When hiring new employees, you are seeking out the best and most qualified candidates for the position you are needing to fill. With this, the intention should be to hire and to keep employees for the overall benefit of your company. Here are 30 proven employee retention strategies that work.
1. Competitive Salary
Obviously, one of the most well-known ways to retain employees and attract new ones is to have competitive salaries at your organization relative to your industry. People usually work for money before they pursue any other meaning in their job. Lean into this and make your wages competitive and attractive and you’ll get more applications than you know what to do with.
2. Good Benefits
Similarly, good benefits are a proven employee retaining and attracting strategy. Employees are often hesitant to leave their place of employment because of things like health insurance and similar benefits. You can even use benefits to offset a potentially lower salary than average depending on how your company is structured.
3. Good Hiring Out of the Gate
Another good employee retention strategy starts with the hiring process. Hiring the right people who will likely be long-term position holders at your company is a great way to retain employees and prevent high turnover. On the flip side, hiring people who won’t be a good fit for your company means you’ll probably have to look for new employees sooner rather than later.
4. Make Employees Comfortable
This employee retention strategy will vary depending on your industry and the resources available. But by and large, it’s a good idea to make your employees comfortable whenever you can. Whether this is as simple as making sure their furniture is up to date or making sure that they have easy ways to clock in for work, it can all add up and make your place of employment attractive over the long haul.
5. Solve Employee Complaints
Employees hate feeling like they aren’t being listened to. One of the best ways to retain employees over longer periods is to listen actively to any feedback they provide and solve the complaints you can as soon as they crop up. This can even earn you some goodwill with your employees and make them more understanding of things you can’t change.
6. Send Out Frequent Surveys
While on the topic of listening to employee feedback, it’s a good idea to send out consistent feedback surveys to your employees. This gives them regular opportunities to vent their frustrations or offer solutions to problems hounding your company. These are more valuable than many bosses and managerial teams give them credit for.
7. Make Time for Personal Listening
You can also personally listen to your employees and handle complaints in this manner. This may even be more effective than surveys if you have a larger corporation to run, as employees can often feel like they are cogs in the machine. Personalized attention is a great way to prove them wrong and build a good rapport with each of your workers.
8. Make One-on-One Time a Priority
This strategy builds on the prior idea and makes it the centerpiece. It’s always a smart choice to make one-on-one time with your employees available and frequent. Even if it’s just to connect with them as another person or to chitchat about the day, having yourself be a regular presence at the office and having an open-door policy are both excellent strategies to help people remain at your work instead of looking for other opportunities.
9. Have a Direction for the Company
Employees find it difficult to respect or remain at a place of employment if they don’t think that there is any real path forward. Companies and managers that can produce clear objectives and have a visionary goal for the company at large will find it easier to maintain employees who will feel as though they are progressing toward a meaningful goal. A rudderless ship is difficult to maintain.
10. Be an Inspiring Leader
This is sometimes much easier than it sounds, but it’s an important aspect of the leadership of any company. Employees that believe in their leaders and who are inspired by them are more likely to stick out the bad times and do great work during the good times. Employee turnover is always lower when a good leader or boss is at the helm of the ship.
11. Stop Bullying in Its Tracks
Workplaces with a lot of interpersonal drama or bullying are places that no one wants to work at. You can retain your employees for longer and have them be more productive by stopping bullying whenever you see it and making sure that everyone is playing nicely. This requires good interpersonal skills but it’s well worth it in terms of social cohesion and productivity.
12. Don’t Play Favorites
As a manager, it’s important that you never appear to have favoritism for one or more employees over the others. People are quick to jump ship if they believe that others are getting opportunities or benefits that they are not. Equal opportunity for bonuses and other prizes is important to foster a healthy spirit of competition.
13. Offer Paths to Progress
Many employees that are particularly passionate about their goals or skill sets will find it difficult to remain at a company where they can’t grow those skills. Offering multiple avenues to progress, like certifications or mentorship opportunities, is a great way to keep these motivated employees on board.
14. Have a Good Onboarding Process
This employee retention strategy is aimed primarily at new workers. New hires need to be set up for success from the start of their employment with your company. To that end, your onboarding process needs to be thorough and user-friendly. Employees that don’t know what they’re doing or how to do their job effectively are more likely to leave shortly after being hired.
15. Be Open to Questions
Similarly, it’s a good idea to be open to any questions new or experienced employees may have. If employees don’t feel like they can come to you with their queries, they may look elsewhere for answers or for new means of employment. Again, an open-door policy is the best-case scenario for most managers regardless of industry.
16. Consistent Bonuses
Salaries are important, as mentioned before. Increasing salaries is just as important and it’s an expectation in many areas of the world industries. Having consistent opportunities for bonuses is just as critical. While you don’t necessarily need to give people a raise every year, there do need to be clear paths to bonuses or raises the salary that your employees can target. It’s about goal setting and giving your workers something they feel they can look forward to.
