8 Employee Retention Secrets from Industry Leaders


There are many reasons why employee retention is important. According to a study by Employee Benefits News, the cost of losing an employee can cost the company as much as 33 percent of that employee’s salary. It’s a bottom-line issue, but the financial hit is only part of the problem.

Bad management can send employees racing for the door. A TINYpulse Employee Retention Report saw 40 percent of employees who rated their supervisors poorly interviewed for a new job within the last three months. Employees who don’t feel as if they’ve been recognized for their work are more likely to seek employment elsewhere, too, according to TINYpulse.

If you have employees who are keeping one eye on the door then it doesn’t take any statistics to figure out that your productivity will take a dive faster than a crooked boxer and morale will lower. How can you keep employees at their jobs, happily working? To find out we reached out to business owners to get their employee retention strategies and secrets.

1. Money Talks

The first and most obvious solution to anything is to throw money at it. This is a blunt instrument, but it’s not without its merits. When asked in a job interview why the applicant wants the job, few are so honest to say, “I need the money,” but that’s the truth. There might be more reasons than just financial, of course, but it’s the driving force.

Paying your employee more is never going to backfire, but Matthew Ross, co-owner and COO of the sleep and mattress review website My Slumber Yard, which employees 12, adds to that mix. He provides “clear advancement opportunities and a friendly work environment. We offer medical, dental and vision insurance, of which we pay over 50% for the employee. I believe that is more than what the average company covers.”

Megan Zaleski, vp of corporate HR for Herald PR, agrees. “At the end of the day, everyone ultimately is going to be looking for more money, and we offer opportunities to make more money on the side, doing something you’re passionate about or bringing in new business.”

2. Work Remotely

Flexibility is attractive to employees. As technology advances and businesses lose rigidity, opportunities to attract and keep employees open up. Having workers outside of the office, often in different parts of the world, is no longer unheard of. We’re not talking about outsourcing work, but having salaried employees work from home.

“Our top tactic for keeping employees is offering 100 percent remote work to the right fit,” says Sean Pour, cofounder of SellMax, a cash-for-cars site. “We are experienced at what we do, and we know what the employee should be able to accomplish. So, why not give them the comfort of doing it at home if they wish. This has allowed us to keep our top employees and even get them at a competitive salary. Give employees an opportunity to offer their opinion and change things around the business.”

He’s found that people like the freedom to work when they want. It also helps with employee retention if, say, a spouse gets a job in a different state and the family has to pull up stakes and relocate. Maybe there’s a new baby in the house. Working remotely offers a solution that is mutually rewarding to employers and employees alike, increasing the likelihood of employee retention.

“The ability to work from home or create a unique schedule is very appealing to many job seekers,” agrees Robin Schwartz, HR director, Find a Therapist, a service that connects people with local therapy services.

“With technology today, it is completely feasible that many employees can manage their workload from home,” she adds. “Additionally, it works better for some people to start work earlier and end earlier while others prefer the standard nine-to-five schedule. Giving employees the option to create a schedule that works best for them is a huge perk that will benefit your organization’s recruiting and retention strategies.”

ProjectManager, an online project management software, gives you everything you need to manage a remote workforce. Featuring project management tools like Gantt charts, kanban boards and dashboards, ProjectManager lets you manage projects from start to finish—no matter where you are. Plus, it’s rife with opportunities to collaborate in real time, including task comments, file attachments, email alerts and @ mentions. Sign up for a free trial today and give your employees more flexibility when it comes to their work.

Task list in ProjectManager
ProjectManager lets teams collaborate online and in real time

3. Offer Incentives

There’s more than money that can make an employee feel rewarded on the job. “Our employee retention strategy is based around rewarding members of staff, for completing everyday tasks,” says Amara Ukaigwe, CEO and founder of Book Learn Pass, a startup focused on revolutionizing the marketplace for driving tuition.

“Employees are rewarded for completing tasks such as chairing meetings, sending project updates, creating presentations, updating reports and meeting deadlines among other things,” Ukaigwe says. “These are everyday tasks, that have to completed regardless, but we have found that rewarding employees for such activity, leads to a significant increase in both morale and productivity.”

Yes, they’re doing what they’re paid to do, but the incentive makes the work more fun. There’s also the reward of a free breakfast and lunch, paid gym memberships, subsidized travel and even extra paid holiday. “Employees are able to earn up to 50 percent of their paid annual leave, through our reward scheme,” he says. “It has proved to be an extremely popular benefit. So much so, our staff turnover rate is roughly 5 percent in a company of 80!”

