Employee Retention: 7 Ways HR Can Help to Retain Your Best

by Duncan

Every company seeks the best employees, those who are reliable, innovative, team-oriented yet able to work well independently. The difficulty can be in locating them. That’s why, once such stellar employees are recruited, retaining them becomes paramount.

Fortunately, this is an arena in which a sharp Human Resources Department (HR) can be invaluable. Assisting in supporting and retaining your best employees, HR helps to ensure that employees are content within your company, bolstering morale and guarding against early departures. Here are seven key ways HR can help to retain your best employees:

1. Get to Know Employees Individually

As studies indicate, significant benefits accrue as upper management endeavors to know their employees as individuals. Among those benefits is employee retention. As a matter in which small acts yield large returns, this needn’t require a great expenditure of time or effort. On the contrary, small talk is actually a big factor here. Not wanting to be perceived as merely a faceless member of the crowd, employees appreciate it when those in supervisory positions address them by name, inquire about their lives and then remember the details later. These small gestures convey interest in each employee as a multifaceted person. Therefore, a means by which HR can foster these interactions in meaningful ways is through management training that is motivational, promoting a climate of camaraderie. The result is often increased morale and productivity among employees as well as retention.

Getting to know each other

2. Provide Constructive Feedback

Perhaps the most critical aspect of employee retention, feedback offers employees important insight into the details of their own progress or lack thereof. Rather than await a formal review that may occur solely on an annual basis, intermittent feedback supplies such intangible information as the employees’ ability to work as part of a team, their initiative, the quality of their interactions with clients as well as their communication with supervisory personnel. When HR provides avenues for ongoing feedback, employees have opportunities to enhance otherwise nebulous skills that have a direct impact on their advancement. It’s this type of feedback that boosts employee retention.

Provide constructive feedback to employees

3. Offer Growth Opportunities

From courses they may attend to workshops they can conduct, the opportunities for employees to hone their skills and talents is among the key factors in their contentment, which naturally leads to retention. HR’s willingness to offer these growth chances is an indicator of its commitment to its employees and to their advancement. This is an investment not only in the company itself, but also in the company’s greatest asset: its employees.

4. Give Employees a Voice in Decision-Making

Seeking recommendations from employees on decisions that affect them is foundational to good business practice. It’s also an excellent way to keep employees. In much the same way as maintaining an open-door policy, permitting employees to voice opinions on decisions accords them professional respect and underscores the significance that HR places on employee counsel. Whether HR hosts an open forum in which planned decisions are discussed, undertakes a survey of employees’ views and suggestions or simply makes available a suggestion box on the topic, the inclusion of employees in that decision-making process transmits a clear message. Rather than having decisions imposed upon them, employees respond favorably when given the option to collaborate on impending changes and are far more likely to remain with the company.

Decision making

5. Ensure Equitable Treatment

While it may be true that “life is not fair,” HR certainly can be. In fact, employee retention can depend on it. It is essential that policies, salaries and any other measure that directly impacts individual employees be implemented equitably. Indeed the mere perception of an imbalance can be sufficient to create unrest, to lower morale and to incite employees to begin seeking employment elsewhere. Therefore, it is advantageous for everyone concerned when HR ensures that new employees are not paid more highly than existing employees in the same position, for example, or when hardworking employees are not overlooked for advancement in favor of an outside hire. Such sensitive information has a way of becoming known, making the perception of fairness unequivocal in retaining employees.

6. Maintain an Open-Door Policy

When HR creates an atmosphere in which employees are encouraged to speak up, to present suggestions, to voice new methodologies, a sense of empowerment ensues for employees. A policy that deems employees to be integral to the success of the company, as important contributors to something bigger than themselves, promotes employee retention as the employees view their contributions as significant to overall outcomes. Employees who feel vested in a company are far more likely to remain there.

Open door policy

7. Acknowledge and Reward Outstanding Work

Expressions of appreciation go a long way toward retaining employees. From a simple “thank you” for a job well done to letters of recognition for achievement, HR’s acknowledgment of employee excellence cannot be overestimated. What’s more, monetary bonuses for exemplary work offer employees an incentive for even greater effort. Employee retention is never a problem when employees are lauded in these ways.


Retaining employees is crucial to the health and stability of a company. Each loss of an employee at mid-level or higher represents a loss of the money invested in their training as well as an end to all access to their expertise, skills and input. The seven tips listed here, while not an exhaustive list, can undergird HR’s efforts to retain its best employees.

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