According to the Work Institute’s 2018 Retention Report, employee turnover cost U.S companies over $600 billion in 2018.  According to the same report, “1 in 3 workers will voluntarily quit their jobs each year by 2020”.  

While you’re focusing on your customers and the bottom line, your hard-working employees are leaving for greener pastures. But, all is not lost. With the right foresight and commitment, you can stop, or at least slow down, the rate at which your employees are leaving.

Here are 8 steps to take today to keep your good employees from leaving:

  1. Invest in a competitive Benefits Package. A thriving economy has led to increased competition in the job market. Skilled employees now have the upper hand and can choose from a variety of job opportunities. A competitive Benefits Package (Health plan, 401k, etc.) can boost your company’s attractiveness and motivate your employees to stay.
  2. Develop a well-designed and comprehensive Onboarding Process. You know the old saying, “First impressions are lasting impressions”. According to Work Institute, 40% of all turnover in 2017 was attributed to employees who quit their jobs in their first year of employment, up from 34% in 2016.  There is nothing worse than expecting an employee to start work without having first gone through an informative and beneficial onboarding process. A solid onboarding process shows new employees that you care and makes them feel comfortable with the decision to join your team.
  3. Assign meaningful and challenging work. Good employees enjoy work that is engaging and contributes to the company’s overall mission. Now, let’s face it, some jobs are just downright boring. In the event the normal job duties are not that challenging, collaborate with employees to have them possibly take on more challenging tasks in other areas, or put them in charge of running projects or creating programs that will benefit other members of the organization. Engaged and challenged employees tend to be happier about coming to work.
  4. Implement an Employee Development/Feedback Program. Career Development was listed in the 2018 Transition Report as the #1 reason why employees left in 2017. Employees are more apt to see a future with a company where they are given development opportunities. When employees are not presented with opportunities for growth and upward mobility, they will likely feel undervalued and grow complacent in their jobs. Development programs not only help employees obtain additional education and skills but can create a pipeline for future managers and leaders within the company. Coupled with the development program, supervisors must provide regular feedback in order for employees to know what they are doing right and where they need to improve.
  5. Implement a Leadership Development Program. Bad, incompetent leaders can be the single reason why your employees leave. Your company’s leaders are responsible for the company’s culture. Your leaders must be trained in employee relations skills such as effective communication, effective listening, cultural awareness, difficult conversations, etc. A trained and competent leader can mean the difference between an employee leaving or staying and seeking a resolution to their problem.
  6. Develop an Incentive Program. We all love to be recognized for our hard work and contributions. Thinking that an employee will stay just because “the pay is good” is not thinking at all. An unappreciated employee will grow disgruntled and will seek opportunities where they think they will be appreciated. An incentive program can consist of Employee of the Month recognition, spot bonuses, tuition reimbursement, etc. You have to get creative in recognizing good employees and you’ll see the benefits will be well worth the effort.
  7. Promote a culture of transparency. Transparency fosters a sense of trust and dedication. Open and honest communication sharing will give your employees reassurance and peace of mind. When employees are left uninformed, it is easy for perception and insecurity to drive them to seek peace of mind at another company.
  8. Conduct Exit Interviews. Data is powerful. When employees do leave, the reasons can be varied, from work-related to personal. The work-related reasons are totally within your control. Your HR department needs to have a system in place to collect data from departing employees, whether face-to-face or anonymously via a survey or suggestion box. Without knowing the reasons why employees leave, it will be virtually impossible for you to fix the issues that drove them away.

Although these tips cannot guarantee an employee will stay, they will definitely provide you with a good foundation to create an organizational culture where employees feel they are a part of the family and want to remain. Of course, you don’t have to go it alone. A Management Consultant can help you navigate through and put your company on the right track to overcome the statistics.


  • Thelia Puryear, MBA, PMP, ITIL, PRINCE2

    Founder and CEO, StrategyLINC Consulting

    Thelia started StrategyLINC Consulting with a mission to innovate and develop solutions to meet business demands for efficiency, convenience, and ease-of-use.  She is driven by her desire to help small and medium-sized businesses succeed through innovative and scalable management consulting solutions.