10 Ways to Increase Employee Retention

by Lauren Schneidewind on February 2, 2016

Have you ever wondered how companies go from good to great? The secret lies within their Team. A great deal of time and money is spent on developing a cohesive team, and we need to not only focus on hiring the best talent out there; we must also focus on keeping highly talented individuals happy and engaged to work with us. There are ten key steps to increase employee retention that have been working for us.

Long Term

Support Career Growth

First and foremost, we need to support our employee’s career goals. This one strikes a chord with me, as this is probably one of two reasons I have left my previous jobs. When we hire highly motivated individuals, we should expect that they want to grow their careers. We have to create a clear and open career path for everyone within our companies.

Support Personal Goals

Many times, companies take for granted that employees are people with personal lives, too. In order to keep individuals happy, they not only need to be content with their career position, but also with their personal lives. We as employers and fellow employees need to support and allow people to have personal goals as well. Some might argue that personal lives have no business in the work place; however this couldn’t be farther from the truth. A personal goal of mine is get 15,000 steps in a day. I can’t do that if I am at my desk for 12 hours. In order to accomplish this I have been scheduling walking meetings when possible. This might seem small or unimportant to some, but for me I feel like I have failed when I don’t get my steps in. We are human, our work and personal lives matter, we just need to figure out the balance…

Work-Life Balance

Employees are people with families and hobbies too. I personally struggle with this one, I want to do everything, and unfortunately this is not possible, especially with a 10-month-old going through a mommy phase. I don’t work my best when I am constantly being pulled between work and family. We need to work with our team and support creating a balance that works for everyone. We might want to consider this when creating job expectations…

Clear and Realistic Expectations-Accountability

We all want to know what is expected of us. I personally love setting goals for myself, and then I can feel a sense of accomplishment once something is complete (Step goal). By simply creating clear and realistic expectations, we can be more effective doing our jobs. This will also enable the team to be more efficient with their jobs and become more focused on the overall team objectives.

Be Flexible-Focus on Results

We need to be accommodating and trust our employees to get their jobs done (If we can’t, then we probably hired the wrong people). For me, I have figured out that I get the most work done when I work in short 3-4 hour blocks during the day. I love taking a 2-hour lunch. This allows me to recharge, decompress and then hit it hard again. I am still working probably 10 hours a day; I am just working on my schedule, which is optimized to how I work best. However, everyone is different. We need to be flexible and trust that our employees are optimizing their schedules as well.

Pay Them What They Are Worth

This is a sensitive subject for me and caused me a great deal of angst working in corporate America. I am not sure if this is due to my negotiation skills, being a female in technology, or a combination of other factors. I could talk for hours on this, but I will spare you (for now). The old school thinking of paying employees as little as possible might have worked on a previous generation, but it doesn’t work today. If a business wants to retain top talent, we need to be willing to pay for it.

Company Culture

We spend more than a third of our day at work, and I know I am happier when I enjoy the atmosphere I am working in. Create a great company culture where people want to be. We are still working on our culture at LD Studios, but we listen to our team and act accordingly. We recently moved into a co-working space at Ponce City Market after our team expressed concerns about our previous work environment. Now, everyone loves the vibe and the free beer.


Nothing is worse on employee moral when we don’t know if we are going to have a job by the end of the week. Create a stable work environment. I know this is easier said than done, especially for small businesses like us. However, we have dealt with this by having monthly updates to let the team know how things are going and our plans going forward. We also have an open door policy without judgments. I never want someone to be concerned about whether or not they will have a job; it is an unnecessary stress on them.

Short Term

Compliment Great Work

We all like to be acknowledged when we are crushing it! And we don’t want to feel like are efforts have gone unnoticed. Scaling Up uses the 3:1 rule for feedback with employees. For every three compliments, offer one piece of constructive feedback. This is something that should be done regularly either in private or during group meetings. I personally like to acknowledge my team in a public manner during our weekly huddles Monday morning. It is informal, but it sets a great tone for the week.

Reward Awesome Behaviors

We have all heard the saying, “You catch more flies with honey than you do with Vinegar.” Sometimes going the extra mile to reward positive behavior will create a better team environment. No one wants to feel like they are on a chopping block at any given time, so create an environment of trust and appreciation. This is a step above complimenting the team; maybe this could be a quarterly event. Maybe this is giving an employee that stood out a gift card or something more tangible than a compliment. How do you reward good performance?

If increasing employee retention isn’t enough to add these items to your business list, then keep in mind highly motivated employees are said to be 60% more productive according to the team at Gazelles.

How do you keep employees engaged and motivated to stay and grow with your company? Or why have you left previous employers?

I would love to chat!


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