The “War for Talent” is not cooling down and employers nationwide are going to extraordinary measures to keep good people from jumping ship. Perks like being able to bring your pet to work, concierge services, and at-work massage therapy are just a few of the wilder enticements being offered. But let’s get real…

You really don’t have to go to these lengths. You just have to do a good job on the fundamentals. Take a look at the following ideas and add a few to your employee retention strategy. (You do have a retention strategy, don’t you?)

Accountability – Make managers and supervisors accountable for employee turnover and watch retention improve. 

Benefits – Try to stay at least even with the competition – especially on medical and retirement. If you really want to get ahead of the pack, look into stock options, profit sharing, or a bonus program based on the achievement of goals.

Communications – It’s a two way street. Too often management only sends messages to employees. Good people will stay longer when there are simple and systematic ways for employees to talk to management as well.

Dignity – Treat everyone with consideration, kindness, and respect. These are the hallmarks of all great business leaders and great leaders inspire great loyalty.

Employee Selection – The best way to improve employee retention is to hire right in the first place. Use an employee selection system that matches people to the corporate culture, the manager, and the job. Test for the attitudes it takes to be successful on the job (dependability, honesty, initiative, etc.). Don’t hire anyone that doesn’t meet your standards.

Fun – Sure, business is serious, but there’s no reason it can’t be fun too. Once people start thinking yours is a fun place to work, almost nothing will be able to tempt your people to leave. The bonus is, once word gets out, you’ll have applicants lined up around the block.

Growth – Some people are happiest with the exact same job year after year, but some aren’t. Make sure your high achievers have something to shoot for.

Hire Tough – The best people want to work for organizations that take hiring seriously. They’re ready to give heart and soul to the right employer and quickly rule out companies that are just looking for another warm body.

Interview – Ask about the person’s major achievements as well as their favorite and least favorite jobs, duties, and responsibilities. Were they anything like the position you’re trying to fill?

Job – Continuously cross-train employees. Not only does this make work more interesting, but employees gain an appreciation for their co-workers’ responsibilities and get a better sense of the organization’s big picture.

Knowledge – Share it freely. No one likes operating in the dark. If you’re not keeping your people in the know, they’re spending your time and money speculating about what’s going on and why. (That’s just one good reason to make the time to keep them informed. Another is because it will improve productivity, quality, and, ultimately, profits.)

Lighten Up – Like the Dali Lama says: “If there’s a solution, there’s nothing to worry about. If there’s not a solution, there’s nothing to worry about.” You set the tone for the corporate culture. Would you want to work for you?

Manage – Manage people the way they want to be managed, not the way that’s easiest for you. Some people want lots of support and encouragement and some want free reign. Adapt your style to theirs. They’ll be happy and you’ll get improved productivity.

Never – Never take anyone for granted. Most people don’t stick around long where they’re not appreciated. And you can be certain the people who stay on board anyway resent being treated so shabbily. As a result, these folks only do the minimum required to hang onto the job. This does not bode well for your business.

Orientation – First impressions are lasting. No employee is ever more enthusiastic or motivated than during the first few days in a new job. Don’t waste this time on boring employment forms or training classes. Use this time to make new hires feel welcome and valued. Help them understand where they fit in the big picture and what’s in it for them besides a paycheck. A first-rate orientation is the best way to keep employees hanging in there over the inevitable rough spots that crop up over time on every job.

Praise – Loudly and often. Catch them doing something right and talk about it. Then watch everyone else try to live up to the standard set by the person being praised.

Quality – Never settle for any less than their best – the really good ones will appreciate it and the turkeys will look for a less demanding work environment. 

Referrals – New employees referred by existing employees stay on the job three-to-five times longer than employees from any other source. Start an Employee Referral Bonus Program today.

Set Expectations – People will live up to them, so set them early and set them high. People feel valued when you expect a lot from them.

Training – Employees don’t quit companies, they quit managers. Give your managers a fighting chance by training and retraining them in recruiting, selection, management, team building and motivation skills.

Understanding – Everyone’s clamoring for more work/life balance. Be understanding of the need to accommodate family or personal matters. It goes a long way toward building loyalty.

Values – Make sure it’s Employees 1st, Customers 2nd. Your people should always be your most #1 priority – then they’ll take care of your customers.

Watch What Happens – Whatever we pay positive attention to improves. Pay attention to retention.

X-out the Unsuitable – The No. 1 reason you lose good folks is because they get fed up with working for or with less than satisfactory people. Use a rigorous employee selection system to screen out those who are not a good fit.

Yield – To the wisdom of your employees. Ask questions and listen to their answers – they know your customers best. Never stop improving things.

Zero-In On – Every way possible to improve employee retention. There is a direct correlation between employee retention, customer loyalty, company profits, and returns to shareholders. Need any more incentive?

Five Star Employer 2022