People Management
7 min.

8 Tips to Boost Your Employee Retention

Andrée-Anne Blais-Auclair
Last updated on 22 Dec. 2023
Published on 9 Mar. 2022
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Developing loyalty in employees is supremely important—in fact, it’s the number one factor in employee retention.

Table of contents

Neglecting employee loyalty has serious consequences, such as absenteeism in the workplace and a negative work atmosphere. Not to mention the staggering costs associated with staff turnover.

There are several factors that play a big role in employee loyalty.

Attracting and Retaining Employees: What’s the Difference?

Talent attraction is a strategic process aiming to target talented employees and attract them to the company. Attracting new employees is the first step in the hiring process. This is especially true during a labor shortage.

Loyalty also begins during the attraction stage, but continues throughout the employee’s relationship with the company.

Loyalty development can be described as a set of actions to promote and preserve employees’ sense of belonging and loyalty to an organization.

Loyalty has the power to turn employees into natural ambassadors for the company.

These ambassadors enhance the organization’s image and attract customers and even potential employees by openly praising the company they work for.

Employee Loyalty Is Rooted in Emotion

Developing employee loyalty is not about having ping pong tables in the dining room or offering high salaries. At the very least, these initiatives are not enough.

Instead, loyalty is achieved through a corporate culture that sparks deep emotions in its employees.

These deeper emotions are what will secure and develop loyalty. Examples include pride, a sense of buying into a common project, and shared values.

How to Develop Employee Loyalty: 8 Key Conditions

1. A well-designed recruitment process

Why is this essential?

The steps in a well thought-out recruitment process certainly help to recruit employees, but more importantly, they make sure that the right employees are hired, i.e., employees who have the potential to be loyal to the organization.

How does it work?

An effective recruitment process helps ensure a fit in terms of personality and values between the candidate and the rest of the team. This fit is promising, as it helps cement team cohesion and ensures that the new employee is committed to the organization’s values and mission.

An ideal recruitment process is carefully designed and accurately evaluates if the relationship is likely to last and the individual’s needs will be met by the job.

2. A clear, engaging mission

Why is this essential?

There is nothing more powerful than an employee who adopts the company’s mission and makes it their own. A study has also shown that an emotional connection to an organization such as “I love and am proud of the company I work for” will lead an employee to support and actively participate in the changes that the company pursues.

How does it work?

For the mission to be engaging, it must be clear, often repeated, and above all, it must be brought to life through concrete action. For example, our mission at Agendrix is to make management about people first. This mission guides every decision we make in-house: monthly satisfaction surveys are sent to employees, team-building activities are held on a regular basis free of charge, and more. As a result, employees know that their employer is consistent and genuine in their intentions. As the saying goes, you have to walk the talk.

3. Making work meaningful

Why is this essential?

Did you know that 9 out of 10 people would be willing to earn less money if it meant they could do work that was meaningful to them? Meaning is what makes employees feel useful and gives them the sense that their job contributes to their personal development or has an impact on the world around them.

Making your employees’ activities meaningful has a significant impact on their engagement and motivation at work.

This drive to make a difference in the lives of others is what motivates many employees working in the helping professions, among others. A good example is Catherine Fabi, an art project coordinator at Accueil Bonneau since 2015, whom I had the good fortune to meet. Over the past 6 years, her passion and mission, which she cares deeply about, have been undeterred by the many challenges facing communities. She puts her commitment to her work down to a combination of factors. She finds it important to see the concrete results of her actions in terms of improving the quality of life of the people she meets. She also values being able to leverage her various passions and skills—in this case art, creativity, intellectual development and helping relationships.

How does it work?

The meaning of work is closely bound up with a company’s mission and values, as well as the tasks and responsibilities of employees. The best way to make sure that your employees find meaning in their work is to recruit people whose personalities, needs, values and ambitions are in alignment with what the organization can offer them.

4. Exciting career advancement opportunities

Why is this essential?

Advancement opportunities are an important motivating factor for employees and fill the need for professional accomplishment. They are also a form of recognition.

At Euphorik hair salon, Naomie told me the story behind her loyalty to her employer over the past five years. What motivate her most about her work are the challenging goals of her work environment, as well as the opportunity to pursue her passion and work with a caring manager and a close-knit team.

