3 crucial ways to beef up your employee retention strategy

Prioritize one-on-one meetings, shower workers with praise, and take transparency seriously.

5 employee retention tips

You’ve hired the best people.

They all have exceptional credentials and sparkling résumés. The problem? The spark has gone, and morale is circling the drain. Some employees have one foot out the door, and others have already thrown in the towel.

There’s an $8.5 trillion shortage of great talent—which adds to the strain, pain and financial drain of finding new hires.

All’s not lost, however. Let’s review a few key tactics for creating a high-retention culture.

1. Prioritize face-to-face meetings.

Most managers say they don’t have time to check in on staffers and hold regular one-on-one meetings.


  • Frequent one-on-ones cut turnover by a jaw-dropping 30%, according to Adobe.
  • Microsoft found that employees who have frequent one-on-one meetings are 67% less likely to be disengaged.

One-on-ones don’t have to be painful or terribly time-consuming. Here’s how to make the most of them:

  • Make it part of your managers’ schedules. Encourage them to set up a recurring weekly meeting with each employee. Just a few minutes apiece is fine.
  • Put staffers in the driver’s seat. One-on-ones shouldn’t be about status updates or criticisms. They should allow employees to communicate openly and address anything that’s hampering their work.
  • Ask the right questions. Supply managers with a tip sheet of smart questions, such as:
    • How are things going generally?
    • Are there any roadblocks?
    • Do you need my feedback on something you’re working on?
    • How are things going with your peers?
    • Is there anything you’d like to ask or discuss with me?
  • Don’t let things fall through the cracks. Make sure managers capture action items and document crucial exchanges—and do something about employee feedback.

2. Let staffers soak in praise.

Who doesn’t like appreciation? Praise makes employees more engaged and less likely to quit.

Unfortunately, most workplaces don’t have a consistent or codified system for recognizing employees.

Here are four ideas to help you cultivate a recognition-rich environment:

  • Give praise online. Shower staffers with compliments on social media or wherever they hang out on the web.
  • Acknowledge people internally. Create a #kudos channel in Slack, or carve out a section on your intranet to dole out digital plaudits.
  • Give public, in-person recognition. Use your next all-hands meeting as a forum to spotlight staffers’ wins.
  • Give career-based rewards. Help employees develop professionally by assigning them a mentor or by paying for an online course.

3. Take transparency seriously.

A whopping 25% of employees don’t trust their employer.

Lack of transparency is the main culprit. As companies grow, meetings move behind closed doors, and staffers stop getting regular updates on what’s going on. As a result, the all-hands-on-deck, we’re-in-this-together mentality goes out the window.

Try these three tips to foster transparency and keep your best people from jumping ship:

  • Introduce OKRs (objectives and key results). It’s a management system developed by Andy Grove from Intel that gets everyone on the same page. You can learn more about it here.
  • Be raw with your people. Share candid details about profits, plans and challenges. Don’t lie to employees, mislead them or give them the silent treatment.
  • Foster a no-blame culture. Instead of asking whose fault is it, focus on how your team can fix the problem at hand.

How do you keep your top employees engaged and energized? What’s the average time an employee stays with your company? Please share your insights and feedback in the comments.

Max Woolf is a career expert at Zety.


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