Retention: How to Keep the Right People on Your Team

What feels better than being in sync with your team? People work, morale stays high, and at the end of the day, everybody goes home satisfied. Employee retention has a major effect on productivity and quality of work, and high turnover isn’t exactly cheap! The cash flow isn’t the end all be all of a high-functioning workplace, though. The right team makes magic happen. We’re talking about a “Leslie Knope with a new set of color-coded binders and a full night of sleep” kind of magic. You want that vibe for your team! It’s time to get it and keep it with the right retention strategies.

A happy team is a productive team. Make everyone at the table feel valued and the results will speak for themselves just like this image.

Don’t Stress. Impress.

Job hopping and starting over puts stress on employees and companies alike. Make your team feel valued, and they’ll pay you back in spades. How do you do it? Here’s a hint: it’s not pizza parties and free doughnuts in the breakroom. People want stability. It’s the caveman in all of us looking for a bush that has berries every day.

Everyone doesn’t define “stability” the same way, but companies can offer their employees things that reinforce stability over stress. Employees who dread coming to work every morning find a way and a reason not to be there. These strategies will improve work quality and keep your team together. Your talent will thank you and your retention rates will, too.

Competitive Wages

Work to live, don’t live to work. Workers embrace this philosophy at increasing rates. Employees won’t remain in positions where they are under-compensated for the work that they do. Offering a competitive wage is the single best way to increase retention rates. Calculating what that means takes a little digging. Determine the cost of living for your area to calculate what an actual living wage looks like. That’s the minimum amount your team needs to hit the basics of life.

Competitive wages don’t just cover the basics. Compensation packages shouldn’t leave anyone struggling to make ends meet, pay rent, or put food on the table. Be better than that, and your team will be, too. Increase wages in line with responsibilities and requirements. Anyone in a position requiring special skills or an advanced degree won’t stick around if their pay rivals the 17-year-old bag boy’s down the street. Increase wages following promotions and new responsibilities.

Look at what the person next to you is doing. Metaphorically, of course. Don’t make it creepy. Figure out what your competition is offering. Imagine that you have a talented game designer on your team. Now the competition is looking to hire a game designer with their exact qualifications. Their compensation package is more generous than yours. Excellent Game Dev #1 probably won’t stick around. Compensation matters for several reasons, and there’s just no way around that. Offer pay that rivals or exceeds your competition, and your team will feel adequately compensated. It reflects in their quality of work.


The job market is changing. We all know that, right? Remote job opportunities are popping up quicker than Dollar Generals or those colorful bagels back in 2015. It’s not possible to offer remote work in every profession, but flexible schedules are a huge priority for workers. Employees feel that flexible schedules allow them to better balance their work and personal lives. A job that empowers its workers is also a job that retains its workers.

Flexibility can mean allowing your team to work remotely, create a hybrid schedule, or work outside of standard business hours. Tailor the approach to your company and your team. Your employees will have the power to work in the way that suits their lives and individual needs. It’s pretty easy to see why this strategy is effective. The pandemic blew Pandora’s Box wide open, and nobody will get the lid back on. Flexible work is here to stay. It’s crucial to embrace that fact to keep the best people on your team.

Reduced Work Days

Five-day work weeks are the current standard, but times are changing. Companies like Microsoft and Canon are pioneering the concept of a four-day, flexible workweek. Science is on their side. Multiple countries are conducting studies to test the impact of four-day workweeks on productivity. Evidence from those studies and experiences like Microsoft’s show that productivity sharply increases. Worker satisfaction goes with it, which should make it a consideration in retention strategies.

Listen to Your Employees

The people on your team want their voices to matter. This isn’t about water cooler chat. People feel seen when their opinions are respected and their ideas are implemented. Employees know what it’s like to work for a company better than anyone else. They are in the trenches, so to speak. Management and upper-level execs aren’t privy to views that workers have.

Employees stop feeling like they matter when all the decisions come from team leaders and management. Ignoring or never bothering to ask for input from workers fosters a culture of resentment and resistance. That’s clearly not what you’re going for if the goal is to keep your team around. Nobody wants to feel like they’re a cog in a machine that doesn’t even know they exist. Provide a way for employees to give regular feedback and then take steps to actually incorporate it. One-on-one meetings, roundtable sessions, and surveys are a few ways to get people talking. The critical step is making sure they don’t feel like they’re just chucking their words into a big void.

Allow for Innovation

Listening to employees isn’t just a win for your team. The whole company stands to benefit from giving employees a platform to speak. You could get the next million-dollar idea through a policy of innovation. We’re not aiming for that goal today, but it definitely doesn’t hurt to keep it in mind. Recognize the potential in your people and they’ll stick around long enough to realize it.

Company Culture

Company culture has a huge impact on the kind of relationship your talent has with your company. Strong company culture creates a sense of belonging. Who doesn’t want that? Employees who feel included and represented are more likely to remain in their positions.

Opportunities for Growth

“Where do I go from here?” Your team asks themselves this question. Make it easy for them to know the answer, and they’re more likely to stay. Give them goals and a way to reach them. Opportunities for advancement, education, and growth have a profound effect on whether employees want to continue working with a company. The problem is not that workers don’t want to develop themselves. The issue is that many jobs don’t give them a way to actually accomplish that.


Beef up the skillset of your team with further education. They become more knowledgeable and have more to bring to the table as a result. You can do this with in-house training or even cover the cost of external education. Many companies benefit from offering tuition assistance and have seen major returns from that kind of investment in their employees. The important part is that your team members know you’re invested not just in what they already know but in whom they can become.

Promote From the Inside

Loyalty is important. We’ve all heard that a million times. It applies to countless situations and in business, it should run both ways. Why would an employee be loyal to a company that doesn’t feel like it’s loyal to them? Bringing in outside hires for upper-level roles feels like a betrayal. It makes sense that someone would jump ship when they’ve been around for years and are qualified for a promotion, yet John Doe rolls in out of nowhere and gets it instead. Tap the talent that’s already there. It’s a way to reward hard work and knowledge, and it’s one of the best ways to show that you value the effort someone has put in. Believe in their ability to do the job and they will do it.

Why Is It Important to Keep Your Team?

Are these steps worth it? Does keeping the same team around actually help business? “Yes” is the overwhelming answer. Companies pay a high cost with high turnover. On average, replacing an employee comes with a price tag of 50% to a mind-boggling 200% of the old employee’s salary. Training costs, recruitment, and advertising all dip into the budget. That’s assuming you’re able to find a qualified replacement quickly. That isn’t a cakewalk in some industries. Retaining talent keeps things flowing and any interruption can have long-term impacts on productivity.

A high turnover rate hurts morale, too. One feeds the other in what can turn into a vicious cycle. The last thing you want is a cascade effect. Picture it. Dave from Sales leaves and Rosie and Amir follow him out. Everyone had the same issues and nobody listened. Teams that work well together stick together, and you want your company to be the place where they want to stay.

Take Responsibility

Do you know that famous line about power and responsibility? It’s as true in business as it is for superheroes. The power to make or break a company rests with the people in charge. Employees, management, productivity, and the bottom line reap the rewards of high retention. Take responsibility for the well-being of your team and it’s a win for everyone!


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