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Why You Should Be Investing in Employee Retention


Employees are arguably the most important stakeholders for your business. Skilled workers are in high demand and losing valued members of your team can be a catalyst for both capacity and morale issues.

Retention and job satisfaction efforts need to be intentional, but this is a management component that is often de-prioritized to the detriment of the employer. A 2017 Gallup State of the Global Workplace report states that 85% of employees across the globe are dissatisfied with their jobs resulting in nearly $7 trillion in lost productivity each year.

How? Well, the cost of replacing employees can be twice the price tag of their actual salaries. And replacing your highest performers is more expensive, still.

In the fast-paced and often challenging roadmap of a scaling a business, the effects of employee turnover can be difficult to overcome.

“Given the talent wars we’re engaged in and the cost of bringing new talent in employee retention has become the Golden Goose,” states Neale Lewis, business coach and founder of Neale Lewis Associates.

Why is retention so difficult and why do workers choose to leave a company? In his own blog post, Lewis challenges the notion that people leave because of their immediate supervisor, and points to a study by HR executives at Facebook and Wharton Professor Adam Grant saying it’s more about the work they’re being asked to do.

So how can you ensure you’re giving your employees the kind of work that will inspire them to stay? Here are Lewis’ top suggestions:

Build Enjoyment into the Job

Most of us intuitively understand workers are more likely to stick around if they find the work they’re doing enjoyable.

It used to be a company would design a job and try to fit the best employee they could find into it. Now we know it can often be a more successful strategy to look at your star employees and build a job around them.

“The key is to approach job design with a flexible mindset, looking for opportunities to mold in more enjoyable, beneficial work elements,” says Lewis.

More and more businesses are using tools to quantifiably measure employee enjoyment or job satisfaction. Tools like eNPS (employee net promoter score) or internal polls and surveys give management a data-based understanding of how employees feel about their job. These tools give management the ability to be more proactive in their retention strategies.

Build Meaning into the Job

Managers are embracing transparency as a method for building a more motivated and engaged workforce. An employee should be able to clearly see how their individual work impacts the broader goals of the company.

“A company culture is built when every single employee’s job is essential to the whole.”
Brent Gleason

A Robert Half Management Resources survey, found that only 47% of workers understand how their day-to-day work affects the overall company performance. Making that connection from the company to individual level involves sharing the vision, recognizing employee contribution and making these conversations ongoing.

Workers feel valued when they are trusted with access to information, challenged with decision-making responsibilities, and feel accountable as part of a team.

Invest in their Learning and Growth

Lewis says that — especially considering millennials are now the largest cohort in the workforce — “More than ever your employees hunger to learn, grow, and realize more of their full potential.”

An IBM study revealed that employees who do not feel they are developing in a company are 12 times more likely to leave it behind. Companies should treat employee training like an investment rather than an expense they should minimize.


British business magnate, Richard Branson, famously said, “Customers do not come first. Employees come first.”

And prioritizing your employees does not need to happen at the expense of your customers. In fact, it’s the opposite. According to customer service software company, RightNow Technologies, 82% of customers leave a company because of a bad customer service experience.

And who’s more likely to provide better service to your customers? Employees who are happy and engaged at work. Point of sale system, Revel Systems, says these workers are three times more creative, 31% more productive and generate 37% higher sales than their less engaged peers.

So build joy and meaning into your employees’ jobs. Leverage their strengths and invest in their growth. You’ll not just see it in the way they approach your company, their work, and — most importantly — your customers.