Employee Management

Five employee retention ideas

Creating the right culture and benefits can be the key to retaining talent.

Published: December 08, 2014
Updated: January 30, 2017

Regardless of the circumstances around an employee leaving, turnover is costly for business owners.

They typically lose about 20% of that person's salary, according to the Center for American Progress. It is costly to replace a departing worker because of the expense of hiring and training a replacement. And it takes time for new employees to get up to speed, which reduces productivity. Getting people to stay isn't always about the money, though. Here are five ways to boost employee retention.

1. Offer good benefits to retain employees

To offer a benefits package that meets the needs of all your employees, create detailed personas about the types of people in your office. Include information about their ages, lifestyles, and priorities.

Once you figure out what your employees want at a broad level, it's easier to create several benefits packages. For example, craft one package for an employee who's married with kids and living in the suburbs and another for a single, city-dwelling millennial.

Then ask for feedback. Anonymous surveys can help you understand what your benefits program might lack.  

2. Retain employees with perks

Shortstack, which is based in Nevada, has been successful in retaining its staff. No employees have left the company since it was founded in 2010. In addition to creating a strong company culture, CEO and founder Jim Belosic credits the perks at Shortstack, which helps businesses run online campaigns, for its 100% employee retention.

The perks include an open Friday lunch tab, company outings, and flexible time off. If the conditions are good for skiing, employees can call in and "have a powder day." "Someone can always swoop in and offer more money," Belosic says. So the motivation has to be more than money, and it has to be specific.

It's worked. In April 2014, ShortStack was named the best place to work in the greater Reno/Tahoe area for the small business category by the Northern Nevada Human Resources Association.

3. Spark employee growth

Invest in employees' growth by paying for continuing education classes or materials. Additionally, create career paths for employees within your company.

A free way to foster growth within your company is through mentorship programs, which can improve job satisfaction, engagement, and loyalty.

4. Focus on employee wellness

Wellness programs have become increasingly popular. And it's not about costly measures like an in-office gym or hiring a weekly masseuse. Simple efforts go a long way, such as providing healthier items in vending machines, stand-up desks, or gym memberships.

5. Understand the metrics behind employee retention

Increase employee retention by tracking who leaves, when, and why. Calculate turnover by dividing the number of employees who have left by the total number of employees. While it can depend on the industry, average rates are around 15%.  

Retention is often the goal, but remember that sometimes an employee isn't a great fit. It's OK to let someone who's disruptive or unhappy go. After all, the greater goal is to build a healthy and successful company.