8 Employee Retention Strategies To Apply Right Now

Want to know the secret to employee retention? It all starts with treating your employees like the humans they are.

Hey you—want to know the secret to employee retention?

Here it goes.

Employees are humans.

This seems kind of obvious, but treating employees well enough to keep them around for the long term is critical to the health and longevity of a business.

Having poor employee retention is going to hit a business’s bottom line, and let’s not get started on the structural mess it can cause.

So how do you improve employee retention?

By applying the right retention strategies for your business, you can ensure employees stick around, that’s how.

What is employee retention?

Employee retention how well a business can retain its employees. It can be represented as a simple statistic.

For example, a retention rate of 80% would indicate that an organization kept 80% of its employees in a given period.

Calculating employee retention rate is pretty simple:

Just divide the number of employees who left during a period by the total number of employees at the end of a period to get the percentage.

Why is employee retention important?

A business that’s going to last needs employees. So making sure employees stick around is vital.

A good (and longstanding) business knows and understands the importance of keeping employees around. Regularly looking for new staff and training them up is a drain on time and resources.

Having a poor staff retention rate is a strong indicator of a lack of motivation among staff. And when it comes down to employee motivation, there’s one thing that’s for certain:

no motivation = no work

The 7 Key Trends Impacting Today’s Workplace surveyed over 200,000 employees in more than 500 organizations worldwide. What’s interesting is that employees voted their peers as the number one reason for being motivated to go that extra mile.

It’s no surprise that motivated employees are also found to have more productivity, allowing businesses to achieve a higher level of output.

An unmotivated employee could be sat at their desk aimlessly browsing the internet or even looking for a new job. Not only is this a waste of your time and resources, but the employee’s too.

Now take a step back for a second. See that imaginary employee browsing the internet? Now imagine the entire office doing it. Can you see how an unmotivated workforce is not beneficial to a company?

This is not a position anybody wants to be in.

So how can I improve employee retention?

I’m glad you asked.

Every area of the employer vs employee relationship in a company deserves attention.

To make sure people stay, you’re going to need to embrace some employee retention ideas and apply them to your employees.

Remember: your employees are people too. Instead of trying to apply strategies to them, reframe your thinking. Instead, try asking them questions.

People like questions (providing you are asking the right questions to get the results you want).

Specifically, ask questions which can help improve their work life.

These are the eight questions you should be asking as part of your employee retention strategy:

  1. 1
    How can I invest in your professional development?

    Everyone likes learning new skills right?

    Investing in your team members is a great motivator. Not only does it highlight their career growth going forward, but it also shows you are acknowledging their past work.

    In fact, 25% of employees would be more satisfied at work, if they were given opportunities to do what they do best and develop their skills.

    It’s a two-way street; employees get to learn and apply new skills, employers get a more skilled (and loyal) workforce. Everyone’s a winner.

    Now, how will this work in practice?

    It could be sending employees to industry or skill specific conferences and workshops, offering reimbursement for tuition or even creating an in-house mentorship scheme.

  2. 2
    Do you know exactly what is expected of you?

    No one likes sitting at a desk having no idea what is required of them.

    By establishing expectations clearly, employees know exactly what they are doing, but more specifically: what is expected from them.

    Without a clear grasp of duties, company policies and performance metrics, moral can take a steep drop off and create a frustrated workforce.

    This frustration can kill morale, lead to a drop in output and even cause employees to seek employment elsewhere.

    But it’s not all doom and gloom. Thankfully there’s a simple solution:


    Speak with employees (either verbally or with employee satisfaction surveys) and make sure they know their duties, company policies and performance metrics. Give them regular feedback so they know where they stand.

  3. 3
    What employee benefits would you like?

    Everyone likes a job perk, or two.

    Employee benefits are any form of compensation paid to employees on top of a salary. They come in many forms, yet they form part of the overall compensation package offered by an employer.

    Here’s a list of popular employee benefits to consider:

    • Affordable health insurance

    • Life insurance

    • Sick leave

    • Holiday entitlement

    • Pension plan

    • Flexible scheduling

    • Stock options

    • Other financial incentives

    • Childcare

    • Gym memberships

    • Sabbaticals

    • Work from home days

    Get feedback from your employees using an employee benefits survey to learn what would make an impact and enhance their lives.

    The needs of a twenty-something singleton are going to be different to a parent. But they might not be, which is why it’s important to ask your workforce, which leads nicely to the next point.

  4. 4
    Do you have any questions?

    In corporate speak: you want to create a culture of open communication.

    Put simply: just ask your people for feedback and input.

    When team members can freely speak their minds, share ideas and address issues, morale increases. According to a study conducted by Salesforce in 2012, 86% of executives blame workplace failings on poor communication and lack of collaboration.

    Don’t be that company. Make sure managers are committed to open and respectful communication and encourage the same for every team member.

    This will also enhance trust in senior management, another key factor in satisfied employees.

  5. 5
    Do you feel valued for the work you do?

    Employees give a large chunk of their daily lives to work for and enhance a company, so making sure they feel valued is essential.

    Treating everyone fairly and ensuring team members are acknowledged for jobs well done goes a long way.

    So, what’s the best way to acknowledge employees?

    A simple ‘thank you’ or similar sentiment is a good first step. You can take it further by offering bonuses, promotions or gifts if you are feeling super generous.

    Bonus points if the appreciation comes directly from supervisors and upper management.

  6. 6
    Are you feeling overwhelmed at all?

    All the benefits and perks in the world can’t compete with an overwhelmed employee.

    Burnout is a real problem caused by overworking and it can lead to a loss in focus.

    Employees who are drained of energy are less likely to stick around. Would you stay in a business that completely drained you? Couple this with feeling undervalued and you’ve got yourself a recipe for disaster.

    Stop burnout and:

    • Make sure that no member of your team is being asked to do too much. • Encourage healthy workloads • Promote a work-life balance. • Make sure managers model the behaviors you want to see from employees

    And don’t worry about potential dips in productivity. Studies show that working longer hours doesn’t result in increased efficiency.

    Happiness is the key to efficiency, not longer hours.

    In fact, a study by the University of Warwick found that happiness saw a 12% spike in productivity, while unhappy workers were 10% less productive.

  7. 7
    Is your work meaningful?

    Today’s employees care about doing work that means something.

    It’s important for team members to be given varied tasks and opportunities that make a real difference.

    Where possible, offer things like charity programs, opportunities for community engagement and social programs to promote bonding between coworkers.

    Moreover, unifying a workforce around a shared vision for the company can help provide employees with a sense of meaning.

  8. 8
    Why are you here?

    Obviously, this is very dependent on circumstances. But understanding why employees stay is important.

    Exit interviews are a relatively standard practice, but few conduct interviews to find out why employees might choose to stay.

    Want to know why an employee remained at the company?

    Ask them.

    Conducting informal exit surveys can be vital in finding the reasons for employee retention and if there’s any room for improvement.

    Be open with feedback and let it shape internal policies.

Employee motivation—final thoughts

Cultivating a positive workplace, and by association, a positive work force is sometimes overlooked.

It can be time consuming or difficult at times, but it’s what separates the companies that stick around for the long haul, from the ones that fade away. Employees need to feel that their work is an important contribution to the company’s success.

Employee retention really comes down to this:

Do you treat employees like humans—with their own needs, goals, and personal lives?

If the answer is yes, and your company policies align with this, then you are going to have some happy and productive workers.

If not, then you are going to have some work ahead of you.

Either way: good luck, happy and retained employees are just a question, or eight, away.

How you ask is everything.

Start creating