No matter the size of your business, it’s important that you understand how to retain your best employees in order to ensure you’re able to operate productively. Along with implementing the best employee recruitment strategies, you must ensure that several of your company practices and processes are modernized and designed with retention in mind. This includes, but isn’t limited to, your talent acquisition strategy, company culture, growth opportunities, HR policies, and even unique employee benefits and compensation models.

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10 min read

What Does Retention Really Mean? Where and When Does My Retention Strategy Begin? Why Is Retention Important? What Are Some of The Best Retention Strategies? FAQs

Retaining employees is one of the most difficult challenges for businesses today. To stay competitive, it’s important to create a workplace culture where your employees are happy, feel valued and aligned with your vision.

In addition to ensuring adequate compensation and benefits being offered to your team, it is also important to ensure that you have a strong retention strategy in place. Mobile, remote and hybrid teams have grown more popular in recent years – so understanding how these factors impact employee engagement and retention can help businesses adapt accordingly. By understanding the unique needs of your employees and the benefits of having retention strategies employer partnerships, you can create a workplace culture that supports them and helps them feel valued. This will not only help retain top talent but also improve productivity and innovation.

BeMo's employer partnerships helps businesses retain their best employees by offering unique benefits and opportunities for career advancement and education. Employees have access to not only top career coaches and consultants, they have access to unlimited coaching from admissions consultants if they or their family members plan to enroll in higher education. Have a strong employee with a desire to go back to school and earn their MBA? We can help them get accepted. In return, you get to see your employee retention increase and save money.

What Does Retention Really Mean?

Retaining employees means more than just keeping them around or having them show up daily and do enough work. It means supporting them in reaching their full potential and making sure they feel valued as an employee so that they stay onboard for a long time.

While turnover is a given—people will naturally find other jobs, relocate, or simply have another excuse to quit—having good retention means that your employees are, overall, happy and enjoying their roles and not exiting in masses. Retention strategies should be designed to support employees from day one, as your employees aren’t likely to stick around if you simply wish them ‘good luck’ on their first day and pay them the bare minimum. If you want to retain top talent, it’s essential to make sure that your workplace has the right culture, support, and aligned goals.

By focusing on important factors like acquisition, career development, recognition and rewards, work-life balance, company culture and transparency – and keeping other top job satisfaction factors in mind, you can create a culture where people feel valued and supported…and want to stay and grow in their role!

Where and When Does My Retention Strategy Begin?

Even if you’ve already built a team, it’s important that you revisit your acquisition strategy first…because that’s key to retention, and, your retention strategy commences the moment you first interact with a potential employee!

That’s right, before they're even hired, your interaction with an applicant/candidate that could become your potential employee can really set the tone for how your workplace relationship might unfold, and this is key to ensuring you retain a person for an appropriate amount of time.

Having a thorough and concise job ad will likely leave a lasting impression on a candidate, as will an organized and professional selection process. So, acquiring and retaining the best talent go hand-in-hand. You must know what you’re looking for in a candidate who will fill a role in your company, and, allow time and space for the applicant to ask questions to determine if they think you’re right to fill the ‘role’ in their life too.

The way you interact with your employees on a daily basis will also have a huge impact on retention. It's important to treat them well and provide opportunities for growth, but that doesn't mean simply offering more money or bigger titles. A good manager will find ways to make his or her employees feel valued – and they'll be rewarded by doing so! Qualifications can absolutely go beyond what degree they hold or how many years they worked in a role previously. Consider your company culture, values, and mission, and when you determine what factors are a ‘must have’ or deal breaker for you, make sure you look for that in your applicants and ask the right questions to assess their personality, skills, and goals.

Why Is Retention Important?

  1. Save time and money
  2. Avoid employee burnout
  3. Increase company productivity

...because if you keep losing your best people, you'll never flourish.

It's also very expensive to continue to interview, hire, and re-interview and re-hire in cycles. If you really want to build a great company, then you have to take care of your people. This begins with understanding that they're not computers on an assembly line; they're human beings who need to be treated with respect and given opportunities to succeed, and they need support in order to be productive.

