20 Talent Retention Strategies that Reduce Turnover

Talent-Retention-Strategies-that-Reduce-Turnover2021 has been difficult for organizations nationwide. Increasing talent shortages have created an environment that’s tough to navigate. In September alone, the number of quits rose to 4.4 million across the U.S. And organizations can predict to see these talent shortages well into 2022.


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While this number seems alarming, there are steps leaders can take to prevent talent loss within their organization. Even in an employee-serving job market, an effective talent retention strategy can help you keep your top performers. 


What is talent retention?


Talent retention is defined as the ability of an organization to reduce employee turnover and keep top talent. It’s inarguably a key indicator of long-term success—that’s why the best organizations create talent retention programs to combat employee turnover. 

Often, employees leave due to negative perceptions in the workplace such as low pay, feelings of burnout, limited opportunity for growth, and lack of work-life balance. Because turnover can be so detrimental to the health of your organization, it’s important to adopt strategies that promote a positive work environment. But before these strategies are adopted, organizations should uncover their turnover rate to understand the significance of their retention problems. 


How do you calculate talent turnover rate?


Your turnover rate is an indicator of the success of your talent retention strategy. It’s defined as the percentage of employees who have left your organization over a certain period of time. This is an important metric to track, as it gives you insight into your company culture, recruiting strategies, and employer brand. 

To calculate this metric, you need to track the number of employees who left in a given time period, typically on a yearly or quarterly basis. You also need to find the average number of people employed in that time period. To calculate your average, simply add the number of employees at the beginning of your time period to the number of employees at the end, and divide by two. With this data, you can easily uncover your turnover rate using a simple formula: 

Employees who left / [(Employees at the beginning + Employees at the end) / 2] x 100 


What are the benefits of retaining top talent? 


Organizations who retain their talent experience many benefits. While high retention reduces costs to recruit, hire, and onboard employees, your retention strategies provide benefits far beyond cost reduction. 

When you retain your workforce, you can celebrate high productivity. The longer your employees stay, the longer they have to develop their company expertise and experience, which actively drives their ability to perform.

In addition to increased productivity, your retention efforts will improve the customer experience, promote a positive company culture, reduce the hassle of turnover, and increase employee morale. 

The importance of retaining top talent is clear—you need it to drive success. After all, your employees make your business initiatives possible. For optimal results and high retention, focus on the employee experience. 


20 talent retention strategies that reduce turnover


1. Recruit the right people

Effective recruitment holds a lot of importance in your employee retention program. You should look for employees who align with your company culture and are a good fit in terms of skill, personality type, and values. Clearly outline expectations to ensure you avoid any misalignment surrounding an employee’s capabilities vs. their responsibilities. 


2. Develop your onboarding process

Onboarding is a process that’s critical to your employees’ success. Onboarding should teach employees about their role and about your company culture. Without this information, your employees may be unsure of how they fit into the organization, or unequipped to perform diligently. Leverage comprehensive and continuous onboarding to set a positive tone from the start.


3. Outline mentorship opportunities

Mentors are a great way for new, and tenured employees to gain a sense of connection and motivation within their organization. Mentors can offer guidance, answer questions, and provide an outlet for meaningful employee relationships to boost morale. They also create an avenue for growth, which is a key driver of retention.


4. Give fair compensation

Pay is typically the primary employee motivation behind seeking out a new job in the first place. The pay you offer should be competitive with other organizations to prevent employees from shopping around. Ensure you assess the skills and responsibilities of your employees when designating pay, and adjust regularly.  


5. Provide appealing perks

Attractive perks inarguably make organizations more competitive in attracting and retaining talent. Plus, they boost employee morale. Perks such as parental leave, paid time off, and remote work options help employees have a positive workplace experience. In addition, these perks communicate that you care about your employees’ needs and desires to make them feel valued.


6. Prioritize employee wellness

Employees need to feel cared for beyond work responsibilities. The best  organizations provide physical and mental health resources, like mental health stipends and gym membership reimbursements. Not only does a healthy workforce inherently perform better, your employees’ morale will surge by showing that you value their wellbeing. 


7. Increase communication

Leadership communication should be transparent, detailed, and continuous  across the entire organization. Manager employee 1-on-1s should occur regularly to address roadblocks, discuss changes, and answer questions. When employees feel a connection to leadership, they are more likely to feel aligned with the company and want to stay. Plus, with transparent communication, employees place more trust in their leaders, which is a key driver of retention. 


8. Give ongoing feedback 

Like communication, feedback should be two-way and continuous. Organizations  should create a culture of feedback to discuss possible areas of improvement for both managers and their employees. Feedback promotes growth, trust, and success to keep your top performers. 


9. Provide training & development opportunities

It’s important to communicate that you see potential for growth in your employees, and your training and development opportunities will do just that. Don’t hesitate to close skill gaps and increase productivity and competence on your teams with these valuable opportunities. Whether they help your employees be more successful in their current role or set them up for increased responsibility, training and development is an effective way to boost employee morale, productivity, and retention.


