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8 Employee Retention Strategies

  • Employee Benefits
  • Article
  • 6 min. Read
  • Last Updated: 09/11/2023

staff mentor and team designer working in office through a mentorship program for employee retention

Table of Contents

When it comes to talent retention, satisfied and engaged employees tend to stay in a job longer. If you've experienced retention challenges, or you'd like to lower your employee attrition rate, it may be time to implement changes in the workplace. Developing or updating your retention strategies can help you find ways to encourage employees to stay with the organization rather than looking elsewhere for new career opportunities.

What Is Employee Retention?

Employee retention measures often focus on how long new hires stay with your company. As they gain tenure, many of your people will continue to develop, using their acquired knowledge and skills to make meaningful contributions. Most companies review employee retention trends and when changes occur, they try to determine why. If needed, strategies can be implemented to improve overall retention.

What Is an Employee Retention Strategy?

An employee retention strategy is a coordinated effort designed to increase worker satisfaction and limit turnover. Retention strategies help companies maximize their investment in their employees and reduce the costs related to hiring, training, and developing new workers.

Why Is Employee Retention Important for an Organization?

Employee retention is important because it can help maintain a base of knowledge and skills throughout a company, and may ultimately provide the best service to customers while maximizing productivity. Alternatively, constant turnover can lead to the disruption of operational and administrative processes within an organization. When managerial resources are shifted toward hiring and training new employees, other strategic company goals related to growth or improvement may be upended. With these in mind, retention strategies, including career advancement and development programs, can increase employee engagement, and increase their happiness at work.

Eight Employee Retention Strategies

Before you can begin to develop new strategies, you'll need to understand how to retain employees by discovering what they like — and dislike — about their jobs. The opportunity to perform meaningful work is one reason why employees stay at their company, along with job stability and other factors. For each organization, there may be a unique mix of the other factors that employees appreciate: a welcoming, inclusive work environment; flexible scheduling; or strong company leadership with a clear vision for success. Retention strategies should take advantage of the company's strengths while also improving upon current efforts that may be worth reevaluating.

1. Invest in Training and Development

A 2022 Paychex survey revealed that 63% of employees were more likely to stay with an organization that provided better learning opportunities related to skill development and career advancement. In addition to the initial investment required to recruit and onboard an employee, companies should also consider prioritizing employee career development when managing long-term retention of employees.

To make sure employees have access to training, employers can use a learning management system, along with live training and development sessions. Managers can work with employees to develop an intended career path and set expectations about what they must accomplish to get promoted or move to another position.

2. Provide Mentorship Opportunities

Mentorship programs allow employees to build a relationship with someone who can offer career advice and guidance. Companies can set up formal or informal mentorship programs to connect employees who would benefit from this type of business relationship. When employees join the company, they can be paired with someone as part of the onboarding process. This gives the new hire another resource other than their direct manager who may answer questions or listen to concerns. Mentors can also offer broader, long-term guidance related to professional development, while a direct manager may focus more on the employee's current role.

3. Give Employees Autonomy in the Workplace

Top employees want to contribute and help your business succeed. To keep them engaged and satisfied, find ways to give employees ownership over their work. You may be able to let them decide how they can best do aspects of their job, with the proper amount of supervision. Encourage employees to suggest their own solutions to problems they encounter. Allow them to recommend changes to processes in the hope of finding efficiencies.

For employees who want to advance into a more managerial role, look for chances to provide them with leadership opportunities. As they take on added responsibility, let them take the lead on certain projects, or serve as a liaison between your department and management. When employees speak up and offer solutions or advice, take their feedback seriously and provide thoughtful responses.

4. Create a Strong Company Culture

Many retention strategies for employees can also help to reinforce a company's culture. Employees want to know who they're working for. A strong company culture brings your vision for your company to life. Focus on cultivating a company culture that supports your ultimate goals. Employees who understand your vision for success and how the company interacts with its customers and community may be more engaged and better equipped to contribute over the long term.

5. Find New Ways To Encourage Wellness and Work/Life Balance

As the post-pandemic work environment continues to shift, find new ways to support employee well-being. Whether employees are working remotely, in the office, or on a hybrid schedule, they will no doubt face challenges to maintaining work/life balance. Employee retention ideas to consider may include offering mental health services, flexible hours, or wellness programs to help employees avoid the dreaded burnout that might cause them to seek a career change.

6. Celebrate Achievements

Employees want to be recognized for their hard work. Even small gifts or awards can go a long way as a sign of appreciation for their efforts. Think of employee recognition on a spectrum, from casual compliments at a staff meeting to formal award ceremonies. Find out what type of recognition your employees value most — it could be a small cash bonus, an extra day off, or public acknowledgement of their achievements. Structure a recognition program that will achieve the maximum results on a cost-efficient basis. You may not need to throw large company-wide parties when a small departmental recognition budget could allow managers to determine what works best for their team.

7. Ask for Feedback

Sometimes you don't know an employee is unhappy until they leave the company. Exit interviews can provide information about why employees leave, but you can also take steps to uncover this information and fix issues before someone hands in their resignation. Employee surveys can help to gauge overall job satisfaction. You can also conduct stay interviews with targeted employees to make sure they're happy with their current job role. Use the feedback to help shape future retention strategies.

8. Benchmark Compensation and Benefits

Even the happiest worker may look for other opportunities if they believe they are underpaid. Use industry data to benchmark your salary and benefits packages. Analyze benefits usage to find out which programs employees value. If you must pay employees below the industry average, you may be able to make up the difference by offering unique benefits or a flexible schedule.

Continue Learning About Employee Retention

Employee retention rates may change over time as the economy and workplace demographics shift. Make sure your employee retention ideas continue to evolve as well, or you may risk losing talent to competitors who can quickly capitalize on the latest workplace trends. Paychex can help you work toward the long-term success of your organization by helping you craft impactful retention strategies.


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Successful employee retention strategies can help your company save money. See how you might qualify for the Employee Retention Credit.

* This content is for educational purposes only, is not intended to provide specific legal advice, and should not be used as a substitute for the legal advice of a qualified attorney or other professional. The information may not reflect the most current legal developments, may be changed without notice and is not guaranteed to be complete, correct, or up-to-date.

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