When your company is constantly seeing turnover, the revolving door may hurt your other employees, even if they aren’t thinking of leaving. When people are constantly exiting their roles, especially unexpectedly or within the first year of employment, a lot of money will have been wasted—as well as time—and chances are good that their responsibilities will, inevitably, get dumped on other team members to take over until a new hire is made and trained. This might not sound like a big deal, especially if other team members are offering to pick up additional tasks to help, however, it can lead to burnout, or at the very least, a decrease in productivity.

What Are Some of The Best Retention Strategies?

#1 Develop great practices and strategies for interviews, acquisition and onboarding

As we mentioned, your retention strategy begins before you’ve even hired a new employee. When they are merely candidates, it’s important that you put in the effort to establish an interview strategy that can help you determine their suitability for a role, and, allow them to ask questions. Do not get in the habit of hiring the first person to apply—even if you’re in a pinch—or hiring the person with the most impressive resume. Take your time to interview a few people and ensure that you conduct reference checks to verify that a person is who they say they are! Along with this, asking stereotypical questions such as, “where do you see yourself in 5 years?” can prove useless, or at least, not as effective as asking, “how would you like to grow in this role”, or, “what are some long-term goals you have as an X [role]?”. Applicants often feel pressured to claim that they’d be happily working in the same role, or the role above it, in 5 years, because they think that’s what an interviewer wants to hear. Realistically, your company will see healthy turnover, and for entry-level roles, this may indeed be a stepping-stone job for a future employee, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing! Let them know about growth opportunities and be receptive of their genuine response. There’s always a possibility that an entry-level employee may thrive in their role and be a great candidate for an internal job that opens up in a year, so it’s important to be supportive of their goals.

Once you hire the right person, it's crucial that, during your onboarding phase, you set employees up for success and guide them down a path that makes sense to them. You must be prepared to provide feedback and reviews in a way that doesn't feel like you're 'dumping' information or placing blame on them, and that's why it's recommended that you start off with a plan and have regular conversations to figure out what works best for everybody. This doesn't mean you'll 'hold their hand', but it does mean that you won't greet them on their first day and ignore them for days on end, expecting them to immerse themselves in their new role with complete ease. In general, people need peer and management support and direction in order to be able to put their best effort into their work and become productive team members.

#2 Invest in your people and give them what they want

It's not just about money, but emotional investment as well. It isn’t enough to just pay them a fair salary and offer bonuses that exclusively reward good performance. You have to invest in their growth, development, and well-being, regularly. This means providing opportunities for training and professional development, along with flexible work schedules so they can spend time with their families as needed. Consider searching for employee development programs in order to establish a roadmap, and find out what additional qualifications or skills an employee may be eager to learn so that you can offer development opportunities accordingly. For example, should your employee want to pursue a graduate degree or MBA, you may opt to support them with a form of tuition reimbursement, or offer access to services like BeMo Academic Consulting, so employees will have the one-on-one support they require when preparing for their applications and interviews! You should invite employees to join in meetings or conferences when possible—even if it isn’t their department—and ask for their feedback. If there are suggestions made, or even programs/software that may help your employees complete their tasks easier, consider paying for them.

Another thing you can do is ask for anonymous feedback through surveys, and be considerate of your employees needs, along with the ever-evolving working world. For example, many companies offer the option to work remotely, or hybrid models of work. Flex days and four-day work weeks are becoming the norm, too. Even if these things require a bit of restructuring, it may be worth it to see an increase in employee productivity, growth, retention…and happiness!

#3 Develop a culture of trust, along with a strong company culture

If your employees don't feel like they can speak to you or their other supervisors without fear of reprisal, they'll be less likely to share ideas, suggestions, or concerns that could improve the business.