Lots of the most successful workplaces have several perks that come as a side effect of working for the company. Retaining employees is a lot easier when you provide them with things like free coffee and snacks or occasional catered lunches. People really like to get free things, no matter how small.
18. A Nice Space
Regardless of what industry you’re in, people hate working in crowded or dirty environments. Ensuring that your workers have a clean and safe space in which to do their work is one of the best ways to retain employees over the long haul. People are much less likely to stick around if they feel like they can’t complete their work in peace while at their place of employment.
19. Annual Performance Reviews
Although many employees feel nervous thinking about annual performance reviews, these actually do a good amount to retain employees over several years. It gives your employees a clear trajectory of their successes or failures and allows them to see their immediate future more clearly. It’s all about keeping open communication with your workers.
Regular training seminars are a must if you want to keep your employees in the long-term future. This often takes the form of training employees as things in your industry shift or as your company begins new initiatives to capture new customers or alleviate concerns. Make sure that these training programs are comprehensive and always be open to answering any questions afterward.
21. Pay Travel Fees
If your business requires your employees to travel for training or their regular work responsibilities, it’s imperative that you pay for their travel fees and expenses. Workers hate to labor for companies that force them to pay to complete their work, so retain your employees and cover these fees right off the bat, before people have to complain.
22. Regular Awards
An employee of the month competition or something similar is a great way to retain employees. Receiving praise and recognition for their work is one of the primary motivators of workers across the globe. Setting up even basic programs like the aforementioned award will make it more likely your employees will stick around instead of jumping ship.
23. Allow for a Work-Life Balance
Many workplaces drive their employees nuts by preventing them from achieving a decent work-life balance. Allowing your employees enough time off to handle their day-to-day affairs and making sure they have enough time off to relax is crucial if you want their time at work to be as productive as possible.
24. Vacation Time
Similarly, you don’t want to run a business that doesn’t afford your employees time for vacations. Everyone needs a break every once in a while, even the most dedicated workaholics. Businesses that don’t offer regular and respectable amounts of vacation time will find themselves experiencing high employee turnover sooner than they think.
25. Good Sick Time Program
Related to the above, maintaining a good sick time program is critical if you want to lower your employee turnover rate. Everyone gets sick once in a while, and making it easy for your employees to call in without feeling guilty will ensure that you retain those employees after they recover from their illness.
26. Flexible Scheduling
Today’s culture is extremely hectic and fast-paced, especially compared to prior decades. A good rule of thumb is to allow your scheduling system some flexibility, as people are going to school or working multiple jobs more than ever. A flexible scheduling system will make your place of employment more attractive to others and make it easier for people to stick around.
27. Celebrate Together
Fostering a great team environment at your workplace is one of the primary responsibilities of all types of managers. People are less likely to leave a company if they feel attached to the people there, so take every opportunity you have to celebrate small or big accomplishments with your entire team. Throw in a cake for pizza and make it a real event for better success.
28. Have Good Managers
If you oversee a company from a bird’s eye view, you need to make sure that any bosses or managers below you are treating their employees correctly. Nothing drives employees away from an organization faster than a bad boss, so take care to only hire excellent managers to avoid the cost and time incurred from high turnover rates.
29. Don’t Overburden Employees
Every industry experiences periods of crunch and lots of stress, but that’s no excuse to burn your employees with too much work for them to handle. It’s easy for some employees to become stressed out and leave an organization if they feel like they can’t handle all of their responsibilities. It’s your job as a manager or boss to make sure that work is spread evenly around and that people don’t feel like they have too much to juggle. Employee burnout is a real risk when it comes to retention because there’s almost always another company that a worker could potentially work for.
30. Explain the Meaning of Work
Especially as millennial’s take over the majority of the workforce, performing meaningful work is becoming more important to employees. As a manager, you should make clear what the actual meaning and social value of your business is to your workers. It’s not just about a paycheck for many employees: it’s about what they can contribute to the world. Having a clear mission statement and being able to explain this aspect of your business on demand will go a long way toward retaining your employees in the long-term.
Employees that stay at their jobs feel valued and feel like their work has meaning. They feel seen by their bosses, and the result is a higher retention rate for the company. It does take effort from the boss to keep good employees, but the effort you put into your employees is the effort and dedication they will return to your business.
Keith Miller has over 25 years of experience as a CEO and serial entrepreneur. As an entrepreneur, he has founded several multi-million dollar companies. As a writer, Keith's work has been mentioned in CIO Magazine, Workable, BizTech, and The Charlotte Observer. If you have any questions about the content of this blog post, then please send our content editing team a message here.