How to Retain Your Best Employees

Retention efforts must start on the employee’s first day of work which means having a good Orientation Plan. The purpose of Orientation is to make sure that employees know what to do and how to do it.  The objectives of Orientation are therefore:

  1. To reduce anxiety: Introduce employees to their new work environment and colleagues.
  2. Help understand the organisation and its culture: Share the organisation’s background, values and strategic overview and key policies.
  3. Share basic Information/Work Behaviour: Working hours, Dress Code, Initial meetings with management.
  4. Convey what is expected from the job: Discuss job descriptions, roles and expectations, outline objectives of personal performance management plan including 90-day review.

Tips to Retain Your Best Employees:


  • Select the right person, for the right job as the starting point.
  • Offer an attractive, competitive, benefits package with components such as pension –and medical aid contribution.
  • Provide opportunities for people to share their ideas and knowledge via training sessions, Action Learning Sets, presentations, mentoring and supportive supervision.
  • Demonstrate respect for employees at all times. Listen, acknowledge and never ridicule or shame them.
  • Offer 90 day and annual performance feedback and praise good efforts and results.
  • People want to enjoy their work. So, make work fun.
  • Enable employees to balance work and personal life. Allow flexible starting times, core business hours and flexible ending times. (Yes, his son’s soccer game is important J)
  • Involve employees in decisions that affect their jobs and the overall direction of the company whenever possible.
  • Recognize excellent performance, and especially, link pay or internal promotions to outstanding performance.
  • Base the upside of bonus potential on the success of both the employee and the company and make it limitless within company parameters. (As an example, pay merit bonus to high performers)
  • Recognize and celebrate success. Mark their passage as important goals are achieved. (As an example celebrate individual long service)
  • Staff adequately so overtime is minimized for those who don’t want it and people don’t wear themselves out.
  • Nurture and celebrate organisation tradition. For example, run a food collection drive every November. Pick a quarterly charity to help. Have an end of year company event away from office.
  • Provide opportunities within the company for cross-training and career progression. People like to know that they have room for career movement.
  • Provide the opportunity for career and personal growth through training and education, transferring of skills by management and more. Employees are hungry for lifelong learning.
  • Communicate vision, mission, goals, roles and responsibilities so people know what is expected and feel like part of the in-crowd.

One final motivation theme that should be considered is an employee’s desire to work for a deeper cause and to buy into the organisation’s vision, mission and values.  It is said that if you love what you do, you won’t need to work a day in your life.

Food for thought:  It is true that employees don’t quit jobs, they quit managers.




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