What is your employee retention strategy?

by | Jun 20, 2022 | Leadership, Strategy

When I talk with clients, their number one issue is talent. Most are struggling to hire the employees they need, and many are concerned about losing key talent. I suggest employers focus on three areas:

  1. Compare employee vs. employer needs
  2. Focus on employee engagement
  3. Provide and invite feedback

Compare employee vs. employer needs: In a McKinsey Quarterly article, the authors compared what is important to employees vs. what employers think is important to employees. There were some differences. For example, employers underestimated the importance of the following to employees (Exhibit 5):

  1. Valued by organization
  2. Valued by manager
  3. Sense of belonging
  4. Potential for advancement
  5. Having caring and trusting teammates
  6. Flexible work schedules

I encourage you to review the article to also look at what employers overestimate the importance of to employees. In addition, leaders should ask their employees what is important to them. 

Focus on employee engagement: Gallup’s (2019) research has led to identifying “The 12 Elements of Great Management” that can be answered by employees to determine the level of engagement of individuals and entire organizations. They have linked these elements to aspects like employee turnover and absenteeism.

  1. I know what is expected of me at work.
  2. I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right. 
  3. At work, I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day.
  4. In the last seven days, I have received recognition or praise for doing good work.
  5. My supervisor, or someone at work, seems to care about me as a person.
  6. There is someone at work who encourages my development.
  7. At work, my opinions seem to count.
  8. The mission or purpose of my organization makes me feel my job is important.
  9. My associates or fellow employees are committed to doing quality work.
  10. I have a best friend at work.
  11. In the last six months, someone at work has talked to me about my progress.
  12. This last year, I have had opportunities at work to learn and grow. (pp. 286-300)

How are your leaders focusing on employee engagement?

Provide and invite feedback: The job search process is faster than ever before due to technology and companies trying to navigate the labor shortage. As a result, it is important for leaders to know how their employees are doing. Waiting until the annual performance review is too late. 

According to Franchell (2022), “A sense of purpose, feeling supported and cared about, and a learning, supportive culture are all important elements for employees. These components, along with feedback, play a significant role in enabling culture and keeping talent. Feedback, however, is often overlooked by companies, and this element is vital in any successful organization.”

Leaders must strive to ensure there is a feedback-rich environment that includes two-way communication between the leadership and employees. We live in an on-demand world that allows us to stream music and shows, access banking information, order food, etc., at the push of a few buttons. How will you work to provide and invite feedback?

We provide customized leadership coaching and training. How can we help you? Please contact us for more information.


Clifton, J., & Harter, J. (2019). It’s the manager. Gallup Press.

DeSmet, A., Dowling, B., Mugayar-Baldocchi, M., & Schaninger, B. (2021, Sept. 8). ‘Great attrition’ or ‘Great attraction’? The choice is yours. McKinsey Quarterly. Retrieved from: https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/people-and-organizational-performance/our-insights/great-attrition-or-great-attraction-the-choice-is-yours?cid=eml-web 

Franchell, J. (2022, June 3). Feedback is often the missing piece of the employee retention puzzle. Forbes. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2022/06/03/feedback-is-often-the-missing-piece-of-the-employee-retention-puzzle/?sh=77953db15276