Business Owner Resource Center

Improve your operations and grow your business with resources and best practices from BBSI's business consultants.

  a group of employees with their boss discuss their employee retention strategy

A Guidebook to Getting Your Employee Retention Strategy Right

High employee turnover can be a tiring and costly uphill battle for businesses. 

Despite dedicating considerable time, effort, and resources to finding suitable candidates, the challenge of retaining talent can be persistent. 

This perpetual cycle of hiring and training employees strains finances, impedes cultural development, and can directly affect customer satisfaction.

Listen to the article: A Guidebook to Getting Your Employee Retention Strategy Right


In this guidebook, you’ll find everything you need to fix high employee turnover with the right employee retention strategy, including:

  • The actual costs of high turnover
  • The fundamentals of effective employee retention
  • The importance of ongoing employee development
  • How to use technology to enhance retention efforts
  • How to implement a streamlined hiring process

Once you can address turnover issues head-on, you’ll be able to cultivate a more engaged, resilient workforce.

Prioritizing Employee Retention Strategy is a Financial Necessity

Recruitment is expensive.

According to Gallup, U.S. employers spend about $1 trillion — with a T — yearly on recruiting and replacing workers. This encompasses advertising, interviewing, screening, and onboarding. When you factor in direct and indirect expenses, replacing a single employee can cost anywhere from one-half to two times the employee’s annual salary.

Then there’s the fact that new employees simply won’t be as productive as their more experienced peers. An Allied survey estimated that a newly hired employee could take up to 12 months to reach full productivity, further adding to the cost of turnover and recruitment.

Multiply this every time you replace an experienced worker, and it’s clear that companies who aren’t doing everything they can to limit voluntary turnover are costing themselves serious money.

It's Not Just About the Cost

Yes, it’s expensive to constantly find and train new talent. But ultimately, a lack of ability to retain experienced workers is the deeper problem. If left unaddressed, this retention deficit could lead to more serious issues down the line, including: 

  • Low Morale: Employees who are used to seeing team members come and go may feel like any efforts to get to know their peers are futile.
  • Poor Team Cohesion: It’s difficult to constantly re-form productive work relationships, which means employees are likely to silo themselves and learn not to rely on their teammates.
  • Bad Customer Service: Employees who aren’t sold on the vision will find it more difficult to keep what’s best for the company in mind when dealing with frustrated customers.
  • A Non-Existent Culture: Buy-in is contagious, which means constant turnover will sabotage any attempts leadership makes to instill a productive culture.
  • Low Employee Engagement: High turnover can lead to constant reshuffles of teams and leadership, which means employees may lack the relationships they need to remain engaged at work.

Though some voluntary turnover is unavoidable — people move, change careers, or retire all the time — organizations committed to fostering strong and efficient teams should implement strategies to retain their top employees.

3 Pillars of a Robust Employee Retention Strategy

You don’t have to solve your employee retention problem by figuring out what would make each individual employee at your company happier. There’s a much simpler way to improve the overall level of employee satisfaction and retention.

Here are the foundational pillars of a robust employee retention strategy that you can use to boost employee retention.

1. Company Culture

Company culture can be hard to pin down and even harder to make impactful changes to when you don’t know where to start. 

However, there are ways you can promote a set of values, beliefs, and behaviors that contribute to your company’s overall success.

Articulate the Vision: You need a unifying message to motivate employees. Other than their paycheck, what are your team members working towards? It should get to the heart of why you’re in business. The more authentic the message, the better. 

Lead by Example: Stating your goals, vision, values, and company ethics is the first step in the process. To generate buy-in, you need to be the change you want to see. Incentivize leaders to follow the mission and promote the culture individually.

Collect Feedback and Adapt: Regularly collecting and acting on employee feedback helps address their needs and concerns, contributing to a more positive workplace environment​ and a team that constantly strives to embody your stated vision.

2. Strong Leadership

Once you’ve established a great culture by stating a vision and incentivizing it from the top down, you must do everything you can to keep it in place. As alluded to above, this starts at the top.

Strong leadership involves an organization's leaders' ability to inspire, influence, and guide others toward achieving the company’s goals. Effective leaders clearly communicate the company's vision, demonstrate empathy, and make strategic decisions that benefit the organization and its employees.

Improving leadership is a systematic process that involves steps like:

Communicating Transparently: Leaders should practice open and honest communication, keeping employees informed about company goals, changes, and expectations. This builds trust and fosters a supportive work environment.

Coaching the Coaches: Investing in development programs can enhance the skills of current and future leaders, enabling them to manage teams more effectively and empathetically.

3. Compensation & Benefits

The elephant in the room when it comes to employee retention is compensation.

Supporting a family, achieving your personal goals and dreams, and planning for retirement require adequate compensation. If your employees aren’t getting a fair rate for their services, the odds of keeping them around become slimmer.

You can buy a bit of leeway with a rewarding and engaging company culture. Still, it won’t go all the way if your compensation and benefits are significantly below the market rate. To avoid this:

  • Regularly review and adjust salaries to ensure you meet or exceed industry standards.
  • Explore comprehensive benefits packages that include health insurance, retirement savings, PTO, and flexible working conditions to cater to a diverse workforce.
  • Consider personalizing benefits to meet the individual needs of employees.

Investing in Employees: The Role of Mentorship Programs

Mentorship programs contribute to retention by offering a chance to reflect and promote the organization's goals and values, with senior employees providing guidance to help junior staff advance their careers.

Mentorship programs aren’t just surrogate training sessions. They can also offer leadership teams and experienced staff a chance to gain fresh perspectives from newer employees. 

