How to Retain Quality Employees. Hint: It’s Not About Compensation!

How to Retain Quality Employees. Hint: It’s Not About Compensation!

Employee retention is a challenge for employers in the best of times, and these are not the best of times. Nearly 4 million people jumped ship from their jobs in May 2021 alone. The next month, even more people left their jobs. The trend has continued into this fall as remote work, burnout from having to facilitate virtual school, and a general reset of people’s life goals and priorities are here to stay. The New York Times published an article in September 2021 about the phenomenon of workers who started jobs during the pandemic and have never met a single colleague in person. Unsurprisingly, it is easy for those workers to quit because they have formed no attachments with managers or co-workers.[1]

So how do you hang onto the employees you want to retain and engage, especially in this tight labor market? We’ve got five tried and true strategies from our years in talent strategy, helping employers build effective teams. Hint: None of our tips has anything to do with compensation.

Here are two of our five tips:

  • Create Employee Feedback Loops

It is a universal truth that employees want more communication, not less, from their managers. We recommend creating regular check ins. A “First Friday” standing appointment between manager and employee, and/or Town Hall- style meetings for the entire organization, can provide routine, regular opportunities for employees to give updates and present challenges they are facing in their work. More importantly, you must address concerns in a reasonable time frame. If issues from these regular meetings need to be escalated, be sure to report back on what was discussed and what decisions were made.

  • Make “Stay” Interviews Standard Practice

Prospective employees often go through an extensive interview process before they are hired. But what happens after that to ensure they are still feeling connected to their role and your organization? Scheduling a stay interview at regular intervals, especially in the first year of employment, can go a long way in helping you address a new employee’s concerns. A stay interview gives you the chance to intervene and provide more training or support before your employee starts looking elsewhere. These interviews should be conducted every six months, ideally.

Here are our favorite stay interview questions:

  1. Are you satisfied with your job characteristics and was it what you expected?
  2. Do you feel adequately trained for your role?
  3. How do you find your workload?
  4. What is your favorite thing about the job?
  5. What would you change about the job?
  6. What can we do more of/less of to support you?


To discuss three more tips to improve employee retention, reach out to us here.