Recruitment & Retention Articles

After you've spent resources onboarding your new employees, the true task becomes retaining them. Finding top talent and keeping them around is what makes most growing businesses competitive. New technology and the changing workforce is shifting the age-old processes HR managers have relied on.

Three Ways to Improve Employee Retention – WITHOUT Spending a Dime

28 June 2017
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If there’s one thing that kills productivity, morale, and a company’s bottom line, it’s having to replace great employees. That’s why we need employee retention techniques.

It can cost up to three times an employee’s annual salary to replace them. This doesn’t take into account the fact that other employees might leave with them, the knowledge they take as they leave, and the customer contacts they might poach on the way out. Every Human Resources or Hiring Professional worth their salt knows that employee retention is key to a thriving business.

Retaining an employee is about more than just money. In fact, studies show that giving raises to dissatisfied employees will only raise their workplace happiness for a few months, and then the underlying problems come back in full force. I know that it’s possible to keep your best people without having to spend another dime, and I’d like to share that with you today.

NOTE: The below tips assume that you’re already paying your employees a fair salary. If you’re hiring technology employees with Master’s degrees, ten years of experience, and knowledge of 15+ languages for $10,000.00 a year even the best article can’t keep them on board.

Provide Flexibility and Autonomy

The best thing you can do for your employee retention is to trust your employees. It’s not enough to just say ‘I trust you’ and to keep them on strict lockdown. Actions matter much more than words in this area. If your company is lucky enough to have a great employee you can truly trust, here are three ways to demonstrate that trust without having to spend any money.

Flexible Schedule

A little flexibility goes a long way. If your top performer is getting all of their work done above standards and wants to change up their schedule so they’re working later or earlier, there’s no reason not to do so. It might be an adjustment not having them on call precisely at 8:30 a.m. when you’re used to, but if their work is 10x better when they can choose their own hours, that’s a small sacrifice worth making.

Remote Work

Key employees are usually the ones that are interrupted at the office most often for questions and help. This is great for the employees needing help, but not so great for the key employee who can’t get an hour’s silence to work. Combine that with awful commutes and stifling dress codes, and you’ve got a perfect storm of discontent, ruining your employee retention efforts. Considering that many millennial employees have actually said they would take a pay cut to be able to work remotely, if it’s possible to give your key people that ability, do it. Other employees who are not effective enough able to work remotely might find this unfair, but having sit-down meetings explaining what it takes to earn remote privileges should stop that in its tracks.

Stop Micromanaging

There's no way to drive out your best people faster and sabotage your employee retention efforts than to constantly be micromanaging them. It’s really tempting to ask for lots of status reports and to tell them in explicit detail how to achieve their objectives but you’ve got to stop doing it. What feels like being involved and supportive to you feels like suffocation to your employee. Give your people goals and trust them to decide how to get there. When you give people real empowerment, their IQs grow by dozens of points.

Be Generous and Sincere with Praise and Recognition

It’s common for employees to only hear from their bosses or supervisors when something is wrong. If you’re silent when they go above and beyond at their job but are vocally critical when they make a small mistake, they’ll be putting in their two week’s notice before you know it. A sincere show of appreciation can be as simple as an email saying ‘I noticed you caught a major bug before our product shipped to customers. Thank you.’ It only takes a few minutes, and lets employees know you see and appreciate their hard work. All people really want in life is to be recognized, important, and valued. If you can give that to your employees, you should.

Hire the Right Person for the Job

Have you ever heard the expression ‘the best defense is a good offense?’ You can prevent turnover and improve employee retention from day one by hiring only the best fit for the job. It can be tempting to rush the hiring process to keep the position from being empty too long, but that’s just setting yourself up for trouble later. Take the time to thoroughly screen and get to know candidates before hiring them and watch your employee retention and satisfaction skyrocket.

Elizabeth Woodard

Liz Woodard is an office veteran who's fascinated by office dynamics and believes that applied behavioral psychology can go far towards managing a company well. Find her at

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