7 Ways to Retain Great Employees


Recruiting great employees and the ability to retain great employees matters.

Employee retention is critical to the long term health and success of your business. Managers are aware that retaining their best employees ensures customer satisfaction, product sales and satisfied coworkers.

If many managers know these facts, why do they behave in such ways that so frequently encourages great employees to quit their jobs? The need to retain great employees matters as it stops managers having to invest time and money, loss of knowledge, insecure coworkers and costly recruitment processes. Essentially, failing to retain great employees is extremely costly and shows why the HR department is important for employee retention.

Employee retention is critical for society reasons. Over the next few years, a significant number of Baby Boomers will be retiring. The upcoming Generation X population is approximately 44 million, compared to the Baby Boomers population of 76 million. This means there are a lot fewer people available to work.

As a manager, you need to encourage ongoing, two way conversations that are based on trust, deliverables and understand your employees career goals and aspirations. If you do not know how your employee wishes to grow professionally then you cannot tailor opportunities to meet their needs and ultimately, you risk losing them.

1. Quality of Supervision

The quality of the supervision an employee receives is critical to employee retention. More often than not people usually leave their jobs due to their managers and supervisors. Even if the senior management team are nice people, without determining clear expectations of the employee the supervisor will have a critical role to play in retention. Some of the most common employee complaints which make employees feel undervalued are the following:

  • Lack of clarity about expectations – establish well defined benchmarks for evaluating an employee’s contribution to achieving business goals.
  • Lack of clarity about their earning potential.
  • Lack of feedback on performance – review performance on a regular basis and acknowledge good work when it is delivered. Discuss when work is not of standards and determine ways to avoid this happening again.
  • Failure to hold scheduled meetings.
  • Failure to provide a framework within which the employee understands they can succeed and achieve.

2. Ability to Speak Their Mind

The ability of the employee to speak their mind freely is another key factor in employee retention. Ensure you company solicit ideas and provides an environment in which people feel comfortable providing feedback. Employees offer great insights, feel free to comment on their ideas and offer them continuous improvement. Listen to your employees, use their ideas and never ridicule or shame them.


3. Ability to Upskill

A motivated employee will actively seek to contribute to work sectors outside of their specific job description and will look for opportunities to train and upskill. Upon understanding your employees skills, talents and experiences will allow you to figure out a more beneficial way to use all employees to their strengths. Employees continuously seek opportunities for personal challenges and growth. New technologies, selling techniques and the huge impact of the internet are all great reasons to make sure your permanent employees are encouraged to upskill.

If employees are no longer receiving these opportunities they may decide they have outgrown the company and will consider leaving. No matter how much you pay or how enjoyable their job is, if their job does not provide the stimulation or sense of achievement they will look elsewhere. As a manager, you should facilitate this process and help your employees evaluate their jobs and discover ideas for enrichment.

4. Guide Rather Than Manage

Employers should try to balance giving their employees authority, the tools and the freedom they need to do their jobs well. You should be there to empower them and stay aware when they execute their responsibilities well, or offer advice to help them grow. Ensure you are accessible and open to solving problems, whether it is a brainstorming session or an issue that needs urgent assistance. Be an accessible person and take a genuine interest in your employees. Well-trained managers will go to extra efforts to retain great employees. Focus your retention efforts to helping managers be the type of leaders that people want to work hard for.

Show your employees you have what it takes to get the job done. Share your leadership vision and tell employees how they fit in. Make them feel part of something bigger than themselves and their individual jobs. Try to banish command and control. Today’s supervisors have to demonstrate effective people skills, employee turnover is something you must hold your supervisors accountable for.


5. Establish Growth Opportunities

Before hiring, take a look at your company. Make it your priority to study the internal environment first to see if there are any existing employees who could fit and stretch into this new position. Make sure your employees are aware of internal openings and have a chance to apply for them if they are interested. Ensure you discuss your employee’s futures openly and frequently and involve them as you discuss their abilities, choices and ideas. Employees will benefit greatly from specific feedback with examples of their performance and guidance on where they can improve.

Gather feedback by enhancing your employee feedback processes. This information you will gather will help in understanding what your people need and want. As a manager, you can focus on maintaining what you do well and improve what you don’t do so well. One method is to conduct exit interviews to find out why people are leaving. An employee that is leaving is more willing to provide open and honest input that current employees. Another method is to conduct anonymous employee surveys. Keep it simple and try not to ask too many questions

6. Get Them Connected

Employees will leave if they do not feel connected with others in the organisation. Employees flourish when they have a group of colleagues who can support them, offer valuable information, help them, or simply just be there to listen to them. Managers need to pay attention to strengthening the bonds between people in their teams and others within the organisation. Employers need to link with others to get their jobs done effectively. Ask staff who else within the company could they be talking to, to help them optimise their role.

7. Recognise Their Accomplishments

One of the most important ways to retain great employees is to recognise their accomplishments. There are many ways to acknowledge your staff. A simple thank you, handwritten notes or awarding a prize such as cinema tickets or a meal. Reward your employees for completing performance goals, this is one of the most effective ways to make them feel appropriate and will ultimately make them want to stay with your company.

Provide immediate and specific acknowledgement of work well done and make it personal. Let them know why it was of value to the team and the company and also, try and recognise the achievement at a staff meeting. Show your employees you value their opinions but asking for their input on decisions, work processes and business direction. Involving your employer in company projects will make employees feel respected and valued.


If you make the effort to systematically follow these steps, you will be able to retain great employees.