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Surveys & Engagement

15 effective strategies to retain employees & reduce churn

Leapsome Team
15 effective strategies to retain employees & reduce churn
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Do you know how many of your people are seriously considering leaving their positions? According to a recent survey by Hays, it could be up to 60%*.

This is a pressing concern, and simply hiring more candidates as your top workers leave can escalate the problem. Recruitment cuts into budgets and high churn rates can dampen employee morale. In a worst-case scenario, your organization could suffer from ‘turnover contagion,’ when too many employees leaving leads to mass resignations.

That’s one reason why it’s better to learn how to keep your staff engaged and happy instead of replacing them. Effective retention strategies let you raise employee job satisfaction so you can lower your turnover rate and reduce churn. We’ve researched and compiled a list of the top 15 proven methods for retaining employees to guide you.

*Hays U.S Salary Guide, 2023

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Why do employees leave?

Before we explore retention strategies, let’s look at the most common reasons staff members might leave their positions and move on to other opportunities. This will give you more context for the retention strategies on our list and the problems they’re trying to solve.

  • Noncompetitive salaries 
  • Inadequate benefits and perks packages
  • Poor work-life balance
  • Lack of growth opportunities
  • Disengagement
  • Dissatisfaction with management
  • Bad cultural fit
  • More attractive offers elsewhere
💡 Another key retention consideration is timing.

Use Leapsome’s Turnover Prediction tool to spot problems before they have time to grow and spiral. You can analyze trends to notice when specific departments are experiencing an uptick in staff departures. Then, identify and fix issues before they drive more people away.

15 ways to boost employee retention

Here are the most effective ways to improve your employee retention levels and stop churn. Every organization has different areas of growth, so prioritize the strategies that target your greatest causes of employee turnover.

1. Pay above industry standard

Competitive salaries are a key driver of employee retention. But while 59% of employees are looking for a pay increase, only 16% of organizations intend to provide one. And when you don’t meet your people’s expectations, it’s easier for competitors to tempt them away with higher offers.

So, benchmark your people’s salaries against the industry standard. You don’t have to offer the highest pay on the market, but you should aim to consistently exceed the average. And if your organization has budgetary concerns, weigh your losses against potential long-term gains. Investing in higher salaries now may cancel out the expense of hiring and onboarding if dissatisfied employees leave later. 

2. Recognize & reward strong performance

Never underestimate the importance of acknowledging team efforts. Gallup reports that employees are 56% more likely to stay with your organization if you have an effective recognition program. These work best when they cover a variety of achievements, including:

  • Milestones like work anniversaries and promotions
  • One-off successes like meeting targets and closing major deals
  • Excellent performance over time

Openly acknowledging your staff can have the greatest impact on retention. Public praise not only makes wins more meaningful for the recipient but also models what good performance looks like to the rest of the team. Consider using tools like chat apps or Leapsome’s Praise Wall for maximum company visibility.

3. Provide ongoing professional development

Another popular retention strategy is offering employees opportunities to upskill and develop as professionals, grow their expertise, and plug skills gaps. Gallup recently found that 71% of employees would like their organization to offer paid upskilling. They also report that the same percentage of employees report much higher levels of job satisfaction once their training is complete.

There are many types of upskilling and what you should offer depends on your industry. Some common examples are:

  • Training to use new technology
  • Seminars, workshops, and lectures
  • Blended learning
  • Mentorship and coaching from experienced staff
  • Developing soft skills for management 
Photo of a group of four professionals engaged in a training activity.

Upskilling lets you address the problems of employee turnover and skills gaps with one strategy

4. Ensure promotion opportunities

Alongside professional development, it’s essential to make internal promotions part of your core company strategy and position your people so they can attain them. After all, promotions are the logical next step after upskilling. Plus, a lack of career development opportunities is the second highest reason employees think about leaving their jobs.

So if you don’t already have one, now’s the time to develop an employee promotion process for your organization. This is where you create a roadmap of all the steps somebody needs to take to achieve a promotion, showing each of your team members what they need to do to reach their career aspirations. And when your top performers know you’re going to help them work toward their goals, they’ll be less likely to look for opportunities elsewhere.

5. Build a feedback culture

A robust feedback culture is vital to employee satisfaction. When staff knows they can freely share their views and perspectives and are appreciated in their workplace, your entire team will feel heard. And regular transparent exchanges will help them understand what they need to do to excel in their positions. Overall, a feedback culture promotes a growth mindset, forges stronger working relationships, and ensures that issues get solved quickly and effectively.

