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The economy is booming, and unemployment is at record low levels. The biggest burden business owners now have is HOW to retain employees. Needless to say, retaining employees isn’t easy. Talent is DIFFICULT to attract, especially in smaller markets/cities. Employee retention is a simple, and effective method of keeping your best employees, and keeping them happy and ENGAGED. The better your employee retention strategies are, the better off your employee retention rate will be.

If you’re looking for ways to retain employees, here are some great ways to help improve employee retention.

What is employee retention?

It’s your companies ability to keep employees encouraged, and satisfied. Your retention rate is the % of your employees you retain. Generally speaking there is a formula you can use to calculate it:

Number of employees retainer for a period of time / number of employees at the beginning of that time period X 100

Employee Retention Strategies

Employee retention strategies are essentially tactics you use to increase a company’s retention rate. The strategies can be:

  • Monetary
  • Culture based
  • Team based

The goal is to help motivate your team so that productivity and efficiency is increased, which should result in a more positive employee experience.

student loan repayment

Student Loan Repayment Benefits Are One Example

We exist in an economy where business owners are struggling to fill vacancies. One strategy that could have a positive impact on your ability to make your employees stay, or to offer the best quality of employees, is to offer student loan repayment benefits. Right now, many employers are paying off student loans as a way to attract better talent.

Why is Employee Retention Important

It takes time and money to train an employee. That training is an investment and turns into positive growth when the employee starts operating at their full potential.

  • Employee retention ensures your talent stays in your company and willingly puts in their best effort
  • It makes sure that critical employees don’t leave you when you need them
  • Allow the company to function without need for more resources
  • Ensure that employees feel valued, and make them more motivated


Benefits of Employee Retention

Companies with retention strategies

  • Improve employee morale
  • Little to no turnover
  • Reduce costs in long run
  • Reduce time spent on talent acquisition
  • Better customer experience

Companies without retention strategies

  • Employees with mediocre performance
  • High turnover rate
  • Increased costs / lower profits
  • Immense time spent on recruiting due to revolving door of talent

Below are some great pieces of advice provided by fellow thought leaders


— Deborah Sweeney, CEO

I am a business owner with a team of nearly 40 employees. A few of our team members are also ‘boomerang’ employees, meaning that they left the company and returned back a few months or years later to work for us again. I think one of the greatest keys to retaining employees is to create a strong company culture. Our company culture is nimble and collaborative. Because we are a small business, we are able to seek out opportunities for growth and create strategies for how to implement these ideas and take action. This allows us to innovate as a team and create incredible new offerings for our customer base. We all work together and work hard to get the job done.


— Paula Rauenbuehler, CPC, ELI-MP

The single most important relationship in the workplace is the one has with one’s leader.  Businesses who focus on selecting and developing strong leaders will see an impact on their retention.  Many people report staying in a less than perfect job longer because they had a great leader. And-people say they’ve left great jobs because of a poor leader.
Granted, at the entry level wages, a .25-cent difference is enough to lure someone away. Being competitive in your wages is a baseline requirement.  Once you are wage and benefit competitive, it comes down to the workplace-with the leader having a significant influence on the experience of the employees.


— Andrea Joy Wenburg, MA

Competitive pay, benefits, and rewards for performance are the point of entry for any organization who wants to retain employees. However, if you want your organization to stand out as a great place to work, every individual needs to believe that what they do and say matters to the purpose of the organization.
1. Help them find their individual voice. Utilize a simple personality or strengths assessment to increase self-knowledge. A corresponding workshop or coaching can turn that knowledge into self-awareness and an opportunity to step into the fullness of who they are as individuals who have something unique to contribute to the team.
2. Make strategic adjustments to provide opportunities for people use their gifts and contribute their expertise. This could be as simple as acknowledging the various roles people play in meetings. Is someone particularly good at keeping the conversation rolling? Let them facilitate. Is someone else great at being sure you have an action plan before you leave? Let them be in charge of wrapping up the conversation with next steps and follow up expectations. It’s exciting when you see people step into their natural roles with the permission of the group.
3. Connect individual sense of purpose to the purpose of the organization. Be sure you have a clearly articulated purpose for your company. If you’re operating a team within a large organization, you can create a team purpose that contributes to the organization’s purpose. Provide workshops or opportunities for individuals to consider why they care about the articulated purpose. What difference does it make in the world? What difference does it make for them, personally?
When you acknowledge and activate the gifts, expertise, and sense of purpose on your team you’ll stand out as one of the best places to work.