Richard Baker, co-founder and director of Talent Locker, a recruitment service, says his company offers quarterly incentives and awards. “To make this interesting, we have different awards that allow people to nominate themselves or their colleagues. In addition to this we’ve introduced a flexible and open office environment that encourages people to get involved. Not only does this involve things like stand-up desk options and a full drinks fridge, but it also means that our employees can approach us with unique ideas of their own.”

These tactics work as they are all about building a great culture, where everyone is strong as individuals but takes the time to look at the great work of others and appreciates them.

4. Get Invested

You might not be able to give every employee stock in the business or a slice of ownership, but you can make them feel as if they have their hands on the wheel. It’s not that they’re driving the business as much as they have a say in its direction. Employees are on the front lines of your business and their perspective can provide insight, plus it makes them feel invested, which builds loyalty.

Jason Patel, founder of Transizion, a college and career prep company, says, “Our favorite way to retain talent is to involve them with more of the processes that run the business. The more ownership and independence you give your people, the more they’ll think through problems and utilize their creativity.”

Giving employees the opportunity to think strategically about the business shows that you as an employer appreciate what they bring to the table. “It’s a tactical and moral strategy,” he adds, “because they feel better about their roles and your business benefits from the surge in good ideas. If a team member is thinking about moving on, they’re going to have to weigh whether a new opportunity will give them the same level of freedom that your business offers.”

5. Encourage Feedback

Listening to employees goes a long way toward retaining them. By the time management hears of someone’s discontent, the damage is done and likely irreversible. “In our business, most of our clients are trying to retain their top talent by any means necessary,” says Robert Moutal, cofounder and director of Clarity Wave, an employee engagement software system.

“One of the reasons they hire our service is because they have figured out that creating a culture of constant feedback through micro-surveys allows people to feel heard and understood,” he says. “This, in turn, fosters a sense of community that permeates the whole organization.”

Nchopia Nwokoma, director of culture at England Logistics, a company devoted to helping feed hungry children, agrees. “Cost of losing employees is financial and moral. Losing an employee cuts down on productivity. We retain employees by hiring individuals who will enjoy our culture. We are constantly soliciting feedback from our employees about their experience in the workplace. We use the feedback to improve our culture in order to attract and retain employees.”

6. Help Employees Grow and Learn

Another way to attract and retain employees is by investing in them. Hamna Amjab, community manager, Gigworker.com, a source for information on the gig economy, says, “Our organization provides opportunities to grow and learn. From time to time, we offer them training and workshops to help them excel in their careers.”

No matter the profession, people are always seeking career development and prefer companies which support their goals. By letting your employees know there is room for advancement in your company, you can improve your overall employee retention rate.

“One of the most effective employee retention strategies is to invest in their futures with training initiatives,” adds Nate Masterson, HR manager, Maple Holistics, a provider of natural health and beauty products.

“Most employees need to feel a sense of growth, progression and forward progress in order to be satisfied with their work and career direction,” he says. “In practice, this is a win-win strategy since it teaches new skills that can be applied in your company’s daily processes while effectively communicating your dedication to your employees.”

7. Clear Mission and Autonomy

“Perhaps the most important—yet often overlooked—a strategy that companies employ is setting a clear vision for employees which provides an understanding of why a team’s work is valuable,” says  Carlos Castelán, Managing Partner and founder of the Navio Group Managing Partner and founder of the Navio Group, helping clients navigate the challenges of transformation.

He says when employees know what their mission is it sets clear goals to help individuals focus on work—and have autonomy—in pursuit of the company’s vision.

“Reinforcing the vision and goals through regular communication, both as a team and one-to-one, helps employees remember how their work furthers the organizations mission and increases engagement by making the work feel meaningful,” he says. “Communicating a clear vision and goals to employees allows them to understand how their work fits into a bigger picture and assures them that their work is important and meaningful.”

8. Retaining Employees Is Easier Than Hiring New Ones

There are a lot of ways to work with employees to keep them happily employed, feeling part of the larger picture and loyal to the business. Some of the above suggestions might not be suited for your company, but others are surely a good fit.

The truth is hiring is a hassle. It takes time, effort and money to search for those people who have the skills sets you need and hare personally about to comfortably work in your corporate culture. Once you’ve gone through that process, it’s in your interest and your employee’s interest to keep them in the organization.

Another way to keep employees is by giving them tools that make their job more effective and efficient. ProjectManager is a cloud-based project management software that has the features employees love. From Kanban boards that show a visual workflow to collaborative Gantt charts, which put everyone on the same page, ProjectManager keeps employees happy and productive. Try it today with this free 30-day trial.

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