According to SHRM, 79% of US employees feel comfortable sharing their opinions in the workplace. This number may not be low, but it’s below the global average of 82%. So consider whether the way team members exchange feedback within your organization might be an area of growth.

Many initiatives can help your company foster a feedback culture, including:

Analyzing feedback can also reveal the root cause of your employee turnover levels.

 “One of the most successful strategies that we’ve used is to request, listen to, and action feedback from staff who are leaving. Some areas are easier to improve than others, but by asking the questions, you at least understand why team members may be leaving and can take steps to address any issues identified.”

— Natasha Maddock, co-founder at Events Made Simple

6. Hire to complement your culture

Research from Columbia Business School revealed that employees hired based on cultural fit had higher levels of commitment to their organization. And although they didn’t initially outperform their peers, culturally aligned hires also became 16% more productive over time.

Hiring for cultural fit instead of prioritizing skills and experience could benefit your organization, too. Start by defining your company culture and training management to recognize cultural alignment during the recruitment process. And be careful not to confuse cultural fit with other similarities, as your hiring practices should remain diverse, equitable, and inclusive.

7. Invest in onboarding & orientation

Properly introducing new employees to the workplace sets the entire team up for success. In fact, new hires who have a satisfactory onboarding experience are over twice as likely to report feeling very satisfied with their company. That means they’re more likely to feel welcomed and stay at their jobs long-term.

So, make sure your onboarding process is watertight. Prepare for each new hire by outlining every step of their onboarding and orientation before they start. Then, focus on getting them acquainted with the organization, providing all the training and resources they need, and offering continuous guidance. Most effective onboarding programs last around three months, but you can modify or extend that depending on the needs of the individual and their new position.

Photo of a smiling professional planning an onboarding process on her laptop.

Sitting down and planning a detailed onboarding process lets you predict what new hires may need to get settled in their position

8. Offer attractive benefits packages

Don’t overlook benefits packages in favor of higher salaries. Although competitive compensation is the top reason employees consider new jobs, 19% would also quit their current position for better benefits.

To boost employee satisfaction, consider improving your existing packages with benefits like extended health care and profit sharing. You can also introduce alternative benefits specific to staff needs, like student loan repayments or caregiver assistance. Annual leave is another popular perk that employers often neglect: Most professionals say they’d like over 20 paid days off a year, but only 45% of organizations in the United States offer that. 

9. Manage change effectively

Every organization experiences unexpected and impactful changes that are largely out of its control, from the COVID-19 pandemic to the upcoming recession. Although you can’t prevent every bad situation from happening, your people will appreciate your support through these turbulent periods. In fact, adaptability is a quality that employees often praise their companies for.

To reduce stress during uncertain times, remain transparent, and keep everyone as updated as possible. When you make announcements — like promotions, new clients, and terminations — provide a private space where employees can ask questions, and keep checking in with your team afterward.

10. Create flexible working arrangements

Flexible work arrangements are at the top of most employees’ wishlists. A staggering 91% of professionals told Gallup they’d prefer not to return to the office full-time after working from home during COVID-19. They appreciate working remotely because it enables them to work more convenient hours, avoid traveling during rush hour, and spend less time commuting.

Depending on your industry, you might not be able to offer your employees fully remote work schedules. But there are plenty of ways to provide your people more flexibility, like:

  • Offering hybrid or occasional remote work arrangements (like a certain number of days per week)
  • Letting employees choose the hours they work
  • Offering reduced schedules on specific days, like late starts on Mondays or early finishes on Fridays
Photo of a man standing on an empty subway train and smiling as he reads a smartphone screen.

Providing your people with flexible work arrangements allows them to create schedules that suit them better and boosts their job satisfaction

11. Prioritize employee well-being

No matter how important work seems, people-first organizations know their staff’s physical and mental wellness comes first. But many companies still miss opportunities to support their people — 60% of global employees looking for a new job state poor work-life balance in their previous position as one of the driving forces behind their decision.

Focusing on your team’s well-being helps them maintain a healthy work-life balance and ultimately reduces employee turnover. Team leaders should encourage their reports to take regular breaks and actually stop working when their shift ends. They should also continuously review each employee’s workload to ensure it meets their desired challenge level and capacity.

You can introduce a software solution like Leapsome to automate and streamline as much of your people’s workflow as possible. Tech solutions minimize the amount of repetitive, manual tasks your team needs to do, take work off their plate, and reduce the risk of burnout. 

