Improve Employee Retention By Focusing On The Basics

At this time of year, many business owners make resolutions designed to improve their operations. One of the most important resolutions you can make is to focus on employee retention. A common business axiom states that it is more costly to hire a new employee than to retain an existing team member. Not only can employee turnover be costly, it can be disruptive to the overall operations of a company.

Jim Collins, the author of the best-selling management book Good to Great says, “Those who build great organizations make sure they have the right people on the bus and the right people in the key seats before they figure out where to drive the bus. They always think first about who and then about what. When facing chaos and uncertainty, and you cannot possibly predict what’s coming around the corner, your best ‘strategy’ is to have a busload of people who can adapt to and perform brilliantly no matter what comes next.”

Some of the most effective employee retention ideas focus on the basics: measuring performance, communicating, mission and core values, and employee engagement.

Measuring Performance

Evaluating employee performance is a key element of retention. In general, employees want to know how they are performing and receive guidance on how to improve their performance. Educate employees on key metrics to be measured and how those metrics impact the business. A clear definition of their performance goals, along with tools to measure their progress, is critical.


Speaking of feedback, it is important to maintain clear and effective communication with employees. Managers should inform team members of their goals, provide feedback on performance, and celebrate successes. Make sure your employees know how their efforts contribute to the operation’s overall achievements. It is also important to listen to your employees and take action where appropriate.

Mission and Core Values

Defining your company’s mission and core values is beneficial for both employees and the overall success of the operation. Employees want to feel like their work matters. By defining the company’s mission and core values, they will have an awareness of the larger picture and how they fit into it.

Employee Engagement

When implemented effectively, performance measuring, communication, and an awareness of the corporate mission and core values all contribute toward increasing employee engagement, which is an important indicator of retention. Increased employee engagement has been shown to increase retention as well as company profits.

The New Year is an ideal time to initiate a heightened awareness within your organization of the importance of employee retention. Hire the right people first and work diligently to retain them. Happy New Year!

Mike Schofield

President and CEO


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