How to retain your prized employees

Al Sisto

Blog by: Al Sisto - 4 / Apr / 2017

Top talent is hard to attract and even harder to keep. High employee turnover costs business owners in time and productivity. One survey estimates the cost of replacing an employee is in the region of £30,000.

Managers readily agree that retaining the best employees ensures customer satisfaction, product sales, satisfied coworkers and reporting staff, effective succession planning and deeply embedded organisational knowledge and learning. But how do you retain your prized employees? Well, as an employer you need to start retention planning as soon as the new hire starts. Try these tactics to retain your employees.

Competitive and fair salary

Offer a competitive salary and benefits package. Providing health insurance, life insurance and a retirement-savings plan is essential in retaining employees.

Be sure to be consistent and fair when setting salaries. The perception of equitable treatment is important in employee retention. I’ve seen new sales managers headhunted and given higher salaries than existing and very capable colleagues. Don’t think salary information stays secret long. In these situations morale is affected and often people will look for alternative employment.

Good line management

Staff retention and motivation depend on good managers who can communicate effectively and make a real difference to their teams. Invest in getting your managers to really understand and put into practice the fundamentals of good management: coaching, giving feedback, listening, recognising success and performance management. It may seem basic but staff also need to know what their responsibilities are and what is expected of them. Changing and unclear expectations increase stress levels and create toxic work environments.

Conduct “long service” interviews

In addition to performing exit interviews to learn why employees are leaving, consider asking long service employees why they stay. Why not weave these questions into the annual appraisal? Ask questions such as: why did you come to work here? Why have you stayed? What would make you leave? Then use that information to strengthen your employee-retention strategies.


Capable and ambitious employees are constantly looking to expand their expertise and sharpen their skills so that they stay up-to-date in their chosen field. If, as an employer, you don’t offer learning and development opportunities, you risk losing talented staff and ending up with the poor performers.

Also consider implementing a mentoring programme. At its most fundamental level, mentoring is a process in which a mentor helps and guides the development of a less experienced employee. According to the 2016 Deloitte Millennial Survey, millennials intending to stay with their organisation for more than five years are twice as likely to have a mentor (68%), than not (32%)

Provide some perks

A University of Arizona study showed that offering rewards and perls made teams more cohesive, even when the members didn't all get along.

Office lunches, fruit bowls, gym membership, dry-cleaning pickup and delivery may seem insignificant to you, but if they help employees stay healthy and better manage their lives, they’ll appreciate it and may be more likely to stick around.

Be a flexible employer

Flexi-time and telecommuting go a long way to show employees that you appreciate you have a role to play in their work-life balance. Companies such as Teletech, Convergys, Amazon, Kaplan and Cisco all offer a high proportion of telecommuting positions.

Open communication

Hold regular meetings in which employees can offer ideas and ask questions. Have an open-door policy that encourages employees to speak frankly with their managers without fear of repercussion.

The employee's freedom to speak his or her mind freely within the organisation is another key factor in employee retention.

Offer financial rewards

Consider offering stock options or other financial awards for employees who meet performance goals and stay for a predetermined time period, such as, three or five years. Consider creating a bonus structure where employees can earn an annual bonus if they meet pre-specified performance goals. Tie this into your company’s profit target so you can definitely afford it. 


Topics: human resources, employee retention

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