12 Tips to Boost Employee Retention

by Bob Helbig

How Top Workplaces Organizations Retain the Right Talent

How do organizations boost employee retention to reduce unwanted turnover? Just listen to folks who know. We gathered tips from several Top Workplaces companies that rated among the highest for employee retention based on Workplace Survey results. Here are some of the helpful hints that work for them – and can work for you too:

1. Hire the right people

Use the interview process to determine whether or not people are a strong fit for your organization. As one put it, “Pursue cultural DNA alignment at all costs.” Identify the values that are the most important to your organization and ensure they are non-negotiable hiring requirements.

2. Coach to people’s strengths

Identify strengths and weaknesses, interests, and potential stumbling blocks. “When employees believe they have the freedom to use their skills and interests at work, the result is that those people feel more satisfied,” said Nanci E. Lamborn, global head of human resources at eVestment, a 9x Top Workplaces winner.

3. Train managers to be flexible

Managers can effectively engage employees and boost employee retention when they factor in different individual styles and personality types. As an employee from award-winning Transwestern put it, “Our managers are able to identify people’s strongest attribute and put them in positions that utilize their skills and help the entire team.”

4. Foster and celebrate teamwork

“My team really cares about what we do. We want to learn continually to improve our skills and improve business. It’s fun to work with people who enjoy their jobs!” That’s what one Top Workplaces employee had to say about teamwork. Bring people together to share a common mission. When you have a great team, do whatever you can to keep them.

5. Communicate … and then communicate some more

Share information and listen. Employees will have a deeper connection to their work and the mission of the organization. “When people can impact how their work is done and decisions are made, they feel invested and want to see their investment grow,” Lamborn said.

6. Celebrate people

Whether birthday best wishes or appreciation for a job well done, recognize employees and the good work they do. Consistent words of affirmation, compliments, and thank you messages matter. People want to know they are important. “We all want to know that our efforts aren’t going unnoticed,” said Kassie Grant of Baker Audio Visual.

7. Value people’s passions

Employees’ interests extend beyond office doors. Recognize the higher purpose that drives and inspires people in their community. “For us, it’s about something bigger: a higher purpose that we all believe in. A higher purpose that drives us, inspires us, and unites us,” said Ben Levine of Salesforce.

8. Promote wellness

Organizations offer money toward gym memberships, fitness classes, yoga and massages. Some also offer free lunches or healthy snacks, including fruit, nuts, vegetables, and Greek yogurt. Remember though, these types of perks are only part of a bigger picture. They may reflect a great culture, but they’ll never create one.

9. Have fun

Fun at work builds solidarity, connection, and an outlet for workplace stress. Be intentional about giving employees an opportunity to have fun and socialize and celebrate wins together.

10. Set expectations

Organizations thrive when they have high standards of performance accountability. “There is a genuine drive to encourage everyone to do their best and to be their best,” said Grant.

11. Invest in people

Professional development matters. “These opportunities assure continuity of leadership succession in administrative roles and provide a meaningful way for employees to experience professional and personal growth,” said Amy Morris, director of communications at Woodward Academy.

12. Offer competitive pay and benefits

A competitive compensation and benefits strategy can boost employee retention, although it’s not a primary driver. Top Workplaces evaluate their programs, whenever necessary, but they spend most of their efforts focusing on intrinsic motivators such as autonomy and purpose.

One more common thread

Leaders need to embrace, support, and practice these qualities to demonstrate they care about their employees. “I work for them,” said Don Patrick, CEO of Integrated Financial Group, Inc. “They work for our clients. I am at the bottom of our organizational chart.” Added eVestment’s Lamborn, “Unless executive leadership truly believes that employee satisfaction should be a top business priority, then no program can artificially create that kind of environment.”