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What are the Best Employee Retention Ideas?

Malcolm Tatum
Updated May 17, 2024
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A stable employee force is one of the greatest assets that any company can possess. By retaining employees over the long term, the business makes it easier for customers to establish rapport and trust with people working within the firm, even as those employees create a cohesive and supportive work environment. While there are many different retention ideas that work well, most of them center around three basic concepts: communication, validation, and appreciation.

The importance of communication one of the key retention ideas cannot be overstated. Many companies do a good job of communicating information to employees, using methods such as an up-to-date employee handbook, company newsletters, and even a bulletin board in the break room. For businesses that truly want to retain employees, that communication must move past the top-down approach and provide mechanisms for employees to communicate with supervisors, managers, and with one another in ways that encourage a spirit of openness and working together. Retention ideas like this two-way communication help to ensure no one feels like an outsider, and everyone feels free to participate in the discussions.

Another of the most important retention ideas has to do with validation. Here, the focus is on affirming or validating the contributions made by each employee to the success of the company. Everyone likes to feel that what they do makes a difference, and taking the time to identify specific ways that employee actions strengthen the company will provide that level of affirmation. Many employers overlook the small things that employees do, but savvy businesses know that acknowledging that the employee who recycles used copy paper into scrap paper for notes and similar uses is saving money and will make it a point to acknowledge that contribution.

Along with validation, appreciation is also one of the most important retention ideas. Some people confuse the two, assuming that validating a contribution is the same as expressing appreciation. While that may be implied, it is important to go one step further and express that appreciation after acknowledging the good work an employee is doing. As with most retention ideas, the purpose behind expressing appreciation is to reinforce the understanding that the employee is wanted and valued, and encourage him or her to remain part of the team over the long-term. Something as simple as a handshake, a smile, and verbally thanking the employee will go a long way toward boosting morale and strengthening ties between employer and employee.

When and as possible, tangible performance rewards can also motivate employees to remain with the company over the long-term. Retention ideas of this type may include an annual bonus, pay increases when the financial condition of the company merits the activity, or even something relatively inexpensive like providing the employee and the guest of his or her choice with an evening at a nice restaurant. When coupled with the positive feedback in the workplace and the ability to discuss anything with managers and supervisors, these tangible rewards can go a long way toward motivating the employee to remain with the business and continue contributing to the success of the company.

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Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum , Writer
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including WiseGeek, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.

Discussion Comments

By Wisedly33 — On Feb 17, 2014

Treat employees like human beings who have families, feelings and lives outside the company. That would be my number one suggestion. Companies that retain employees for the long term, that have satisfied workers in the ranks, "get" this.

For instance, Google has a very good employee retention rate because of the many benefits they offer their employees. They have a great cafeteria, which means their workers don't spend as much money on food. They have a gym where people can work out, as well as on site medical professionals. This means workers don't have to spend hours in a doctor's office, waiting for routine checkups. It's an employee-as-human focused climate, rather than employees-as-commodities.

It simply all boils down to companies appreciating and recognizing their employees as valuable humans, rather than mindless, replaceable drones.

Malcolm Tatum

Malcolm Tatum


Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
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