How Can I Retain Employees?

Keeping your best talent is essential for success in a competitive job market. The average turnover rate among US businesses between 2022 and 2023 was 17.3%, meaning a significant portion of your workforce could be leaving each year, taking valuable skills, experience, and knowledge with them.

High turnover has serious consequences. It disrupts productivity, strains resources, and can damage company morale. Fortunately, there are proactive steps you can take to improve employee retention. In this blog, we will explore why employees leave and provide actionable strategies to reduce turnover and retain your valued employees.

Why is it Important to Retain Employees?

Employee retention is crucial for a thriving business. Here is why:

  • A stronger workforce: Long-term employees gain valuable experience and knowledge, becoming more productive and taking on greater responsibility.
  • Improved morale: Retention strategies boost employee happiness. Happy employees create a positive work environment and are more invested in company success.
  • Decreased costs: Hiring and training replacements are expensive. Investing in current employees through development opportunities is often more cost-effective.

Why Do People Leave?

Before we get into strategies to retain employees, you must know why they leave. Here are some of the most common reasons:

  • Insufficient compensation
  • Lack of competitive benefits
  • Feeling overwhelmed and lacking support at work
  • Limited opportunities for growth and advancement
  • Desire for improved work-life balance
  • Feeling underappreciated or unrecognized
  • Lack of stimulation or challenge in the role
  • Dissatisfaction with leadership or management
  • Concerns about the company’s stability or future
  • Misalignment with the company’s values or culture
  • Desire for personal or professional change
  • More attractive opportunities elsewhere

How to Retain Employees (8 Strategies) 

You know why employees leave. Now, it is time to learn how to keep them. Below are 8 ways to retain employees. 

1. Offer Competitive Salaries

One of the best ways to retain employees is by offering them wages that reflect their hard work and sacrifices. Compensation should be looked at more than anything else on this list – without it, employees simply won’t stay.

Employees need to be paid fairly for their time and work, afford the cost of living where they reside, see their wages regularly adjusted for inflation, and receive additional compensation as their experience and responsibilities grow.

Here is how to ensure your salaries are competitive:

  • Find the average minimum wage for your community: The MIT living wage calculator is a fantastic resource. It is the base salary for any job – wages should increase from there.
  • Find out about competitor offerings: Do not lose out on the amount of compensation. Losing your top employees to competitors will cost you substantially more in the long run.

Remember, replacement is expensive. The Society for Human Resource Management estimates replacing them can cost six to nine months of an employee’s salary. It is often cheaper to raise the wages of existing employees than to constantly recruit and train new ones.

2. Provide Flexible Scheduling

Businesses that provide flexible work schedules enjoy significantly better employee retention. A poll showed that nearly two-thirds of workers found themselves more productive when they had control over their work environment. They benefitted from fewer interruptions, distractions and the elimination of commuting time.

Since creativity does not always happen on a strict 9-to-5 schedule, offering employees flexible hours helps them. Simply put, they can work when they are most efficient and productive. This flexibility might involve remote work options, adjustable start/end times, etc.

Additionally, consider the impact of reduced workdays or workweeks. A 2014 Stanford University study found that productivity declines sharply after an employee works more than 50 hours per week. While long hours might seem like a sign of dedication, they often lead to burnout and decreased output.

3. Promote Work-Life Balance

The third item on our list of most effective retention methods is encouraging the benefits of a balanced work-life – both for your employees and you. The issue of work-life balance is becoming increasingly important to employees and is a major reason why people are seeking new opportunities to work or reject offers.

The process of achieving this balance could be achieved in a variety of ways, including those flexible solutions we mentioned earlier (remote work or flexible schedules, shorter working hours) or more simple practices such as encouraging employees to unblock emails and phone calls outside of their scheduled working hours. Respecting the time of employees free of work is important for building lasting loyalty as well as a positive working relationship.

4. Recognize Employees’ Work

Employees who feel recognized and rewarded are easier to retain and tend to be more productive. However, unfortunately, one-half of American employees report feeling underappreciated in the workplace.

Recognition and rewards come in many forms, and it is wise to balance social recognition with monetary incentives. Public praise boosts morale and establishes a workplace culture where hard work is valued. Financial rewards, whether direct cash, gift cards, or perks like paid time off, are also powerful motivators. Consider surveying your employees about the types of rewards they find most meaningful.

Importantly, recognize effort as well as results. Sometimes, despite everyone’s best intentions, projects fall short of expectations. Acknowledging your employees’ hard work even when the outcome is not ideal fosters a positive and resilient work environment, motivating them to give their all in the future.

5. Create A Great Company Culture

Another key retention strategy is creating a work culture that your employees actively want to be a part of. A study underscores the importance of culture – 47% of job seekers cite it before applying.

Here is how to develop a winning company culture:

  • Build on the existing strategies: The retention strategies we have covered are contributing to a great culture, acknowledging effort and results, offering flexible working hours, etc.
  • Promoting diversity and inclusion: A workplace that is welcoming and respects all backgrounds, races, genders, and sexual orientations will draw and retain a wider range of talent.

6. Offer Personal and Professional Development Opportunities

Smart businesses understand that investment in their employees does not stop after onboarding. Continuous development opportunities are essential for building a highly-skilled, motivated, and loyal workforce.

By providing access to further education, training, and upskilling within their field, you are not only investing in your employees’ future but also strengthening your company’s overall capabilities.

Here is why this strategy is so effective:

  • Improves employee satisfaction: People who feel that their employer is committed to their development have a higher likelihood of feeling appreciated and content with their job.
  • Increases the strength of the company: A workforce with constantly developing skills results in a more flexible and competent company.
  • Increases retention: Showing a commitment to employee growth creates an incentive for top performers to remain within your organization.

7. Manage for Retention

A Robert Half report underscores the impact of management on employee decisions: nearly half of employees leave their jobs due to poor management. Conversely, a good manager can be a powerful retention tool.

The best managers shift their mindset from being a “boss” to being a “coach.” While a boss focuses on micromanagement and demands, a coach guides, supports, sets clear goals, and empowers employees. This leadership style fosters a sense of ownership and builds strong working relationships – key ingredients for employee satisfaction and loyalty.

8. Learn to Say “Goodbye”

Even the best retention strategies cannot guarantee that employees will stay forever. It is inevitable that some will retire or pursue opportunities better aligned with their goals. Knowing when to say a graceful goodbye and handling the offboarding process effectively is crucial for maintaining a positive workplace culture.

When existing employees see that departing colleagues are treated with respect and support, it reinforces their own belief that the company values their contributions, creating a strong foundation for loyalty.


You can see that retention of employees is essential for a successful business, and you can do this by offering competitive wages, flexible work schedules, a healthy work-life balance, and more. While there is a certain amount of turnover, however, these proactive strategies can greatly reduce it by allowing you to create a stable, skilled, and loyal workforce that will propel your business toward success.

Get certified as a Top Employer or World’s Best Employer and demonstrate your commitment to a positive work environment. Our data-driven approach offers valuable information and a prestigious seal of approval, which can boost the reputation of your employer. Find out more about the advantages of Top Employer certification now.

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Sam Barclay