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How to Build a Powerful Employee Retention Strategy

When you’re vying to be the best in your industry, turnover is likely top of mind. And amid what HR pros are calling the “great resignation” fueling a tight job market, successfully attracting and securing top talent for your enterprise is more important than ever.

But what does effective employee retention look like?

According to The Great Game of Business, a professional coaching organization, a retention rate of 90% or higher is ideal for most businesses. This might seem high, but not without reason. A workplace study from Gallup reveals the cost of replacing an employee — including recruitment, onboarding and development — is as much as 200% of the original worker’s salary!

Overcoming turnover might be challenging, but the reward for doing so is exponential. By understanding why your employees leave (and stay), as well as the initiatives that truly speak to them through the opportunities they need, you give yourself the foundation for a retention strategy that’s versatile, sustainable and powerful.

Understanding turnover

Reducing turnover will require you to dig to the root of why your employees leave. The exact reasons you unearth will likely be specific to your business, but broadly, turnover is broken into two categories:

  • Voluntary – when employees quit on their own accord, such as for better accommodations or new opportunities
  • Involuntary – when employees leave against their will, either through termination, an overarching business decision or otherwise

When you address voluntary turnover, don’t make assumptions about what could push an employee away. Instead, just ask! Conducting exit interviews and speaking with your leadership about their perspective yields the insight you need to adjust and adapt.

Likewise, stay interviews — or conversations with employees about why they stay with your organization — will help you determine what pieces of your current retention strategy work best. There could be any number of reasons your best employees are committed to your operations, and knowing what they are will help you build them out further and identify any possible blind spots in your engagement efforts.

Building your strategy

Once you understand how turnover affects your business, you’ll be able to start exploring avenues to limit it. While there’s no harm in taking a comprehensive approach to retention — and our guide will show you how — there will likely be certain areas that require more focus than others.  Consider these three common pain points when bolstering your retention efforts:


It’s never too early to focus on retention. After all, you only get one first impression, and an effective onboarding experience can instill the confidence a new hire needs to be inspired for the long haul. And lackluster onboarding is an almost universal weakness, as the Society for Human Resource Management found that only 12% of employees felt their company does this process well.

Consider deploying a tool that delivers an onboarding experience with the convenience and self-service functionality emerging talent expects. Additionally, speak with your recruitment team about the strength of your process; they could have crucial input that will help you further enhance your onboarding structure.


It’s tough — maybe even impossible — to engage employees if you’re not speaking to them. An article from Pumble, a professional group chat platform, reveals that employees who feel they have good communication with their co-workers are more than four times more likely to stay with their organization.

It’s not just the amount of communication that inspires employees to stay, mind you, but the quality. Exercising transparent and thoughtful policies around your business’s discourse helps build a culture of trust and, by extension, commitment.

Professional development

Your best employees are looking for more than just a job — they need a platform for their career. The need for a renewed focus on upskilling, learning and training will grow increasingly important in the near future. In fact, World Economic Forum projects that professional development efforts could create an additional 5.3 million jobs globally over the next decade.

However, recent research from Deloitte suggests only 17% of business leaders believe their organizations were “very ready” to address this need. Providing opportunities for employees to better themselves — such as by implementing an intuitive learning management system they can use anytime, anywhere — will help you stay at the forefront of the development push. This not only helps strengthen your retention, but also improves the overall quality of your workforce and operations.

Best practices

The best strategy for your business will take some time and experimentation to pin down. However, boosting your retention is possible with the right approach and understanding what drives your employees.

Consider the following practices for testing and fine-tuning your retention efforts:

  • Establish realistic goals and benchmarks to measure your workforce. Clear direction is key to keeping employees long-term, but it should be tempered by targets that are actually achievable.
  • Use surveys to help you understand what your employees need and expect. Implementing a tool that allows you to easily, routinely and securely build surveys and collect this important data will help you build a routine out of this practice.
  • Speak with leaders and staff candidly about which areas of your business are ripe for improvement. After all, you may be overlooking an area that could be used to improve retention.
  • Regularly evaluate, adapt and enhance your strategy to account for emerging challenges, new generations of workers and rising talent trends.

Learn more about how to improve your organization’s retention with our on-demand webinar. And read our guide for even more practices to combat turnover.


 DISCLAIMER: The information provided herein does not constitute the provision of legal advice, tax advice, accounting services or professional consulting of any kind. The information provided herein should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional legal, tax, accounting or other professional advisers. Before making any decision or taking any action, you should consult a professional adviser who has been provided with all pertinent facts relevant to your particular situation and for your particular state(s) of operation.