9 Effective Employee Retention Strategies You Haven’t Tried

9 Effective Employee Retention Strategies You Haven’t Tried was originally published on Ivy Exec.

employee retention strategies

Company leaders who’d hoped for an early-2022 end to the Great Resignation will need to hang on a little longer, it seems. One recent survey showed that nearly a quarter of workers plan to leave their jobs this year, with economists projecting that today’s turnover trends are likely to continue for the foreseeable future. 

To mitigate the impact of this turnover, updating your hiring process is one available strategy. The best way to deal with employee turnover, though, is to prevent it from happening in the first place. Investing in employee retention strategies that work is, and should be, top of mind for company leaders in this moment. But which strategies are worth prioritizing? 

In general, the same handful of retention strategies tend to get recycled at many companies. Among these, we’re all familiar with buzzy areas of focus like professional development opportunities, paid family leave and flexible work hours. The problem is that these should, really, be standard at any organization, and increasingly they’re becoming so. If you’re to amp up your retention efforts in a big way, adding in some less-expected bells and whistles — like the following nine employee retention strategies — can help.

1. Write better job descriptions.

About 20% of employee turnover happens within the first 45 days of employment, usually due to a misalignment in expectations. This means that clear, accurate job descriptions can help with more than just the application process; they’ll help ensure that you bring in and keep the right talent, too.

2. Amp up your onboarding strategy.

Workers who feel truly supported by their company are less likely to look for opportunities elsewhere. And that support is something that should be felt from day one, Aaron Masterson, an HR Manager, said.

“The onboarding and training process is where your organization’s onboarding strategy begins, but it’s also where high turnover rates are likely to begin,” Masterson said. “Onboarding strategies can make a big impact on an employee’s first year. By providing support, information, and tools to help new hires feel empowered and part of the team, the onboarding process helps with employees’ commitment to the company.”

3. Create a mentorship program. 

Peer-to-peer mentoring, as well as more traditional top-down mentoring, can work wonders in helping workers to feel connected and supported. Employees who have a senior-level mentor at your organization, after all, are set up to better visualize their own future at the company. Given that a perceived lack of future career opportunities is the No. 1 driver of turnover, according to Gallup, that makes mentorship a helpful retention tactic. 

4. Institute unplugged hours.

Work email is, for many busy executives, a significant source of stress. It’s hard to walk away from the work day if emails are still stacking up in your inbox after 6 p.m. Consider taking a cue from the French and implement “unplugged” hours, during which work emails and Slack messages aren’t sent. This gives employees a better chance to fully rest and unwind, reducing their risk of burnout. 

5. Improve your employee wellness package.

Especially since the dawn of this COVID era, it’s virtually impossible to skimp on employee wellness benefits and stay competitive in the fight for talent. Whether in the form of fully paid-for therapy sessions, a gym membership, free (and healthy) lunches at the office, or a monthly stipend for employees to spend at their discretion, it’s time to find a way to enhance your wellness offerings. 

6. Reward efforts — and not just results.

Historically, we tend to reward employees only for work that can be proven out numerically — a certain amount of sales generated, for instance, or clicks to the company website earned. Neat numbers like this, however, often don’t capture the full picture. Your hardest working salesperson, for instance, isn’t always going to have the top numbers in a given quarter. To keep employees from feeling overlooked or discouraged, find ways to measure their efforts separate from the results — then, reward them for that effort, with bonuses, stock options and more.

7. Participate in CSR programs.

For millennial and Gen-Z workers especially, a commitment to social responsibility is something they look for, or even require, in employers. Offer to match employees’ donations to a charity of their choosing, identify a charitable project that colleagues can collaborate on, or give workers paid time off to volunteer multiple times a year.

8. Build sabbaticals into your PTO policy.

And don’t make them impossible to access either. Many organizations will offer sabbaticals of six weeks or longer once an employee has been with the company for five to seven years. By lowering your threshold for eligibility, you’ll make sabbaticals a realistic possibility for more people — and that’s something a lot of employees would happily stick around for.

9. Implement a four-day work week.

Four-day work weeks are gaining steam the world over (link to “what leaders can learn from four-day work week” article when live), and for good reason. At companies that have already adopted them, 78% of leaders say their team is happier and a similar 70% say they’re less stressed. Though there’s been an uptick in these policies, there’s still time to be ahead of the curve. Implement one now and watch your turnover rate drop.

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By Ivy Exec
Ivy Exec is your dedicated career development resource.