HR Retention Strategies: Secrets to Building a Culture That Keeps Your Best Talent

strengthen team Mar 4, 2024

Turnover is a cruel cycle. When employees leave, instability follows. That has a major impact on your business’s morale and productivity. Remote work adds another layer of complexity and challenge for HR teams. If employees aren’t engaged and communicated with, they’ll lose sight of why they joined your team in the first place. The solution may seem elusive, and there are a lot of different ways to approach the problem. A multifaceted, proactive approach to retention strategies is the key to success. Let’s talk about the best HR retention strategies that will help you hold onto your best talent.

Understanding Employee Turnover

Turnover rate is an indicator of how many employees are leaving your company. It can be represented as follows,

Turnover Rate=Number of employees who left during the periodAverage number of employees during the period X 100%

If your turnover rate is high, more people are leaving your company than those staying. It’s not as simple as just replacing the employees you’re missing. There are a number of costs that come with replacing lost employees, such as:

  • Recruitment costs: job advertising, applicant screening, interviewing
  • Training costs: can incur direct and indirect costs. Direct costs may be materials and courses, while indirect costs might be time spent by other employees training new employees.
  • Lost productivity: it will take time for new employees to become productive.
  • Administrative costs: paperwork, IT systems, and other onboarding.

Because of these costs, it’s most often cheaper to hold onto your current employees than it is to try and replace them. This practice of working to keep employees at your company is called retention.

brown wooden seat on gray concrete road during daytime

Lack of connection with other employees, a form of isolation, is cited as one of the top reasons employees leave their jobs. Photo by Andrew Shelley on Unsplash.

One of the most important elements of employee retention is company culture. Improving elements like job satisfaction, employee engagement, trust, transparency, work-life balance, career growth opportunities, recognition, and rewards can improve retention significantly. This makes a lot of sense when you consider the top reasons for voluntary employee turnover include toxic organizational culture, job dissatisfaction, and career progression.

Research: Retention Starves in a Crisis Culture

In November of 2023, 3.47 million people left their jobs for one reason or another according to Statista. Why are they leaving? Toxic corporate culture is one of the primary reasons. In fact, MIT Sloan Management Review finds that it’s 10 times more important than compensation in predicting turnover, so it’s not just about money.

Infographic: The Great Resignation Is Over: Quits Return to Pre-Covid Level | Statista

The number of people quitting their jobs was already on the rise before the pandemic. Despite decreasing since its last peak, the number is still high (Statista).

With remote workers, a survey from Pew Research found that 53% of those working from home find it difficult to connect with their colleagues online. That can lead to retention challenges if workers feel disconnected, whether it be from poor communication, a toxic work environment, or poor company culture.

Proactive Retention Strategies for HR Teams’

The best approach to remote work turnover is a proactive retention strategy by your HR team. This strategy will foster deeper employee-leader connections, create transparent paths for advancement, maintain competitive compensation benchmarks, and optimize processes for remote employee support.

Employee-Leader Connection

It’s crucial for employees to have a good connection with their leaders. A few ways to work on this with your teams is to do regular check-ins. These 1:1 meetings can be for discussing progress, goals, and to figure out ways to approach challenges workers are facing. This helps build trust and ensures that everyone feels valued and listened to.

Toxic work culture is 10 times more important than compensation, according to MIT Sloan Management Review.

Virtual team-building activities are another opportunity for these connections to thrive. Questions of the day, daily conversation starters, online games, and other activities allow your team to interact on a personal level. These activities can also serve as a great break away from work to allow teams to recharge.

Using the right tools can help you foster these connections during every workday. A great integration for Slack, CultureBot, can help you bring your team closer together with timely Birthday celebrations and other recognition announcements, as well as water cooler conversation starters and activities.

Paths for Advancement

Your team’s best workers are future-thinking and value learning. There are a few ways to quench their thirst for advancement:

  • Recognize Good Work: appreciation for hard work goes a long way with teams, especially in isolated remote work environments. Tools like CultureBot’s shoutout’s feature on Slack are a great way to celebrate the hard work your team is putting in to achieve your goals.
  • Provide Opportunities for Growth: providing upskilling opportunities like online courses for your employees gives them an opportunity to pursue knowledge and skills that they need to advance their careers. This not only helps them succeed in their goals, but it also can help you develop your best team members who may move up in your company.
  • Offer Clear Career Paths and Feedback: giving your teams a clear path to success and feedback along the way can be highly motivating. This helps them track their progress, see how they’re performing and gives them something to work for.