12. Pay attention to employee engagement levels

Measuring engagement levels at your organization can give you valuable insights into your overall business health. They show the connection your employees feel with their work, which is a good indicator of job satisfaction. So when engagement levels are low, you know there’s a higher risk of people leaving their jobs.

To get a well-rounded picture, track engagement metrics like employee alignment with company objectives as well as your eNPS score. You can also conduct engagement surveys to get detailed answers and data on what motivates your people. 

Once you’ve found the underlying causes of low motivation, use an employee engagement model as a framework to help your organization make improvements. For example, the Zinger method aims to strengthen the connections between people at different levels so they can better support one another and boost engagement. It also creates a hierarchy of needs to help you understand what your people want most.

13. Strengthen relationships between managers & employees

Meaningful connections between leaders and team members are excellent for employee retention. SHRM found that 91% of people who rate their workplace as good say they can trust their manager, while only 24% of people who indicated their workplace was poor said the same.

Here are a few ways you can bolster the relationships between managers and team members:

  • Have leadership develop a compelling company mission statement and discuss it with your employees to inspire and engage them.
  • Ensure there are always open lines of communication between managers and team members.
  • Check in with individual staff members regularly to see if they need support.
  • Keep all decision-making processes transparent to build trust.
  • Help managers avoid spending all their time in meetings or closed offices, so they don’t create distance between themselves and their reports.

14. Encourage teamwork

Along with developing strong bonds between management and their reports, prioritize and nurture peer relationships. Collaboration and belonging are two of the top five work culture drivers for employees. That means your people need to be able to work together, rely on one another, and forge connections to feel satisfied at work.

Many organizations plan team-building sessions to encourage closer professional relationships. These activities can be adapted for groups of any size and happen remotely, in person, or in a hybrid format. Some popular choices include sports days, games, and volunteering initiatives.

But you can encourage teamwork and camaraderie in your people’s day-to-day work as well. For instance, assigning mentors can help newcomers get to know people while learning more about their job. Or, you can encourage employee networking and debates to help your people find and connect with like-minded team members. 

You should also train your team leads to avoid micromanaging their reports. Aside from its impact on morale, trying to control every aspect of a department’s workflow can prevent employees from communicating with each other to solve problems or request feedback. 

15. Constantly enrich & improve communication

Communication underpins most of the strategies we’ve mentioned on this list. However, it’s worth exploring as a distinct retention strategy. After all, 63% of employees find their organization’s communication style frustrating. To keep your people happy, you need to be transparent about your company’s long-term plans and promote open and honest dialogue within your team.

Here are some best practices you can employ to ensure everyone in your organization communicates effectively.

  • Keep your team up to date about relevant news and company initiatives.
  • Send notifications and reminders for events and tasks that need to be completed.
  • Train staff on your organization’s communication practices, like how to use the company messaging platform effectively and how to address clients.
  • Promote company goals and purpose with clarity
  • Provide opportunities for frequent brainstorming sessions and team-building activities.
  • Schedule regular feedback sessions and check-ins like performance reviews and one-on-one meetings.
 “We understand the importance of providing our employees with a sense of purpose in their work. We make sure to communicate our company’s mission and values to our employees and provide them with a clear sense of what their job contributes to our company’s success. This helps to ensure that our employees feel a connection to our company, which makes them more likely to stay.”

— Tomasz Niezgoda, co-founder at Surfer SEO

Make your company a great place to work with Leapsome

It’s the people behind the business that make up its success. So, wanting to hold on to your best team members for as long as possible makes sense. The current tight labor market makes this more challenging than usual, but employee retention strategies can help you keep turnover rates low.

And all-in-one people enablement solutions like Leapsome provide the support you need to build and carry out your employee retention strategies. Our Onboarding software offers the perfect introduction between your company and new joiners. Then, our Compensation module helps you set up fair and transparent processes for pay raises and career advances. 

At the same time, you can implement performance reviews, development frameworks, and learning paths to support employee growth. To prioritize your people’s well-being, we also offer an Instant Feedback and Surveys module. All in all, Leapsome is a dynamic solution to make working at your organization fulfilling for everyone.

🌎 Take a holistic approach to employee retention

Making your organization a great place to work requires a multi-faceted strategy — and Leapsome can help you carry it out.

👉 Book a demo

Verfasst von

Leapsome Team

Written by the team at Leapsome — the all-in-one people enablement platform for driving employee engagement, performance, and learning.
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