Employee Retention Tactics: Creating a Happier Workforce

As an employer, have you ever wondered whether your employees are happy? Although your organization may offer high compensation, career progression, flexible hours, and lots of amazing perks, those factors may not necessarily result in a happy workforce.
According to an article on Inc.com, “Top Reasons Employees Complain About Their Jobs”, approximately 86% of employees within the United States are planning on seeking new opportunities in 2013. This startling number demonstrates the urgency of this issue that obviously needs to be addressed.
Of course, there are various factors that contribute to this statistic as individuals’ priorities and preferences vary by gender, age group, and other segments of the workforce. The findings presented in the article state that a significant number of male employees prefer to have higher salaries (45%) or promotions (39%) versus female employees who enjoy having either reduced (51%) or flexible (50%) work hours. In addition, 49% of Gen Xer’s (aged 33 – 50) prefer to have a higher job title and Millennials (aged 32 and younger) prefer to have more training.
Given that these findings may very well be pertinent to your current or future workforce, what can you do to ensure employees remain happy and don’t leave your organization for reasons that lie within your control?

3 Employee Retention Tactics to Keep Your Workforce Happy

Explore Performance-Related Pay

Although compensation is generally fixed for most roles, incorporating some aspect of a bonus tied to performance for all roles (i.e., not just Sales roles) may incentivize employees to improve productivity levels and achieve individual and organizational goals. Although this strategy may appeal to a segment of your workforce, its implementation needs to be carefully assessed given the associated risks with the measure (i.e., lower morale stemming from employees not achieving targets).

Focus on and Empower Career Progression

Another measure may be to implement a robust career progression program that offers employees an opportunity to visualize their potential trajectories within the organization. This measure may potentially influence employees to remain longer with the organization as they will be motivated to achieve their respective career milestones.

Offer Flexible Work Hours

As ascertained from the study, it seems that in order to retain a larger percentage of the female employee base, employers should be more flexible with their policies related to reduced or flexible work hours. Although this appears to be common practice in most organizations today, I still come across many women who struggle to balance work and family responsibilities. While these women are very driven and motivated to perform well in their respective organizations, they are also equally committed to their family responsibilities.

3 Workforce Segments with Concerns to Consider

When examining the needs of different workforce segments, patterns emerge that can be helpful in focusing your employee development and retention initiatives.

Women in the Workforce

Unfortunately, many women face a growing number of anxieties in their day to day job responsibilities; some worry that because they have to leave at a certain time each day, they feel like their other colleagues who don’t have those similar responsibilities are able to progress more quickly in the organization. Although this may not actually be the case, the perception of this increases their stress levels and leads them to be unhappy in their jobs.
Additionally, many women are also choosing to take the entrepreneurial path after having a family; this option permits them to retain a balance and advance both of their priorities. This by no means is unfortunate, especially if the entrepreneurial path has been an important aspiration for the individual. The implication of this outcome is that the organization stands to lose top female talent for reasons that may actually have been under its control.

Gen X’ers

I have noticed that on many occasions this segment tends to turn down positions simply because the job title does not coincide with their expectations. This has been a recurring issue and I often wonder why a minor adjustment cannot be made to the job title in order to ensure that the best and right candidate is hired for the role.
I realize all of the structural and policy challenges that the organization might be faced with when making these changes; however it’s important to keep in mind that especially with the case of a start-up, job titles can be made more flexible on a case-by-case basis as long as the changes don’t disrupt or challenge the authority of the current team members already in place.


I also find it very interesting that Millennials enjoy being in an organizational environment that particularly promotes learning and development (L&D). As an employer, that should be a general priority for your organization, however it is also necessary to focus on the needs of this generation and inquire about the types of L&D opportunities they would like to have in the company.
When speaking with Millennial candidates in an interview, it may be a good time to emphasize what the company is currently doing in terms of L&D, and that you as the employer would be happy to explore other options to enhance this aspect within the organization. If you don’t have an L&D expert at the moment, it may be worth to determine whether you should hire someone or seek advice from a consultant to help with your L&D strategy.

Don’t Just Guess at What Makes Your Employees Happy, Ask Them

Lastly, if you aren’t aware of what truly makes your employees happy, why not create a survey and ask them what they would like. This would demonstrate to them that your organization is taking an active interest in ensuring that you value them and are committed to their happiness and workplace satisfaction.

What employee retention tactics have you tried at your company? Which ones have worked best?


Salima Ladha
Salima Ladha
Head of People Operations

Salima Ladha is the Head of People Operations at Signpost, a cloud-based marketing software that gives local businesses the power to effortlessly build and manage customer relationships. She previously recruited top talent to to OpenView and our Portfolio Companies.
You might also like ...
4 Tips for Setting Your Company's Annual Rhythm

Every company starts the new year with big goals and aspirations. But how many of those companies actually accomplish them?

by Kristin Hillery
Product Marketing
How to Get Your First 100 Customers—Smart, Actionable Advice from Top Executives

Leaders from Twilio, IBM, SurveyMonkey and more share their best tips.

by Casey Renner
Startup Strategy
We Explored 3 Product Positioning and Branding Failures. Here’s What NOT to Do.

B2B brand and product positioning will only continue to become more important with the rise of the End User Era.

by Margaret Kelsey