Improve Employee Retention Rates with These 7 Tips

by Miranda Nicholson, director of HR, Formstack

Employee retention is not only valuable to company culture, but essential to the bottom line: turnover can cost a business as much as 150% of a position’s annual salary. The Human Resources team is essential to maintaining employee satisfaction and engagement, and their work is never finished. With that in mind, here are seven retention strategies to make sure your employees continue to grow with your organization.


1. Establish Expectations Early

If you want employees to stay with your company for the long haul, you have to make sure people have accurate expectations of your organization before they even apply for a job. Offer full transparency into your company values, benefits, and opportunities. Pay attention to corporate communications that highlight your work environment, culture, and workforce.

This applies to job postings, social media pages, your website, and every other public-facing outlet. Make sure your culture shines through these platforms; paint an accurate picture of what it’s like to work for your organization. Include detailed role requirements and company information (such as an “About Us” video) on your applications so interested parties can confidently determine if they are a good fit for the job and company.

2. Roll Out the Welcome Wagon

You only get one chance to welcome new employees, so make them feel like a part of the team right away. Up to 20% of new employee turnover occurs within the first 45 days, which means it’s essential to start new employees off on the right foot.

Miranda also recently spoke about how to engage remote workers and create a great digital culture as a guest on BLR’s HR Works podcast. Click here to listen.

In addition to having dedicated onboarding specialists on staff, it’s also beneficial to create a “buddy system” by pairing seasoned employees with new hires in order to provide a personal connection along with extra guidance and institutional knowledge.

3. Invest in Training

It typically takes 8 months for a new employee to reach full productivity. However, organizations with a standard onboarding process experience 50% greater new hire productivity, and effective onboarding programs can improve employee performance by 11.5%.

It’s an investment to develop new employee training programs, but the impact is worth it: you are preparing employees to handle their job responsibilities and be productive team members for, hopefully, many years.

4. Provide a Positive Environment

Considering how much time a typical employee spends on work-related activities in a given week, it’s no surprise that people want their jobs to be enjoyable and engaging. Company culture can have an enormous impact on employee retention.

You can create a positive environment within your workforce by offering flexible scheduling or work arrangements, open communication regardless of title, company-paid lunches, and team-building activities or outings. Doing what you can to make your employees’ lives easier goes a long way toward ensuring they stick around.

5. Automate Tedious Tasks

Another great strategy for retaining employees is to cut down on the amount of time they spend on menial tasks. Automated workflows lead to increased efficiency, which leads to increased employee satisfaction.

Using online forms to streamline onboarding paperwork, project approvals, paid time off requests, and other repetitive or tedious tasks can reduce employee stress and open up time for employees to focus on more productive tasks they actually enjoy. This sort of automation can also empower employees to work with less managerial oversight.

6. Offer Rewards and Incentives

If you don’t want your employees to check out early, offer them reasons to stay. This may sound obvious, but it’s important not to overlook the basic human need to feel valued.

A simple way to reward your employees and show you care is to offer rewards and incentives, such as strong healthcare or retirement savings benefits plans. Additionally, you can motivate your employees by giving regular promotions or pay raises based on performance. Nearly 35% of employees say they will begin looking for a new job if they don’t receive a pay raise within 12 months, so these types of rewards can be an important part of your employee retention plan.

7. Give Room for Growth

Dedicated employees want to know that any long-term tenure with an employer will include opportunities for growth or advancement, and good employers know that their employee retention strategies should include leadership development and continued education.

As an HR department, you can encourage growth by implementing programs for tuition reimbursement or training as well as creating leadership roles for existing employees to fill. Likewise, your company can provide opportunities for employees to attend conferences or complete professional development courses and certifications. Offering steps for continued growth prevents employees from feeling as though their development has been stymied and instead keeps them engaged and striving.


Most Human Resources teams have their work cut out for them when it comes to employee retention, as 50% to 60% of employees regularly search for a new job. That means it’s a high priority to develop new strategies for keeping employees around long-term. These seven tips are proven tactics for reducing employee turnover. Put them in action at your organization and start building a satisfied, seasoned workforce.

Miranda NicholsonMiranda Nicholson is the director of HR at Formstack, overseeing the acquisition, onboarding, and retention of current and to-be Formstackers.