A lot of modern employees crave autonomy and detest old-fashioned workplaces that micro-manage and expect them to be seated at their desk, alone, from 9-5. Studies have shown in recent years that employees are most productive and happy in their roles—which leads to better retention in the long-run—when they feel they are working for a company with a healthy workplace culture, and when they feel that the company culture, value and mission aligns with their own preferences and beliefs. It’s important to communicate with your employees and have an open-door policy, and, most importantly, treat them like human beings. Your employees shouldn’t feel like they have to develop an entirely ingenuine workplace persona, and that’s why establishing a workplace culture that emphasizes trust, can prove beneficial in retaining your employees.

#4 Offer competitive benefits and compensation

While support, communication, growth and culture are all important, compensation is, of course, a deal breaker when it comes to retention as well. Simply put: you cannot pay below market rate and expect people to stay on-board! Pay your employees at least an average salary, and include the best employee benefits that you can offer.

This doesn't mean just offering health insurance (although that's important), but also considering the cost of living in your area and making sure you offer a 401k plan with an employer contribution as well as other incentives like paid time off, disability insurance, and life insurance, wellness spending and even family-friendly employee benefits that can help their dependants, too.

Compensation packages and benefits must be appealing and suitable to keep employees, and their families, comfortable. Along with this, establishing employee rewards systems, whether monetary or other forms of rewards and bonuses. Along with this, don’t just reward your few top performers. You should encourage and demonstrate recognition for small wins, even if it’s a fun, small prize or just a verbal congratulation that makes an employee feel recognized and important.

#5 Be transparent and communicate constantly

Communication is key, as is being clear, concise and transparent about what you want. Whether you’re implementing policies and procedures, or, are unhappy with an employee’s performance, they won’t know if you don’t tell them.

Conducting regular performance reviews and evaluations, as well as an overall culture that fosters understanding, communication and an open-door policy is a great way to ensure everybody is kept up-to-speed, and that errors aren’t being made continuously for months before they’re adequately addressed.

#6 Modernize your HR department and company outlook

The last thing you want is an outdated HR department that's not up to date with current legislation, or worse yet, one that uses outdated practices like paying employees in cash and not having any benefits in place at all, or requires a discriminatory dress code.

The workplace evolves rapidly, trends change, and employee demands (such as remote, flex and hybrid work policies) are being met more often. It’s important that you’re keeping your internal operations up-to-date, as this directly impacts employee retention, as well as your overall company culture.

 Along with policies, procedures and perspectives being modernized, you should utilize new tools and be open to upgrading systems and technology as new tools become available to you. For example, using technology to streamline your payroll process, or to allow for a virtual ‘hub’ for staff to communicate and submit work. This can not only help with remote work, and with organization, but also, in general allows for a communicative company culture, as well as a seamless and modern workplace experience.

#7 Listen to your employees and pay attention

Pay attention to industry trends, issues, and most importantly, what your employees are saying and doing. If you conduct a survey, or receive feedback, do something about it! If employee demands aren’t met, if your company doesn’t have a defined company culture, if expectations and duties make them feel overworked and underpaid, and if your company may be stuck in the past, you’re going to lose your best employees, fast.

Actions speak louder than words. You must assess your current turnover rate, set goals (keeping these things in mind) and act in order to retain your best employees. A pat on the back or a company t-shirt isn’t enough to keep somebody in their role for 5+ years. Constant communication, reviews, growth and development opportunities, and technology or systems of operations upgrades are a great way to appeal to your current and future employees and keep them interested, as is offering attractive compensation and benefits.


1. Why is retention important?

Retention is important because your company may suffer, or, may not flourish and scale to your expectations if you’re constantly seeing a revolving door of employees exiting their roles after only a few months—or a year—of employment. In order to boost company morale, foster a healthy workplace culture, and increase productivity and profits, you must retain employees.

2. I only have a few people quit each year, why should I revisit my retention strategy?

You should make a habit of regularly revisiting your strategies and policies, even if just to revise and tweak things ever-so-slightly! You must also not confuse retention for happiness, and you want to make sure you’re doing everything you can to ensure your employees who are staying are happy and productive in their roles. Having a few people exit their roles each year can be healthy; however, it depends on your company size. For example, if you’re a company of 10 and 4 people left, that’s 40% turnover, which is a bit high. But, if you’re a company of 40 employees and lost 4, then it’s fair to assume you’re retaining your talent well.

