Employee Retention:  A How-To Guide

Employee Retention:  A How-To Guide

Worker turnover isn’t just annoying. The cost of hiring and on-boarding new employees, team upheaval, and client disruption costs U.S. businesses $11 billion annually, according to the Bureau of National Affairs. Keeping your top performers is vital to the success of your business, and you’ll want to make sure they stick around.

To keep your best workers from jumping ship, consider implementing these ideas:

Invest in a Strategic Hiring Strategy

Create a system to track attrition. Seek to understand why people leave your organization, and why some stay and excel. Assess which current employees are top performers, what qualities make them stand out—and learn to identify these qualities in potential new hires. Understand the roles that their personalities and your culture play, as well as their technical skills. If you haven’t already, consider employing a human resources manager.

Instill the Company Vision into Everything

When the whole organization works toward a goal that’s bigger than the company and everyone is on board with your mission, productivity and loyalty can soon follow.

Customize Benefits

While full-time workers expect health and retirement benefits, your workforce is probably unique, and the perks that resonate with your employees will differ. Consider flexible work schedules, or things like child care assistance and elder care support that can make a big difference in the lives of some employees—and contribute to their company loyalty.

Set Clear Expectations

When workers understand what is expected of them, it eliminates confusion and empowers them to accomplish goals, which can help them feel like they’re making a meaningful contribution.

Be Clear about Promotion and Raises

When goals and expectations are met, employees should know what to expect in terms of increased compensation. Will you conduct annual performance reviews, or give bonuses for great performances?

Promote from Within

Give workers opportunity to grow in pay, position, and responsibility. When you can, promote internally and move current employees into senior roles as they open, or consider creating new positions that fit their growing skills.

Recognize Great Work

Praise and recognize key individuals, their teams, and anyone else in the organization for the ideas they’ve generated, goals they’ve accomplished, and any helpfulness they’ve shown to their colleagues.

Prioritize Development and Training

Studies find that money and time allocated for developing both hard and soft skills have a great return on investment—not just in productivity right now, but also in worker retention over the long term. Think about creating room in your budget for programs, conferences, online coursework, mentoring, or coaching.

Create a Positive Work Environment

Workers are loyal to employers that make them feel good about coming to work every day. Create an atmosphere rooted in mutual trust and open communication that nurtures the worker’s passions—and the innate human need to be happy.

Emma Johnson

About the Author


Award-winning business + personal finance journalist, AM radio host. Former AP staff and MSN Money columnist. Contributing editor @SUCCESS. NYT, WSJ, Forbes, WIRED, WORTH. Founder: WealthySingleMommy.

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