If employee retention isn’t on your priority list yet, it should be. The job market has changed, and many employers are finding that they no longer hold all the cards today. If you’re not doing all you can to keep staff happy, you’re at greater risk of losing your best talent to your competition.

The good news is that many effective employee retention strategies involve little to no money. Here are some factors that matter to staff:

A clear career path

Employees want to know they have a future at your company. Make sure you meet with team members regularly to discuss their professional goals and how they can achieve them at your organisation. Also, do your part to support those objectives by offering resources such as access to mentors and training programs.


Have a program in place to acknowledge staff achievements, focusing on fairness and a sincere delivery. When people feel that leaders notice and truly value their contributions, their motivation and loyalty grow. Be careful that the same employees don’t constantly receive all of the praise or that you only offer recognition out of a sense of obligation, because it can harm morale.

Raises, bonuses and other financial rewards are a good starting point, but understand that offering a public “thank you” at a staff meeting can be meaningful too. Consider combining verbal praise along with a simple reward, such as a gift card issued by a local restaurant.


It’s hard to feel productive or trusted if someone is looking over your shoulder all day long as you work. Most strong performers value a degree of autonomy. As a manager, even if you’re not hovering physically over your staff, you’re giving the same feeling of micromanaging if you require excessive updates and approvals on assignments before they can progress.

If you’ve done a good job of hiring, you should be able to rely on your employees to complete their work successfully. Provide staff with sufficient details at the beginning of projects and then let them take the ball and run with it. Chances are, they will rise to the occasion.


Flexible work arrangements are among the most highly prized elements of a work environment for employees. These can range from simply making it easy to attend to family medical emergencies or school activities, to offering flexibility with individual work hours.

By doing this, you help staff balance work and personal demands, which can be very meaningful to time-pressed people. It shows you take a personal interest in your staff and this can lead to strong loyalty to your company.

Corporate citizenship

People also want to work for companies that are a force for good. Ask yourself if your firm falls into this category. Do you promote ethics first when interacting with customers and employees? Are your products safe and reliable? Do you have a commitment to fairness and diversity? Does your organization support community causes financially and/or with volunteers? Do you demonstrate environmental stewardship?

Actions such as setting up a day in which staff throughout the company attend a philanthropic event as a group can go a long way in building positive spirit and loyalty.

Competitive remuneration

Salaries are another critical factor to employees. When you pay people below market value, it suggests that you don’t truly value them or their work. If you withheld raises and bonuses during the downturn and have yet to implement any positive changes, you’re at real risk of losing staff.

Take the time to re-evaluate salaries by reading the latest association reports, salary guides and government statistics. The job market is changing quickly in many fields, so be sure you’re doing this at least annually so that you’re aware of trends.

Reassess the little extras you offer to your staff that round out your remuneration package. This can include everything from free healthy snacks in the break room to on-site exercise facilities and tuition reimbursement for professional growth. Perks can help you to not only retain staff but also attract new employees when it’s time to hire.

Clear communication

Last but decidedly not least, unambiguous communication is the foundation for all your other retention efforts. Keep employees in the loop when it comes to the latest developments at your company. People want to feel they’re a key part of the organization and that they play a role in upcoming plans.

Consider inviting employee feedback and ideas on initiatives. The more involved they are from the outset, the more connected they will feel to the outcome of projects.

If there are interpersonal conflicts or excessive gossiping, your office may still be considered a negative place, despite all of your other actions. Make sure you address problems among staff members immediately so they don’t turn into larger issues.

The steps you take now can help solidify employee motivation and loyalty. You’ll help ensure you have the best talent in place to meet your changing business demands.