3. Is it possible to retain every employee I hire?

No, and it’s unrealistic to strive for a 0% turnover rate! People naturally leave their jobs over time, whether to pursue something new, or, for personal reasons. And, there are occurrences where an employee may start a job and realize it isn’t meant for them, or, they may receive another, more appealing, job offer.

Retention isn’t about keeping every employee you hire on-board indefinitely, but rather, making sure you consider a bunch of important factors when you create a supportive and healthy workplace environment that pays employees well and offers growth and leadership opportunities over time so that they aren’t constantly searching for another job!

3. Is it possible to retain every employee I hire?

No, and it’s unrealistic to strive for a 0% turnover rate! People naturally leave their jobs over time, whether to pursue something new, or, for personal reasons. And, there are occurrences where an employee may start a job and realize it isn’t meant for them, or, they may receive another, more appealing, job offer.

Retention isn’t about keeping every employee you hire on-board indefinitely, but rather, making sure you consider a bunch of important factors when you create a supportive and healthy workplace environment that pays employees well and offers growth and leadership opportunities over time so that they aren’t constantly searching for another job!

4. What factors should I focus on when considering my retention strategy?

There are a lot of factors to consider when reviewing your retention strategy, however, focusing on important factors like acquisition (interviewing and onboarding), career development and growth opportunities, recognition, support and rewards, work-life balance, compensation and benefits, company culture and transparency is a great way to ensure you have a well-rounded retention strategy that covers all bases.

5. I run a start-up and I can’t pay above market rate, what can I do to retain people?

If you’re a start-up or small business and cannot offer a competitive salary, be up front with you employees. You should strive to pay market rate, but if you do have to pay a bit less, consider what else you can do—such as options for stocks and equity, or, employee benefits and performance bonuses—as well as flexible work hours, to appeal to employees and retain them.

6. What are some of the ways I can retain my best employees?

In order to retain your best employees, you should:

  • Pay attention to your interview and onboarding process so you’re hiring the best people who are right for the role in the first place!
  • Encourage ongoing support in all departments; regular reviews and performance discussions, team meetings, and feedback
  • Promote an inclusive, modern, trusting and welcoming company culture, and hire people that align with it
  • Allow for a good work-life balance by offering remote or hybrid workplace options, and/or flex days, additional vacation time, etc.
  • Pay at-or-above market rate and offer unique employee benefits and rewards
  • Encourage growth and offer career development opportunities
  • When you identify things that need to change, or receive feedback, act accordingly
  • Modernize your HR policies and company practices. This may include modernizing your systems and technology, or your approach to things like remote work and dress codes…give your employees what they want!
7. Benefits are always great to offer, what are some unique ones I should offer?

There are many top employee retention strategies, providing great benefits is one of them! There are several unique employee benefits that can help improve retention and benefit your employees and their families. Offering wellness and/or family-oriented benefits, such as yoga, or reimbursement for things like daycare, summer camps, and gym memberships are unique and worthwhile to many employees. Additionally, offering access to academic consulting services, like BeMo Academic Consulting, is a great way to help employees with college-aged children ensure their young adults have access to preparatory services that can prepare them for any post-secondary academic path they should choose.

8. I offer great compensation but people are still quitting, what should I do?

Look at what you’re doing as a whole, beginning with who you’re hiring. Acquiring the right people can be tricky, and, unfortunately, some people will inevitably leave. However, hiring people who better suit your vacant roles can be beneficial. Focus on qualities and goals, as well as other experiences and unique skills they have, more than credentials. Pay attention to their career goals and where they’ve been working previously, and conduct reference checks. Ensuring your new hires align with your company culture and are excited about working for you is a good place to start.

To your success,

Your friends at BeMo

BeMo Academic Consulting

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