A strong mentorship program facilitates leadership development by identifying and preparing employees for future organizational roles.

a group of warehouse workers talking

Steps to Implement a Mentorship Program

The best mentorships are organic. They work because senior and junior employees are given the chance to freely explore the intricacies of their roles within the company.

Implementing mentorship programs provides a framework for this relationship to develop.

  1.       Establish the Framework: Select participants based on business needs, personality, skills, and professional goals. Your goal is to provide a format, objective, duration, and support (technological and otherwise) needed to foster an open and productive learning environment.
  2.       Incentivize Buy-In: This is especially important for your mentors, who must see the value of dedicating part of their day to helping a mentee learn the ropes. Emphasizing leadership development opportunities can go a long way here.
  3.       Pilot and Reassess: Start on a small scale and be ready to change your initial plans based on feedback from mentors and mentees.
  4.       Regular Check-Ins: Provide a format for regular communications and check-ins to ensure the program is proceeding as intended and to continuously improve it over time.

Promoting Employee Wellbeing and Work-Life Balance

Everyone is susceptible to burnout, boredom, and frustration if their daily efforts have little impact on their overall workload. Employees who don’t feel empowered to manage their work-life balance may fall into this pit and find it impossible to climb back out, increasing the odds they’ll start looking for new opportunities.

As a leader, you can help by encouraging employees to take vacation time, speak up when they feel overwhelmed, and express their concerns if they think they aren’t being valued as much as they should be.

Remote Work & Flexible Scheduling

Remote schedules have their pitfalls, but in the right situation, a hybrid setup can be a helpful lever that allows employees you trust to manage their personal lives and work responsibilities without the added pressure of a daily commute.

It can also expand your available talent pool, allowing access to more ideal candidates.

Employees who are primarily responsible for deliverables and aren’t always needed during regular business hours can also benefit from flexible schedules.

Encouraging Time-Off

Employees may feel they cannot afford to take time off for fear that their daily responsibilities will pile up.

Consider a policy of mandatory vacation time. Support this by clarifying that no single employee is make-or-break for the company’s daily functions. Anyone who needs time off can take it without fear of returning to a mountain of tasks that no one handled while they were gone.

Wellness Programs

Implementing programs that promote physical and mental health can help employees achieve a better work-life balance.

Examples include:

  • Health Screenings
  • Physical Fitness Programs
  • Nutrition & Weight Management Counseling
  • Mental Health Support
  • Wellness Challenges & Incentives

Why Technology Should Be Part Of Your Employee Retention Strategy

Modernizing your software stack can help support your retention initiatives.

Everything from enabling remote work to fostering employee engagement can be made easier with the right technology solution. Here are a few examples:


Chat tools like Slack, Teams, and Asana make it easier for employees to collaborate and communicate throughout the day.

These platforms can reduce silos, promote transparency, and increase a sense of belonging among employees.

Development and Learning

Employees who feel confident their employers are committed to their professional development are more likely to feel valued and appreciated at work.

80% of employees say they want more learning content from their employers, and the best way to deliver this is with a dedicated learning platform.

For example, BBSI U is an online learning management system that offers business owners custom curriculum catalogs for everything from HR and professional development to safety.

Incentives and Rewards

Recognizing and rewarding your outstanding employees means keeping them satisfied and hungry to keep improving.

Modern HR software includes tools to efficiently manage performance evaluations alongside things like time-off requests and payroll in a single system, streamlining recognition and ensuring your awareness of who your best performers are.

Streamlining the Hiring Process

Streamlining the hiring process will help attract top talent and lay a strong foundation for long-term employee retention.

A well-optimized hiring process can significantly impact an employee's initial perception of the company, ongoing satisfaction with their role, and overall engagement levels.

Setting Clear Expectations

Writing job descriptions that clearly outline responsibilities, company culture, and growth opportunities helps set realistic expectations for candidates. When employees find their expectations met, they are more likely to be satisfied and stay with the company.

Professional Onboarding

A structured and professional onboarding program will give your new employees confidence that your company is a tightly run ship with clear expectations. Follow this up by ensuring they have the tools, resources, and support needed to hit the ground running on day one.

Leverage Technology for Efficiency

When competing for top talent, leading with efficient technology can demonstrate your company’s commitment to quality in every aspect of your business.

Implementing HR software solutions for applicant tracking, video interviewing, and candidate assessments can help streamline the hiring process, making it more efficient and effective.

Drive Employee Retention With BBSI’s Efficiency, Technology, and Strategy

A business that has mastered its employee retention strategy is more profitable, stable, and enjoyable to work for. 

For companies struggling with retention and looking for a business partner with the expertise to navigate employee management, BBSI is ready to help.

Our teams of experts can help any business escape the tumultuous cycle of replacing employees through a combination of technology, business strategy, and access to benefits solutions that make it easy to incentivize employee wellbeing.

Regardless of your location or industry, we have experienced staff who can break down your retention problems into manageable changes and help you see them through.

Ready to meet your new employee retention expert? Get in touch with your local BBSI representative today, and let’s start building.


Disclaimer: The contents of this white-paper/blog have been prepared for educational and information purposes only. Reference to any specific product, service, or company does not constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by BBSI. This white-paper/blog may include links to external websites which are owned and operated by third parties with no affiliation to BBSI. BBSI does not endorse the content or operators of any linked websites, and does not guarantee the accuracy of information on external websites, nor is it responsible for reliance on such information. The content of this white-paper/blog does not provide legal advice or legal opinions on any specific matters. Transmission of this information is not intended to create, and receipt does not constitute, a lawyer-client relationship between BBSI, the author(s), or the publishers and you. You should not act or refrain from acting on any legal matter based on the content without seeking professional counsel.

Subscribe to our Monthly Business Owner Resource Center Newsletter