10 Proven Strategies to Improve Employee Retention

Annual voluntary turnover is 25% 

For some industries, like retail and food service, the turnover rate is much higher. Employee churn comes at a significant cost to companies. On average it costs 30 – 50% of an employee’s salary to replace them.

Almost two-thirds of employees leave for reasons that are preventable such as management and lack of training which includes
onboarding. The tenure group with the highest churn is new employees. 

1 in 3 employees will leave within their first year.

The good news

Most employees are leaving for reasons that are preventable. This means that companies who run retention interventions will reduce churn, saving significant recruitment and rehiring costs for their organization.

Companies have an Opportunity to Influence Turnover Rates

10 Recommendations to Improve Employee Retention

***To download a PDF copy of this report click HERE.

1. Improve the Employee Onboarding Experience

Research shows effective employee onboarding can reduce new hire turnover by 88%.

Here’s the reason: what psychologists refer to as ‘imprinting’ occurs when we interact with anything new: a new restaurant, a new brand, new people or a new workplace. During those initial interactions, we build what’s referred to as a ‘belief system’. Once
established, a belief system can be very difficult to change. This is one of the reasons making a positive first impression is so important. THIS is the reason why employers benefit from investment in employee onboarding programs. At First30, we say that
employers should ‘love bomb’ their new employees.

Quick Wins:
1. Download First30’s free employee onboarding eBook HERE for ideas
2. Purchase a copy of First30’s Manager Guide for your people leaders HERE
3. Reach out to us for help designing and automating your employee onboarding program


2. Preboard New Hires

Don’t wait for a new hire to ghost you or quit before their first day. Make sure they are feeling the love even BEFORE their start date. Let them know how excited you are that they accepted your offer by sending them fun or inspiring facts or accepted your offer by sending them fun or inspiring facts or videos about the business. Set up a preboarding email template available to all of your employees so they can fill in the information their new hire needs before their first day (like where to park, etc.).

Quick Wins:
1. Set your new hire up with a well-connected buddy who calls them a week before they start
2. Download First30’s free preboarding cheat sheet and guide HERE
3. Purchase a copy of First30’s Manager Guide (it includes a preboarding template) HERE

3. Ensure People Managers are Equipped to Onboard

Some people leaders hire regularly, others will not have a new employee for many years. It’s important to prepare hiring managers to onboard their new employees. Provide people leaders with a manager guide to outline the onboarding process, and ensure they know where to find answers and resources if onboarding a new employee is new to them.

Quick Wins:
1. Create a new hire checklist for managers so they know what to do and when
2. Purchase a copy of First30’s Manager Guide HERE and distribute it to people leaders

4. Conduct Stay Interviews

Just over one quarter (28%) of companies run stay interviews. Almost three-quarters (72%) run exit interviews. Exit interviews provide important insight, but why not try and avoid this discussion altogether by engaging with employees BEFORE they decide to leave? 

Stay interviews make employees feel like their voice matters. When run effectively, they allow employers and HR teams to identify retention risks and enable them to resolve retention issues. Stay interviews can be run internally, however, there is a benefit to bringing in an objective third party. Get in touch if your organization can benefit from experienced and professionally run stay interviews with an action plan. 

Quick Win: 
Book First30 to conduct stay interview training 

5. Train People Managers for People Skills 

More than half of employees leave organizations because they are poorly treated by management or their colleagues. Being treated poorly doesn’t always mean being bullied or harassed, it can also mean being mismanaged. Many managers lack people
management skills, particularly first-time managers.
It’s risky to assume that just because someone is a strong individual contributor, they have the skills to manage others. 

Quick Wins:
1. Connect new managers with an internal mentor who is a strong people leader
2. Assign only one or two employees to a new manager, rather than a large team


6. Promote From Within

Another top trigger for employee churn is feeling underappreciated and undervalued. If your organization is consistently hiring external candidates for coveted roles, there may be an issue with your internal succession planning. If there is a legitimate reason to source senior candidates externally, take the time to communicate the rationale to your workforce.

Quick Wins:
1. Encourage managers to ask their team members where they want to be in a year, and help them understand how to get there
2. Suggest people leaders set checkpoints along the way so there are no surprises


7. Offer Flexibility

Half of office employees prefer to work fully remotely, 43% say they will look for a new job if called back to work full-time, and only 25% of employees want to work at an office full-time. Workplaces with the ability and a willingness to offer work-from-home options will benefit from higher retention rates. If there is a plan to call employees back, or if you have done so, it’s worth tracking employee churn more closely and conducting a benefit-risk assessment. This way leadership can truly understand the implications and the associated risk.

8. Prioritize One-to-One Meetings with People Leaders

Busy schedules can mean that one-to-one manager meetings are frequently rescheduled and cancelled. Even worse, they are never scheduled at all. A lack of one-to-one contact with a manager can signal that management doesn’t care. Encourage people leaders to set regular meetings with each member of their team. Recommend people managers provide at least 24 hours’ notice for rescheduling whenever possible, and provide a reason as a courtesy.

Quick Wins:
1. Encourage people leaders to schedule a standing one-to-one meeting with each team member every two weeks
2. Provide people leaders with a one-to-one meeting template they can utilize with their direct reports 


9. Consistently Communicate Throughout Change

People don’t like change. The difficulty for employers is that workplaces often change. In his book “The Catalyst: How to Change Anyone’s Mind”, author Jonah Berger outlines our inherent resistance to change and how it can be overcome. Employees don’t like changes to their working conditions, so if changes are planned, start communicating early and often. Explain the reason change is happening, the expected outcomes, and have appropriate channels for feedback.

Quick Win:
Add “The Catalyst” to your reading list. You won’t regret it!!

10. Offer Outplacement Support During Layoffs

This recommendation might seem strange in the context of retention, but hear us out…when layoffs happen there will be employees left behind. It’s important that companies demonstrate they care about impacts on employees. Offering career  transition support is a meaningful way of demonstrating to alumni and current employees that the business will take care of people. Excellent outplacement support does not have to be expensive. First30 has expertly guided, comprehensive career
transition programs priced so every company can offer every employee outplacement support.

Quick Wins:
1. Download First30’s free Running Compassionate Layoffs Guide HERE
2. Download First30’s outplacement brochure HERE with pricing


BONUS: Contact First30 to Support Your 2023 Planning

First30 is currently working with clients to support their 2023 people plans. We like to help by listening first to understand your unique business challenges. We will typically ask a series of questions to learn more about your business. With this understanding, we can then proceed with recommendations that support your 2023 objectives.

Quick Win:
Click HERE to book a call with us, or reach out by email below

Sources: Brandon Hall, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Allied HR, Non-Profit HR, 2021 Talent Retention Survey, Amazon Business Return to Office Report

First30 specializes in employee onboarding and outplacement. To learn more about our onboarding programs, click HERE.  
Planning layoffs? We also offer cost-effective (and excellent!) outplacement services. Download our outplacement brochure with pricing here.
To speak with a member of our team, contact info@first30ready.com.