Employee Retention


pinned to a corner

This subject is not a containable in one post, and I will add to more posts about this subject in the future.

The first rule of solving any problem is admitting there is a problem, so, answer this question:

Is your turnover rate acceptable?

And to answer that question, you need to understand, that even if you are the best company in the world to work for, someone out there will not want to work for you. So, there is an acceptable rate of turnover in any company. What determine this rate is the competitors. this is general in any part of the business. and if you are willing to go a bit deeper, and see the turnover by department, that would give you a deeper look into the situation in your company.

My suggestions are, even if you have a lower than average turnover rate to invest in an employee retention plan. Companies can suddenly snatch a large number of employees with a campaign targeting them for new projects.

Before we look at some retention methods and plans, we need to clear up some myths you might have regarding this subject:


  • Myth 1: Employees Always Leaves for a Higher Pay:

No! not necessarily  Personally I left some companies for different reasons and once for a lower pay! Now don’t get me wrong, the pay is a significant factor when it comes to leaving a company, but it isn’t the only one.

Also, if you conduct an intensive exit interview, you might find that some policies or procedures were unsatisfactory to the employees. We all know a person that left the company due to a bad relationship between him and his supervisor. Also, after working for an Oil company, and conducted exit interviews I found out that working in the field is NOT for everyone.

It is noteworthy to say that from what I noticed, usually low-income employees are very more likely to leave for a higher pay than regular and high income employees.

  • Myth 2: Different Sectors Can’t Use Same Strategies:

I agree that different sectors have different strategies and different methods of dealing with issues, but that doesn’t mean that strategies from different sectors are always going to fail, a lot of studies and research finds that when it comes to retention strategies, sectors don’t usually matter.

  • Myth 3: This Age has No Loyalty:

This is extremely wrong! in this age, people usually want more to do with work, they are proud when they see their company logo relating to charity, social responsibility  or volunteer work. If you feel that your employees are not loyal, remember the saying: “When you point your finger at someone, there are three pointing back at you”.

  • Myth 4: Supervisors are Bad:

I heard this from almost everyone, from senior management to employees about to resign. this is not an acceptable answer, (although sometimes they can be correct), but it is always easier to shift the blame to someone else, it is not a good practice to do that. companies should open the communication lines between middle management and senior management more often to eliminate this broken record from ever being heard.

Now that we looked at some of the myths that are being used as an excuse  lets take a look on what employees usually resign because of (that you can help in changing):

  • Better Pay:

The first question your manager will ask you when you resign is: “What are they offering you?” and usually the difference is not very high especially for low-income employees, but it is significant in their eyes, so if you have offered them that raise they might be still with you instead of leaving you.

  • Internal Equity:

This happens in a significant amount of cases, a new employee is getting paid more than your old employees, this method causes a lot of built anger in the old employees which leads them to search for better opportunities in different companies.

  • Too Much Bureaucracy/Politics:

When an employees feel that there is too much tension between the higher management they tend to carry it with them, and it becomes overwhelming to a point where working for the company isn’t worth it anymore for them. Be aware of this issue.

  • Nepotism:

King Faisal bin Abdul-Aziz Al-Saud once said: “I was able to stop different types of corruption, except nepotism, I couldn’t”. Nepotism is defined as:  “Nepotism is favoritism granted to relatives regardless of merit” and it is the worst types of corruption, because at the end of the day the quality will be affected from two aspects, on one side you are favoritism regardless of merit, on the other side, you will lose the competent employees due to those actions.

  • Communication and Availability:

Face to face communication is a very critical aspect that employees need, to help explain the vision and mission of the company and to feel associated with the company.

  • Overloaded:

Most likely you will face this issue with your more senior employees. When work is becoming so much that they can’t even have a social life out of the company you need to re-engineer the processes or hire additional manpower.


Now let’s get productive and look at some of the best ways to retain your employees:

  • Competitive Compensation & Benefits:

This is an essential part of the retention, and in my opinion the compensation and benefits are not for the employee or his qualifications, it is for the job title, and the job title holds the minimum requirements needed to do that job, so in this stage it is the job of the recruiter not to bring someone overqualified, or else he will not be retained in the close future.

  • Training & Development:

In my opinion, this is the best thing a company can offer and it is the strongest tool for retaining employees. Employees who feel they are growing in the company will most likely stay and grow with the company.

  • Promote from Within:

This is an important aspect, and it is assisted by the previous point, after you train your employees, promote them to more responsibilities and challenges. Believe me, working very hard and then seeing that the company will hire a new employee that will supervise is a very big reason for resignations, the employees will think “I don’t have a future here!”

  • Improve the Quality of Middle Management:

 Frontline supervisors and section managers are key players in the retention plan.Train them mainly in communication and leadership skills, and hold them accountable, have them communicate your business’s mission

  • Small Perks:

Believe me, every one enjoys the little things, they are not the reason we wake up in the morning, but it sure puts a smile on our faces. So, negotiate with retail companies and get special employee discounts, or even free services. If you help your employee manage his life, he is more likely to stay with you.

  • Open Communication:

Especially between employees and senior management. have a quarterly open day for employees to meet the management team, have a Q&A session with the CEO. All these build a bigger trust from employees and they feel a part of a family.

  • Reward Programs:

Reward programs is an easy way to engage employees in the company, as long as it is done fairly cross the departments, I know for example banks offer the sales department some reward programs, but it is really unfair to the other employees. So, think of a reward program that is fair and engaging, and don’t think of monetary rewards only, think of vacations, gift certificates, stocks, …etc.

  • Company Reputation:

Even if you are paying employees generously and training them heavily, if the company is unknown some employees might accept offers from known companies, I come from a culture where social responsibility is important, Saudi Aramco has done very well in the eastern province of Saudi Arabia, and Sabic has invested heavily in this matter and Jubail Industrial City is a witness to it. So never neglect the community you are living in, invest in it.

  • Job Security:

Try and make it a habit of not firing people, if employees sense that their job is in danger, they will look for a more secure company to work in. Also, never ever under any circumstances threaten some ones job you are not only effecting the employee, you are effecting the entire staff, so be very careful.

These are some points that help understanding employee retention. in the future I will be digging deeper at some of the points that I have made above.

1 comment on “Employee Retention

  1. Dr. Natarajan Kumar, PhD

    Most important of all is incongruence between personal and organizational values. You may like to read my book titled “Values, Organizational Commitment and Job Satisfaction – An Emperical Evidence”, Lambert Academic Publication, Germany, avaiable on amazon.com


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