Employee Engagement, Featured

The 4 Cornerstones of Employee Retention

A company’s profitability is directly linked to the retention of key performers. Leadership relies upon consistent team member performance to better serve customers, create and sell products, deliver services, write code, build relationships and complete many other initiatives that keep operations chugging along and profitable.

It is, therefore, inevitable that performance consistency will be disrupted when an employee leaves. For example, productivity flow slows, falters or even grinds to a temporary halt; customer care declines; and ultimately, revenues and profits are impacted. In order to avoid such disruptions and potential financial losses, companies would be well served to construct cornerstones that fortify employee loyalty, and thus retention.

Four such employee retention cornerstones follow:

1. Leadership That Listens.

Employees are hired to do a job, which includes not only listening to leadership directives, but also executing upon those mandates.
Likewise, employees value being listened to, from time to time. Whether it is as simple as voicing a need for a new Espresso machine in their break room, or something more complex such as sharing an innovative idea for product development or customer care, employees notice who listens and responds to their requests and thoughts.

If the manager regularly mutes an employee’s voice, then loyalty to serving this manager’s needs may wane.

However, an employee who feels heard will sense that they matter. And on those occasions where their ideas are acted upon, their loyalty multiplies, cementing their connection with the organisation. As a result, they are less likely to resign or be attracted to external opportunities that come knocking.

2. Culture That Rewards Performance.

Most high-performers desire more than just a weekly paycheck. Whether in the form of a raise, additional days off, bonus check, access to a company vehicle, a promotion, etc., key talent is motivated by incentives.

As well, leadership should consider that words of commendation and personalised thank-you notes for a job well done can be included in the performance rewards system, as some employees place a premium on words.

Assessing the different personality traits and then customising rewards based on individual preferences will go a long way in fortifying employee retention.

3. Culture That Is Flexible.

Being nimble is a must-have trait employees are expected to exhibit in today’s hyper-competitive, global business environment, where change is constant and employers expect team members to swiftly adapt to those changes.

Likewise, employees value flexibility from their employers. This can be exhibited a number of ways, including flexible work hours; opportunities to telecommute, even if just part of the time; and flexible benefits – perhaps one employee values gym membership, while another values a season pass to the theatre – customisable perks exude flexibility.

Additionally, flexible cultures may include a pet-friendly office; or, one with a fluid dress-code (e.g., formal on certain days but casual on Fridays). Whatever the case, offering elasticity in one or several areas of your organisation communicates a positive message to your staff.

4. Transparent Communications.

A company that continually hides behind the cloak of secrecy will do well to re-examine how that is working for them. While not every behind-closed-door meeting should be available for consumption by the entire company staff, it is imperative that employees feel a general sense of transparency from the top of the company through to the front line.

If employees deem that leadership’s actions are covert and/or they are withholding important information, then the employees become consternated about their future. Over time, uncertainty mounts, creating tension and distrust, which leads to job search, and ultimately, defection to another company.

Leadership that has a policy of communicating reliably throughout the organisation, interacting with the front line through regular in-person visits as well as other high-touch conversations, are more likely to cement the trust of their employees and increase retention.

With the average UK employer investing over £3,000 to hire a new worker with a 27.5 day interview process (1), it makes sense to prioritise efforts in employee retention. While dozens of methods are available for employers to bolster employee retention and thus insure a more sustainable bottom line, these four pillars are foundational.

Download Glassdoor’s Talent Analytics for Dummies to get real-world data and insights that can help your organisation start your retention efforts early – even before hiring that next employee – by competing for and hiring informed candidates.



1. How Long Does it Take to Hire? Interview Duration in 25 Countries; Dr Andrew Chamberlain, August 9, 2017

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