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How to Improve Employee Retention In 2024

August 21, 2021
7 Min Read
Photo by
Andrei Nicolescu

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It’s a tough job market out there. More and more companies are grappling with the challenge of employee retention - how to keep their best, most productive employees from taking their skills elsewhere. And it’s an expensive problem: according to Forbes, hiring and training can cost at least one-fifth of a worker’s annual salary. With that in mind, why aren’t businesses doing more to retain their best employees?

The simplest answer is this: many companies don’t really know what makes employees want to stay. They offer one-size-fits-all rewards and programs, but ill-equipped managers don’t respond well when employees express their individual needs.

Whether you’re starting a new business or you’re an experienced entrepreneur looking to improve your existing company, this guide will give you actionable ways to start improving your employee retention rate today. Employee retention practices fall under three main rubrics: employee appreciation, employee engagement, and employee empowerment. Here we'll go into how to improve employee retention in each of these three ways.

Let them know they matter: how to improve employee retention through employee appreciation

Employee appreciation should be the first focus of any employee retention program. Good employees who feel appreciated will stay with your business for the long-term. That said, many managers are only familiar with how to express appreciation when an employee goes above and beyond in their job duties. But in today’s fast-paced business world, you need to show how valued employees are on a daily basis. Here are three quick and easy ways how to improve employee retention through appreciation:

Tip 1: Celebrate good work, even if it’s not perfect. In fact, perfectionism can actually lead to termination for some employees! When an employee does something well, let them know how much you appreciate their efforts by taking a few minutes to recognize their work. Offer praise and encouragement, even if it’s not exactly what you were looking for. Keep in mind that employee recognition is key to the employee experience, and letting your staff member know how much you value them can lead to a significant improvement in your employee retention rate.

Tip 2: Express appreciation in public, but also express concern when necessary. You can't always be positive. Make sure to give employees honest feedback how you how to improve employee retention through appreciation when they need improvement, but don’t ever humiliate anyone! Have a discussion about how to improve employee retention with constructive criticism in private.

Tip 3: Personalize your notes. Everyone likes handwritten cards - no matter how old you are! At a minimum, take the time to write a quick note. If you're going over a few pages or have a lot of employee retention ideas, pick up the phone and talk with your employees. Nothing can take the place of that personal touch, and just one phone call can make a significant difference in employee loyalty and morale.

Let them get involved: how to improve employee retention through employee engagement

Employee engagement is the second high road to employee retention. An employee who is engaged in his or her work isn't going to be looking for another job elsewhere. Three tips for increasing employee retention through improving employee engagement:

Tip 1: Rehaul your onboarding process, and make sure every new employee is equipped with all the tools necessary to succeed. A new hire who hasn't got a grasp on your company mission, purpose, and workflow is not going to be able to engage with the tasks you hand out, and will be ready to jump ship at the first opportunity.

Tip 2: Be transparent about company book-keeping and let everyone know what your goals are, how close you are to meeting them, and how their work can contribute to the company goals. Transparency increases trust, which is key in increasing your employee retention rates.

Tip 3: Ask your employees what they'd change, if they could, about their work environment, then work to make those changes real. If there are things about your workplace that are holding back employee engagement, it's time to do away with them. Work to build a company culture that encourages creativity, productivity, and just doing your best.

Let them take charge: how to improve employee retention through employee empowerment

The last of the three roads to improve employee retention is empowering employees, through education, flexible work hours, and more autonomy. Employees who are empowered are employees who do their best, even when no one's watching, and they definitely aren't going over to your competitor's team, no matter how high a salary is offered! Three tips for improving staff retention through employee empowerment include:

Tip 1: Offer employee development classes and seminars, and give your employees tuition reimbursement for job-related coursework. Employee development has been shown to decrease high turnover while increasing job satisfaction and employee morale, and it can give your staff a sense of purpose and personal fulfillment they would otherwise be lacking.

Tip 2: Give them what they want: flexible work hours! In this modern age of technology, there's no reason why all of your employees have to be chained to their desks from 9:00 to 5:00. Sometimes decreasing employee turnover and increasing retention just means giving your staff the work hours they want. Remote work is another flexibility option that can lead to high employee productivity and high morale for the right employee. Extra bonus: the number of employees forced to quit because of conflicts with a work life balance will go straight down.

Tip 3: Let them help with company decision-making! Meeting face-to-face is a time-honored tradition of employee engagement that still holds true in the modern era of competitive employee retention. Make sure that your employees can easily weigh in on decisions that affect them, emphasize open communication, and make sure to take employee feedback seriously when it comes to company decisions!

How to improve employee retention using software

One huge development in employee retention that is making the job of HR professionals that much easier is the software. There are numerous employee retention software companies that have developed employee engagement tools that make it easy to plan and implement your employee retention strategy. Some of these include:

Another personal favorite employee retention program is the software Matter, which allows employees to send each other constructive feedback as well as kudos. It takes employee appreciation to a whole new level by adding a peer-to-peer aspect to what would be a simple up-down relationship.

Final tips on how to improve employee retention

If you're working on your employee appreciation, employee engagement, and employee empowerment techniques you'll be well on your way to a low turnover rate and high employee retention. Employee happiness will be at an all-time high, and no one will be able to get your people to leave! As you implement these strategies, though, here are a few things to keep in mind:

Employee appreciation, employee engagement, and employee empowerment (employee retention best practices) can't be a one-time deal. To keep your employees from feeling as if the company isn't invested in them and their futures, and to avoid employee burnout, employee engagement has to be an ongoing process.

Employee feedback is key when it comes to employee engagement. Use employee surveys, anonymous employee satisfaction tools, open-door policies any way you can get honest employee feedback about what's going right in the office!

With consistent implementation and an ear to the ground when it comes to employee feedback, there's nothing that can stop you! Goodbye, voluntary turnover and attrition! Hello, job satisfaction, employee morale and employee retention!

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