10. Give recognition and rewards

Employees need to feel valued and recognized for their efforts. Without  recognition and rewards, employees might lose motivation to go above and beyond in the future. With no recognition, employees may not know whether their efforts are meeting–or succeeding—your expectations. Give recognition and rewards that align with the output of your employees to support your retention efforts.


11. Allow for flexible work 

Flexible, often remote or hybrid work, is becoming the norm. Organizations that  are competitive in attracting and retaining top talent understand this reality, and offer remote options when possible. When employees are given work-life flexibility, they are less likely to burnout and more likely to be satisfied with their job. 


12. Navigate change effectively

Change can occur at a rapid pace in all industries. While change often needs to happen, leaders shouldn’t let employees feel left in the dust surrounding decisions. Communicate often and speak to the “why” behind necessary change to create employee buy-in and alignment.


13. Acknowledge milestones

Milestones are important in an employee’s career. Whether it’s hitting an important deadline or a two-year anniversary with the company, leaders should celebrate the occurrence. Efforts like these actively boost morale and make the work environment a positive place.


14. Outline a clear path to advancement

Employees should be aware of possible opportunities they have within the organization. Without promotion possibilities ever offered, employees may go shopping around for roles at other organizations. Prioritize internal hires and promotions when possible and provide ongoing opportunities for employees to develop their skill set. 


15. Engage your talent

Strong employee engagement is the foundation of all successful business initiatives. When it comes to retention, engagement is possibly the most important factor. Signs of disengagement like absenteeism, low morale, and low productivity should be assessed continuously to prevent turnover before it’s too late. To engage your talent, consistently ask yourself, and employees, how the workplace experience can be improved, and then act on those insights. 


16. Leverage exit surveys

Exit surveys are a great way to understand why employees leave. When you understand these motivations, you can make changes to prevent others from leaving too. Take advantage of these valuable insights to make the workplace better for existing employees. 


17. Create an environment of respect

Now more than ever, employees expect high levels of respect from their leaders.  Whether this comes from supporting employee autonomy, prioritizing trust to avoid micromanaging, or treating employees with kindness in the office, employees need to feel respected. To brand yourself as an employer of choice, organizational leaders should create a culture of respect that resonates with all employees. 


18. Allow for adequate rest periods

Employee burnout is a key driver of turnover. When employees feel overworked  and unmotivated, they don’t reach their full potential and they may feel inclined to leave. Provide PTO and encourage employees to take it. Allow employees to take mental health days and time off, when needed, to recharge. 


19. Promote teamwork

Not only does effective teamwork promote productivity, but it creates meaningful  relationships in the workplace. Teamwork encourages accountability while giving employees an outlet to rely on when needed. Plus, when employees feel they have friendships in the workplace, they are more likely to feel connected to their organization and less likely to leave. 


20. Prep for turnover

While strategies to reduce turnover are highly effective when implemented correctly, turnover is sometimes inevitable. Evaluate your current employees and identify who’s at risk for turnover based on metrics such as absenteeism and low productivity. When you have a pulse on retention risk, you can prepare your approach to employee loss more effectively. 

Using talent retention software to reduce turnover


A robust employee engagement platform can provide the tools you need to retain top performers. Organizations that want to boost retention amidst an employee-serving job market should leverage engagement, performance, and intelligence tools for optimal results. Here’s how these tools can help you: 

  • 1-on-1 tools provide a template to outline and track your employee-manager conversations. These conversations boost connection, trust, and alignment to actively drive retention, and an effective 1-on-1 tool can help facilitate your conversations.
  • Engagement, pulse, and lifecycle surveys help capture employee perceptions at all stages of their tenure. Your employees have valuable insight behind what’s working and what isn’t. And when you act on these insights, you can make the work environment better for all employees. Take advantage of a streamlined survey platform to maximize your retention initiatives. 
  • Recognition tools help you acknowledge your employees for their accomplishments. An effective tool elevates employees’ hard work to the entire organization to boost employee morale and organizational alignment. When you provide ongoing recognition, your employees won’t search for that validation elsewhere.
  • Feedback tools help you boost performance and build trust between employees and leaders. Your feedback tool should be two-way, to encourage feedback from both employees and managers. This helps employees know where they can improve and gives leaders insight behind where their initiatives are falling short. When employees and managers give ongoing feedback, a foundation of trust is created to boost growth.
  • Goals give employees a path to growth and success. These tools boost alignment and accountability by elevating employee goals to the entire organization. Employees can track their goals and record key milestones to promote high motivation levels. And when employees feel connected to and motivated by their work, they have a higher likelihood of staying. 
  • Talent tools help you uncover who your high and low performers are. An effective talent platform works behind the scenes to give leaders a comprehensive picture of their workforce. With these insights, leaders can make strategic talent decisions to combat unwanted turnover. 

The great resignation has caused retention problems for organizations nationwide. Uncover strategies to retain your top performers with our 2021 employee turnover trends report. 

2021 Employee Turnover Trends Report

Published December 14, 2021 | Written By Elise Paulsen