Employee retention definition

In terms of workforce evaluation, retention refers to employees’ abilities to not only absorb and retain training or specialized skills, but to apply the learned skills to their job.

Retention may also refer to 1.) earning retention – what income a company retains after necessary payouts, or 2.) employee retention – the rate at which a company can keep consistent, long-term employees.

The benefits of employee retention

  • It promotes productivity. Happy employees are loyal employees who are willing to go the extra mile to improve operations. High turnover has the opposite effect on morale.
  • It encourages efficient operation. Long term employees develop company or industry specific experience. They hold the institutional memory of the organization.
  • It’s cost effective. Retaining employees can reduce the numerous costs associated with turnover. And the loss of experienced personnel may be compounded if they’re ultimately hired by a competitor.

What is an employee retention strategy?

  • Employee retention is about promoting job satisfaction. It’s largely a combination of respectful treatment, fair compensation, a sense of mutual trust, job security, and how often an individual can use their unique skills.
  • Support open lines of communication so that ideas, questions, and reports can be communicated with honesty. Find opportunities to encourage employees to speak their mind, and make it a habit to connect with staff on a regular basis.
  • Look for chances to promote teamwork, collaboration, and employee engagement. You can encourage active participation by clarifying company objectives, goals, and employee roles. And celebrate victories as a team, whether business goals or personal successes.
  • Use mentorship programs to help new employees learn the ropes. This can show senior employees their expertise is valued, and provide experienced training to new recruits.
  • Encourage a healthy work-life balance. Unhappy employees are less productive, and more likely to result in turnover. Be proactive about asking employees what they need, and remain vigilant about looking for the signs of employee burnout.

If you are interested in more information about retention, check out our five tips to get started to become a company that truly puts people first, based on our latest research from 500+ HR and People leaders.

Research Report: 500+ Global HR leaders on business growth challenges

Our latest survey report reveals business leaders' concerns about the growth challenges they face and the complexities of ensuring consistent, relevant and motivational HR practices.

Download the report