Importantly, Euphorik hair salon is part of the Summit program, which allows hairdressers to be rewarded based on the experience they gain. When they move to the next level, they enjoy a higher salary plus the status associated with their higher prestige.

How does it work?

Some companies with small teams or more horizontal structures have limited opportunities for advancement. But it is possible to get creative: you can form a committee to exercise leadership, let an employee develop their own project, delegate some of the responsibilities that usually fall to the manager, offer a reward program based on effort and training, and so much more.

5. A strong community spirit

Why is this essential?

Work is primarily about relationships. Not just about relationships among other things. Primarily about relationships.

Work relationships that are nurturing make the time spent at work more enjoyable. Relationships are the glue that creates cohesion and makes for efficient teamwork. According to the Léger Happiness Index, relationships between colleagues are directly linked to happiness and satisfaction at work.

Conversely, toxic relationships, conflicts and strained atmospheres impair performance and increase absenteeism and employee departures. An employee who finds friends at work will be considerably more loyal to their employer.

How does it work?

When it comes to building strong relationships between employees, nothing beats team building activities. Team building is best done on a regular basis and soon after a new employee is hired. It helps integrate newcomers and allows people to get to know one another from a different, non-work perspective.

6. Recognition from the employer

Why is this essential?

Recognition is a primary human need. At work, it is the fourth most important of the twelve values that matter most to Quebecers. Even so, 42% of Quebec workers surveyed in the Quebec survey on working conditions, employment and OHS feel that their need for recognition at work is not being met.

Recognition promotes employee retention because it influences self-esteem, a sense of accomplishment and achievement, and a feeling of usefulness.

Ève Gauthier, a pharmacist and the owner of two pharmacies, joined a team made up of many employees who had been loyal for years. She described to me the tremendous challenge of preserving this team. Recognition, she told me, is an inherent part of her employee retention strategy.

In her view, thanking her team after a difficult day is as important as congratulating employees for their good work. She also stressed the importance of giving concrete feedback, for example by sharing the day’s statistics with employees.

How does it work?

You can offer recognition through thanks, surprises and rewards but also simply by highlighting good work or showing a willingness to hear your team’s opinion. And believe me, it works!

7. A caring boss

Why is this essential?

Managers have great power over the retention of their employees given that their actions directly affect the team’s job satisfaction.

Employee motivation has been found to rise when the manager is caring, and stress has been found to drop as a result. Caring allows the manager to be empathetic towards the members of their team, to put themselves in their shoes and to take them into account when making decisions and interacting with them.

How does it work?

Managers must make empathy, caring and emotional intelligence their focus. The first step to this end is undoubtedly to change one’s perception of these qualities. They are not signs of weakness or hypersensitivity, but of wisdom.

A caring manager must have the wisdom to listen and be aware of what their employees are going through, and to perceive this sensitivity toward others as a form of strength and courage.

8. Working conditions

Why is this essential?

Providing employees with competitive working conditions  has a direct impact on their quality of life. Good examples include flexible hours, the option of telecommuting, and work-life-family balance measures.

Working conditions are competitive when they genuinely take into account each individual’s unique context and seek the well-being of all employees. An employer who demonstrates a willingness to offer their team good working conditions and to update them regularly is sending a signal that their employees are important. At Agendrix, not a single employee has left the organization in the last six years, and the flexibility we offer is a big part of the reason why.

How does it work?

Many managers, primarily in small companies, mistakenly believe that offering their team attractive working conditions is impossible because of the high costs it would entail. However, without offering group insurance, employers can get creative to show consideration to their employees. Examples can include wellness days during the year, additional holidays, more vacation time, flexible working hours, and a shift from the normal 40-hour week to 35 hours.

Retaining Employees Is a Matter of Priorities

Managers all seek a magic recipe that will make their businesses successful. Where should they put their focus—the product/service, the clients or the employees?

One thing is for sure: employers who focus on employee loyalty are sure to hit all the bases: loyal employees will care for your customers as if they were their own and offer your product or service as if they were doing it on their own behalf.

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