Employee retention isn’t just about saving your company time, money, or stress. It’s about creating an environment that nurtures growth, communication, and innovation. What’s the most significant factor that can increase your retention rates by 50% or more? Belonging.
Employee turnover rates are higher than ever before. According to U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, employee turnover rates are currently 20% higher than pre-pandemic. HR firm Gartner expects this trend will only continue.
When it comes to employee retention, you're not just looking for a list of things to do—you want actionable advice and tips you can put into play right away. So we went ahead and did the work for you. We gathered ten strategies to help you increase employee retention.
We found that the main factors influencing employee retention were a sense of belonging, growth opportunities, coworkers and bosses, workplace culture, engagement, flexibility, communication, and salary. With these factors in mind, we created a list of ten ways you can work to increase employee retention. But first, the basics. Let’s talk about what employee retention means.
What is employee retention, and why is it important for companies to focus on?
Employee retention refers to an organization’s ability to keep employee turnover low. An organization’s ability to keep (retain) its employees for more than a year will determine significant factors in employee experience.
A recent report from Deloitte states that belonging is good for workers and businesses too. Belonging can lead to a 56% increase in job performance and a 50% reduction in turnover risk. It’s more than just belonging, though.
Other factors contributing to employee retention include job satisfaction, career development, upskill opportunities, engagement, and innovation. Employees who lack support in these areas may become dissatisfied, unproductive, or – worse – leave your company altogether.
According to SHRM, the average cost to replace one employee is 6 to 9 months of that employee’s salary – upwards of $30,000. During the time it takes a company to hire someone new, they can lose productivity, other employees, and thousands of dollars in recruiting and training expenses.
If these statistics aren’t the proof you need to make employee retention a priority, the U.S. also offers annual tax credits to companies that can retain their employees. Before we can give you tips on retaining employees, let’s look at why employees are leaving in the first place.
What are the reasons for high employee turnover?
Many companies are attempting to “go back” to how they worked before the pandemic without realizing that’s not what their employees are seeking. Our Modern Work Report found that 50% of leaders say they’ll bring teams back to the office full-time this year, while 52% of workers say they want remote work or hybrid jobs.
While many folks will blame the pandemic for folks becoming “lazy,” that’s not the reality. A 2022 survey from McKinsey revealed the top reasons for resignations were understaffing, lack of upward mobility, overburdened positions, underpaid opportunities, and careless bosses.
Over 40% of people are unhappy at work and considering leaving their job soon, as the McKinsey report pointed out. There are 11 million unfilled job vacancies, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, and more than 4 million people in the US quit their jobs in June. The pandemic gave folks time away from the office to realize that they don’t want to work in these unfair environments anymore.
Top 10 employee retention strategies
Okay, now the part we’ve all been waiting for. As with any strategy, it’s not enough just to read about it. Strategies work best when they’re developed, implemented, and iterated. This article is about action steps.
First, find the top reasons employees are leaving their jobs, based on surveys from McKinsey, the World Economic Forum, and Gartner. Then, define how you can create an employee retention program if you don’t already have one. These tips will also apply if you already have a strategy and want to improve it.
We gathered the ten best strategies you can implement for better employee retention. Read on to start improving your workplace, one policy at a time.
1. Create a top-notch recruiting and onboarding strategy
Better employee retention starts early, even before they become your employee. A strong recruiting, orientation, and onboarding strategy sets your employee up for success from day one. Great orientation strategies include a centralized institutional knowledge base, clear communication, a point person for the new employee to ask questions, and documentation for recurring expectations.
Use Loom to create internal knowledge videos that can be shared repeatedly without having to make an effort to regurgitate information with every new employee. You can use our screen recording tool to create training videos, welcome videos, or give your new employee a tour of their virtual workspace. Record once, share endlessly, and make an employee’s first impressions of your company start on a high.
2. Keep employees engaged
Whether your team is fully remote, hybrid, or working in person, you must keep them engaged. Employee engagement is the degree to which an employee feels connected to their work responsibilities, coworkers, and the business.
Employee engagement is affected by two main factors.
The value an employer provides for the employee, from salary and benefits to responsibilities and location flexibility.
The employee’s experience from onboarding to exit. This includes relationships with their boss, coworkers, and office or work-from-home setups.
An employee’s engagement, or satisfaction, is affected by their entire journey and the work environment. Engaged employees are productive, work well with their colleagues, pursue ongoing development, and are committed to their work. Engaged employees aren’t considering quitting their jobs and often go above and beyond on their own without feeling obligated to do so.
If your team involves remote or hybrid members, you may have to use nontraditional strategies to help engage them. Use Loom to connect with your remote workers and create asynchronous all-hands events, or create spaces for certain topics that all employees can contribute to.