By providing paths for advancement to your teams, you can motivate them and reduce your company’s turnover.

Competitive Compensation

Although company culture is the most important, compensation is still a critical piece of the puzzle. Great HR teams work to review salaries and keep them up to date and fair for everyone. Regular salary surveys can help businesses stay competitive with industry standards. Another way to monitor this is to investigate job listings from competitors for similar roles to see what rates they’re offering.

Comprehensive benefits packages are needed wherever possible, including health insurance, and retirement plans. Other benefits can be considered as well, such as flexible work arrangements, work-from-home technology credit, and employee discounts. HR teams also need to stay informed about industry trends so they can change packages accordingly. Market adjusted rates should be done regularly to prevent employees from jumping ship to get a higher salary with a competitor.

Wellness programs are also another great option to consider, which might offer advantages like mental health support, stress management workshops, and fitness resources like gym memberships.

Optimizing Processes

Another way to help fight back against turnover is to optimize processes with the goal of supporting remote employees. Establishing clear communication channels is a great place to start. Going beyond just designating Slack for communications, you can better organize your Slack channels to clearly define topics. For example, you might have a channel specifically for sales, and then a channel specifically for water cooler discussions.

A screenshot of a computer

Description automatically generated

Organizing your team’s Slack is a very important part of supporting your team.

Sharing knowledge by creating documentation is another great way to optimize processes in a way that helps your team as a whole. Having a centralized place where your team can find the resources they need to do their jobs is important for efficiency and prevents gatekeeping. Working on creating documentation together is also a great way to get employees to work together.

In general, regular feedback loops are a great way to make things more efficient. Regular check-ins and feedback sessions are very important for the health of your team. It sets positive expectations and takes advantage of our mind’s ability to recognize and adapt to patterns. It can be a lot easier to reinforce feedback loops like this with automatic surveys and conversation starters from tools like CultureBot on Slack. CultureBot’s survey features can be set to create recurring surveys that ask teams questions about anything you want on a regular basis.

Getting Leadership Buy-In for Retention Initiatives

As an HR employee or leader, getting approval for the changes that you need to fight back against high turnover can be challenging. Here are some strategies to increase your chances of leadership approval for retention programs:

  • Focus on Return on Investment (ROI): although retention initiatives may seem costly in the short term, they will actually save your business money in the long term. Retaining employees is cheaper than hiring new ones.
  • Outline Proposed Programs Within Budget: make sure your proposed programs are still affordable.
  • Define Metrics for Retention Success: look for opportunities to track your progress beyond just reducing your turnover rate. For example, you might consider employee surveys to gauge their satisfaction over time.

Convincing your leadership team that your retention strategy is the right way to go will not only add value to the company, but it will make your teams happier, more productive, and will help them grow with the company as well.

A blue screen with white text

Description automatically generated

Build Your Next Proactive Retention Plan

If you want to build a proactive retention plan that not only reduces your turnover rate but also builds optimism and productivity in your company, you’ll need these key things:

  1. Greater connection between colleagues and leaders.
  2. Solid paths for growth to motivate your team and help them feel more fulfilled.
  3. Provide competitive compensation that matches market trends.
  4. Build and optimize team-first communications channels and systems.
  5. Track your progress and adjust based on your performance.

Without that final step, it’s very difficult to execute a proactive retention plan for your team. You need to keep track of how well you’re doing before people start to quit. One of the best ways to do that is with employee feedback and survey tools so you can hear feedback from them before it’s too late.

CultureBot offers an array of employee feedback tools. You can get regular, direct feedback from employees using Slack, with an option to anonymize responses. Automatic survey reminders and follow-ups help keep your response rates high and encourage engagement and give you real insights into the health of your team.

If you’re ready to build a proactive retention plan that helps you hold onto the best talent your team has to offer, schedule a demo with us to see how CultureBot can help you execute your turnover-busting strategy.


Oswald Reaves

A serial startup founder and entrepreneur, Oswald is a co-founder of the Slack-based employee experience and team engagement platform, CultureBot . Oswald is originally from North Carolina.