How to Release the Employee Retention Tension

No matter the size of your business, having a high employee turnover rate creates tension on a business in a myriad of ways. With a study by ERE Media showing that it can cost an organization upwards of 400 percent of an employee’s salary (no, that’s not a typo) to replace them, it’s time to employ the best retention practices available.

Here are 5 tips to break the retention tension in your company:

Wait For It

“Don’t fire until you see the whites in their eyes!” is an old saying that originated from the Battle at Bunker Hill in the Revolutionary War. As the enemy attacked, William Prescott commanded his troops to wait, until the enemy was so close they couldn’t miss. Now the hiring process is not war, to be certain, but the principle can be assumed in the setting.

With a shortage of qualified candidates in the global workforce, it can be desperate times for HR professionals looking for someone to fill a spot. The Wall Street Journal suggests you “Interview and vet candidates carefully, not just to ensure they have the right skills but also that they fit well with the company culture, managers, and co-workers.”

Waiting to find the “right” candidate is worth…well, the wait, albeit a difficult thing to do at times. It’s one of the sure fire ways to increase retention for your company.

Well-Rounded Benefits Packages

Of course you need to offer your potential new hire a competitive salary with solid benefits. But here’s where HR professionals can have fun and be creative. Finding ways to offer a well-rounded benefits package can positively impact a candidate’s impression of your company, and extend their employment tenure.

Beyond a good salary, a well-rounded package might include: flex-time, opportunities for remote work (even if only a few times a month), virtual fitness programs at work, gym memberships, not tracking time away, and more. A package that benefits the employee both personally and professionally can have profound effects on both their production and retention.


66 percent of HR professionals integrate training and ongoing education into the onboarding process. While this is a positive practice, it remains that 44 percent of organizations offer little to zero training. Additionally, there remains a large contingent of training that is slow, requiring attendance either at an external location, or outside of normal working hours. Today’s top companies are using technology to create on-demand training that can be accessed from anywhere at any time.

Training not only helps your employees become more productive, it also shows them that you care for them by investing in their future. It gives them the opportunity to grow both personally and professionally.

Real Time Feedback and Coaching

I’ve talked about this before, but it’s worth mentioning again. It’s time to ditch the yearly job evaluations, and move to a real-time feedback culture that gives your employee immediate coaching and direction.

The initiation of this movement in today’s workforce is in direct response to a world that is technologically connected real-time to live events all over the globe. Studies continue to show the increasing demand of employee wanting real-time, live feedback and coaching on their job performance, instead of a once-a-year evaluation. This method is especially effective for the growing Millennial workforce.

Immediate feedback keeps conversation flowing, and prevents employees from working long periods of time under false assumptions regarding their performance. It increases collaboration, and bolsters a company’s teamwork and culture.

Culture Culture Culture

“Culture” is the big buzzword reverberating through organizations all over the world. And yet, as big as a topic as it is, its true importance cannot be overstated. If you want your employees to stay for the long haul, your culture influences every part of their decision to stay or leave.

Your company culture includes the perceived friendliness of your staff, the level of trust between management and employees, how often and HOW your company “wins”, the causes in which your company engages, the importance of employees vs. stakeholders or even customers, and more!

I would go as far to say that your culture is your brand. No matter how your customers identify you, your culture will eventually shape your brand from the inside out. As Simon Sinek says, “Customers will never love a company until the employees love it first.”

Being purposeful in building your culture is the key to having an environment that people love. Listen to your employees, value their opinion, empower them to help the company move forward, and recognize their contributions (both big and small). People will stay with a company through the hard times when the culture is great. If you can focus on building a powerful culture within your organization, you will see retention skyrocket, and you will find qualified talent knocking on your door to come work.

Take these steps to release the retention tension that is straining your company, and most likely even your job. A company that develops high retention with their employees is a happy company indeed!