3. Give clear growth opportunities
Among the millions who quit their jobs in 2021 and 2022, a lack of career development options was the most commonly cited reason. Employees lose interest when they aren’t allowed to grow or get on a track for upward mobility.
Opportunities make employees feel valued and cared for. When employees feel like their company cares about them and their success, they’re more committed and feel like they belong – both significant factors for employee retention.
These opportunities could include in-house training, mentorship, career pathways, upskill courses, access to professional learning platforms, conference stipends, or dedicated time to grow. Growth opportunities don’t need to take up a ton of time or money, they need to be accessible.
4. Treat them as humans (this shouldn’t be surprising)
It’s the golden rule. We’ve all heard it. Treat them as you would want to be treated. What do you want from your career? What do you want from your employer? What did you want when you were in their position? How did you get to where you are now in your career?
When you’re creating your strategies, consider these questions. Of course, your employees may have different opinions, but starting with your own feelings about these questions will give you a good foundation for approaching their needs.
Then, approach them. You can send out anonymous surveys to find out what your employees feel they’re lacking to better shape your new strategies. Your employees aren’t a numbers game. They’re people with full and complete lives. The best way to retain them, and show them you care, is by asking them what they need and finding a way to offer that.
5. Keep open lines of communication and feedback between leadership and employees
You’re not a mind reader, and that’s okay. But you can’t create a comfortable work environment for your team if your team can’t tell you when something is wrong. When employees don’t feel heard or considered, they leave. It can help to establish a feedback protocol so employees can easily reach out when they feel uneasy about something.
Whether this is a channel you set up through HR, a survey system, or an open office hour, your employees will be grateful for open and honest feedback opportunities. Whatever you choose, make sure this is a safe and respectful way for your employees to communicate with you.
6. Encourage and model healthy work-life balance
From worrying they’ll be seen as replaceable to the risk of returning to a mountain of work, it’s no wonder U.S. knowledge workers often find it difficult to take vacation time. Even worse, many managers often enforce these fears with their own behavior. In reality, we all need breaks from work – not just in the form of vacation days.
A healthy work-life balance is important to avoid burnout and people quitting from feeling overworked. Managers need to model this behavior. Whether telling your employees to log off at 5 pm or taking your own vacation time, there are simple ways to encourage a healthy work-life balance.
7. Build a culture employees want to be part of
Culture isn’t just the fun things but also the not-so-fun things. Many companies have adopted a meeting-heavy culture due to the overnight shift to digital work. Culture is more than just meetings and face-to-face time.
Company culture is also the way you handle work-life balance, the jokes told on Slack or by the water cooler, the way a company deals with the pandemic, and much more. It’s how you nurture your team with growth opportunities, offline time, and comfortable communication, too.
But Zoom fatigue and Slack-splaining aren’t fun for anyone. There’s a fix for this problem, though. This is where asynchronous collaboration and a central information system come in. Asynchronous methods can relieve stress and reduce time wasted from context switching.
8. Create opportunities for your employees to rest and recharge
Solid organizational structures are key to allowing employees to switch off during their paid time off. When systems are in place for how routine tasks should be done, where to find information, who to go to for help, planning ahead, and how to communicate within your workplace, leaving for a week becomes much easier. Everyone should be able to comfortably use all of their PTO to rest and recover so they can continue working productively when they come back.
9. Offer competitive salaries and perks
A job is a transaction - your employees work for you for a price. You are not a viable company if you cannot be profitable when you offer market-level wages and perks. Inadequate compensation is the number two reason people quit their jobs in 2020 and 2021.
10. Offer manager training
Employees often leave because of a bad manager. Ensure you create a safe environment for employees by offering continuing education for managers to be effective and avoid toxic workplace environments.
Managers who encourage work-life balance, professional development, and two-way communication are more likely to retain their team members. Manager training can be led by someone who is already a great manager or by an outside coach.
Employee retention doesn’t have to be hard. It boils down to making employees feel like they belong, are heard, and have opportunities. The top factors of employee retention are engagement, satisfaction, and experience.
To recap, here are the ten ways we recommend engaging with your employees for better retention.
Create a stand-out recruiting, onboarding, and orientation process.
Keep your employees engaged.
Provide accessible career growth opportunities.
Treat them as the humans that they are.
Establish comfortable and open lines of communication.
Model and encourage healthy work-life balance.
Build an enticing culture.
Make rest possible offline.
Provide adequate and competitive salaries.
Implement manager training.
With these ten strategies, we’re confident you can find a way to increase your employee retention with ease. They touch on the most valuable factors cited by thousands of surveyed knowledge workers. How can you implement one of these strategies at a time?
Use asynchronous tools like Loom for remote and distributed teams to keep people engaged and happy! You can use Loom to try out no-meeting days, create knowledge bases, onboard new employees efficiently, or even collaborate asynchronously.