnover rates, new ideas that are shared by employees who are not under pressure to leave work early or skip work completely because of family obligations, etc. A recent employee retention study found that 88% of employees would prefer flexible working arrangements over pay increases.
  7. Implement employee recognition software as an employee retention strategy. Employee recognition software allows you to easily recognize employee achievements and milestones with employee gift cards, employee coupons, employee freebies and employee recognition software. You can also use employee recognition software to communicate with employees more frequently since it allows you to send emails right from the employee recognition software platform - something that is not possible if you are using traditional employee databases or even intranets.
  8. Know when to cut loose an employee who isn't working out. Letting employees know that you care about staff retention includes being able to let go of disengaged employees who are not working out, without damaging employee morale or harming employee retention efforts.
  9. Offer employee incentives as part of your employee retention strategy. Employee incentives can be offered to existing employees for meeting their goals or objectives - if the employee incentive is strong enough, employee retention rates will improve and employee morale will be higher. You can also offer employee incentives to prospective employees before they join your team so that they know immediately what's in it for them if they stay with the organization - this is an effective employee retention strategy for those hard-to-fill positions since you aren't relying on only employee incentives to "sell" the employee on your company.
  10. Develop a mentorship program. Encourage more senior employees to take on junior employees as mentors or "buddies." This can be part of your onboarding process, but should also be extended to existing employees. A mentor can help employees feel a sense of belonging in the workplace by sharing their knowledge and expertise with their protégés, teaching soft skills as well as technical skills, while junior employees will have a more established employee to look up to and learn from.

Software and your employee retention strategy

Software can play an important part in your employee retention strategy. Use programs like Matter to create a culture of constructive feedback and positive reinforcements in your company, encouraging team members to send each other kudos when a job is done well. This has been shown to increase employee happiness and engagement. Cultureamp is another program that can be used for pulse surveys, performance evaluations, 360-degree reviews, and analytics.

Of course, software is only as effective as the person using it. For employee retention software to be effective, you need to make sure that managers are using it to their advantage. You also want to encourage employee participation. One employee retention strategy involves providing incentives for employee use of peer feedback software. Free food, free pens, or a few hours of work could be used to get employees accustomed to using employee retention software like Matter.

Measuring the success of employee retention strategy

Measuring employee retention is important because it helps your business understand the effectiveness of the employee retention strategies you've decided to use. Recruitment software can be used to measure employee turnover costs over time or you can use our employee turnover calculator. This should be done annually because it provides a benchmark for measuring the success of future employee retention strategies. But you don't have to wait till a year has passed to figure out whether what you're doing is working. Employee pulse surveys and employee performance evaluations will allow you to track job satisfaction, employee morale, and employee engagement all of which are directly related to employee retention. Keep tabs on company culture: if your company can boast of high employee satisfaction and a positive employee experience, your key employees won't want to be going anywhere. A record of absenteeism trends can also give you an idea of how engaged your workers really are. 

An employee retention strategy is an important part of keeping your team happy and motivated. Everyone on your team should know exactly what's in it for them if they decide to stick around. They should also know (and believe) that you care about employee retention. A loyal, committed employer leads to employee loyalty, and committed employees who care about the success of the company as much as you do and want to stick with it through the coming days and years.

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