— Topher Reynoso

Offering benefits is definitely an investment by small business owners, but it’s a worthwhile one. When employees receive benefits, they have higher satisfaction, which decreases turnover and increases retention. Offering benefits also levels the playing field when it comes to recruiting talent, which is important in our tight labor market. For SMBs who are concerned about costs, there are ways to slowly step into the benefits pool. For example, most carriers require a 50% contribution, which enables SMB owners to pick a contribution percentage point that makes sense for them and their business. Or, SMB owners can look at an HRA that enables them to pick a flat dollar amount to contribute.


— Tyler Butler


Employee retention is an extremely important matter where companies efficiency is concerned. And all too often it is linked with the level of engagement that employee have with their employer. According to the Cone Communications Employee Engagement Survey 93% of employees surveyed want to work for a company that cares about them as an individual; 51% won’t work for a company that doesn’t have strong social and environmental commitments and 74% say their job is more fulfilling when they are provided opportunities to make a positive impact at work.

So, it would hold true that companies whose priorities include engagement activities would have a greater retention rate, as well as, a more productive and happy workforce. Employees can often become complacent in their roles though. A main byproduct of this complacency is lowered productivity and increased churn. In today’s fast moving society employers can improve upon employee commitment and retain top talent by implementing the right engagement offerings. Programs that serve to inspire, develop and connect employees are a key component in keeping employees committed.

By implementing meaningful programs that excite and motivate employees companies can continue to develop and inspire team members. Creating a fervent employee volunteer program that allows for paid time off to volunteer and facilitates company organized volunteer activities can be a key way to ensure employee’s engagement and commitment. Through these offerings team members can authentically connect with causes that matter to them and at the same time develop skills that can help to support and enhance their careers. Not to mention the opportunity to potentially elevate their station in a business where promotions are concerned.

Employee resource groups (ERG) or diversity and inclusion (D&I) programs are another equally important offering that can serve to garnish greater commitment from employees. The opportunity to bring together disparate members of your employee population in order to champion a cause, educate them on issues relevant to them and create a sense of community are amazingly effective when looking to improve upon employees commitment and retention.

Through effective engagement activities you can not only create a more motivated employee base, but companies can also foster a greater sense of loyalty from their teams and in the process create great brand ambassadors. After all, happy employees are often the best tool where recruiting and retention are concerned.



— Jesse Silkoff, Co-Founder and President

My name is Jesse Silkoff, founder of MyRoofingPal, an online marketplace that connects people with the best local residential and commercial roofers in 4,000 cities across the U.S.
In my opinion, the best way to retain talent is to nurture and develop that talent while you have it. We offer a transparent path to advancement for all employees, giving them mentors in their field and any other field they may be interested in transitioning to. We help pay for education and certifications, and actively encourage our employees to think about the longevity of their career and where they want to be in five, ten, or even twenty years.
Investing in the future of your employees should be a no-brainer, but so many companies don’t do this. I don’t know if it’s a fear that it isn’t worth the cost or something else, because I’d much rather have long-term team members who grow with the company instead of forcing everyone to train up new people every year.
In addition to this, benefits also go a long way toward keeping employees healthy and happy. Several of our employees have left jobs in the past because a change in circumstances required better insurance coverage, more flexible time off, or the ability to work from home. We try to be as flexible as possible, offering unlimited PTO and remote positions for employees who need it. It gives them peace of mind and makes them far more likely to stay and advance their career with us rather than someone else.



— Jeff Arnett, Founder of Arnett Designs

Arnett Designs

As a business owner myself, I try to create an environment where my employees feel valued. Make sure you are recognizing your top performers, whether it is verbally or even with a small gift such as a gift card, a special parking space, a free lunch, etc. When employees are recognized for their hard work, they’re more likely to continue to work that way and stay motivated.

A great way to retain employees is to have great internal communication. Employees look for a great work environment to work at in which they can be collaborative with other team members. When you have a good company culture, it makes employees look forward to coming to work every day.

Keep employees involved and show them you care about their growth and development in the business. Employees like to know their way to promotion and what that consists of for them to be on the right track. It is important to keep current employees happy and motivated as they were their first day.

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