HR and Recruiting

3 key employee retention strategies to keep turnover low

Written by Eric Titner

As an HR professional, you are keenly aware of the importance of employee retention—both for achieving target department milestones, as well as for the long-term success of your company. Beyond the sunk costs and organizational chaos that take place when there’s a constantly revolving door of employees entering and exiting a business, companies often cite employee retention as a key metric for effective daily operation and overall success.

In fact, it goes further than that: companies that build reputations for consistently impressive employee retention rates bolster their brand identities—and you better believe that word travels fast, so you can count on active and passive future candidates discovering that people enjoy working at your organization for the long haul.

Your company’s bottom line—and opportunities for achieving industry growth, attracting talent-rich candidates, and realizing long-term success—is dependent on effective employee retention, so you better have a strategy. If your HR team needs to take its retention plan to the next level, consider utilizing the following strategies for keeping turnover low in your organization.

Know your industry

The truth is, not all industries are created equal—and neither is how employees are typically treated. What employees expect in one field may be completely different than another, and you better believe that all of the employees in your organization—including everyone from new hires to seasoned veterans—will have some level of expectation regarding how they should be treated by their employer and will respond accordingly based on their perception (regardless of whether or not it’s completely aligned with reality).

This mindset isn’t relegated to just your most talented star employees or any specific department—it’s at the core of human psychology. How you’re treated or, more accurately, how you perceive that you’re treated, impacts your resultant behavior. This holds true at home, in the world, and on the job.

So, make sure you’re keenly aware of what the standards are for your industry, and make sure your company is on target in all key areas—including salaries, benefits packages, and additional perks. Even things like your office layout and organization are going to impact employee perception. So, if you want to keep turnover low and employee satisfaction high, make sure you’re meeting their expectations regularly, which includes both current and future industry standards (so be sure to stay on top of industry shifts and trends).

Lead the way

Now that you know how important it is to meet industry expectations for employees in your company, create a plan to exceed them. That’s right—in today’s ultra-competitive job market, where hungry and lean new startups are emerging every day and are eager to source new talent for their teams—today’s talented job candidates have options, and the laws of attraction apply in the professional world as much as anywhere else. Progressive companies know that investing time, energy, and resources towards developing truly innovative, first-in-class employee incentives will not only attract new talent, it will help keep your existing teams from thinking about whether or not the grass is greener somewhere else. Doing so will also have the added benefit of helping to bolster your company’s brand identity—and trust us, word will spread. Pique candidate interest, and then keep hold of their attention and loyalty as employees, by offering them industry-leading incentives to keep them satisfied and doing their best work over the long haul. Don’t just keep up with other companies—innovate.

Listen to your employees

This one might seem obvious, but you may be surprised to learn that the communications pipeline between employees and leadership in many organizations tends to work slowly—and oftentimes seems as if it barely works at all. Big mistake—and one that your company should actively seek to avoid. Make sure the employees on your team have the tools to voice their opinions regarding the direction of the company and their place in it—think everything from offsite gatherings to regular feedback meetings and annual employee satisfaction appraisals—and make sure that it’s not just smoke but is treated like the valuable data that it is.

If employees are telling you that something is working, then keep doing it; if something is broken, then fix it. Don’t forget, active and attentive listening is a key component of any healthy relationship, including the one between employer and employee, and great companies treat their employees as more than cogs in their machines.

If you’re looking to reduce employee turnover in your company, consider using the strategies presented here to keep your teams happy and eager to come to work—and do their absolute best—every single day of the week. If you put in the work up-front, you’ll create a warm, thriving atmosphere that’s sure to retain talented workers who will bring the results your company wants.

About the author

Eric Titner

Eric is a NYC-based editor and writer, with years of experience in career-focused content development across a wide range of industries.