The Importance of Employee Retention in Maintaining a Competitive Edge

Categories: Advice for HR Professionals

Your employees are the most important resource your company has. They keep your business functioning and provide insights that can lead to innovation. Therefore, minimizing their potential to leave your company early is certainly in your best interests.

If you experience high turnover rates, your first step is to identify the reasons your employees are quitting, so that you can address these. That said, all businesses should consider adopting strategies that boost employee retention. This doesn’t just minimize the costs of turnover but can actively contribute to giving your business a competitive advantage. Let’s explore some of the reasons behind this and what you can do to help your workforce thrive.

The Link Between Retention and Success

It’s worth getting a good understanding of what aspects of retention contribute to maintaining an advantageous position. Not only does this provide good motivation for investing in these practices, but can also help you develop strategies that enhance each of the outcomes.

Less retraining

When you retain staff, you’re not having to keep training new employees from scratch. On the one hand, this reduces the costs you’ll spend on training. On the other, it means that you can dedicate resources to meaningfully developing your staff over long periods, resulting in a workforce with more diverse skills.

Stronger staff relationships

When your staff stays with your company for long periods of time, they have greater opportunities to build robust long-term relationships with one another. This tends to contribute to greater team unity and collaboration, as well as their emotional connection to the business. As a result, employees can be more productive and potentially innovative.

Better customer service

Staff retention often means that employees have the time to gain a deeper understanding of consumers’ needs and how to address them. Not to mention that they have a commitment to the values that the company and customers share. This tends to give your brand superior levels of customer service that other brands with higher turnover don’t have access to.

Early Engagement

Meaningful engagement is one of the keys to retention. When employees feel positive about the business and their role within it, they may stay longer and dedicate more of themselves to its success. Engagement is easier to achieve when you put the measures in place to cultivate it at the earliest possible opportunity.

Your efforts for engagement should begin with each employee’s start with the business. There are various challenges during the onboarding process that can impact how well new employees engage. These include difficulties integrating with the company culture and getting sufficient training to be productive and confident.

You can utilize software to help optimize and automate aspects of the onboarding process, minimizing the potential for confusion and saving time. Digital training platforms can keep new employees and trainers on clear training schedules as well as augment the process with eLearning modules.

The cultural elements of the business can also be communicated with a genuine and warm welcome process. Make certain that there are introductions to the people new employees will be working with every day alongside introductions to management. Indeed, assigning peer mentors to buddy with new employees from day one helps address practical needs and shows that the company cares about employees’ experiences. This can boost engagement, which leads to retention.

Streamlining Workloads

Any position comes with a range of responsibilities. This in itself isn’t necessarily a hurdle to retention. If employees feel that they have managers’ trust and that their actions are integral to the business, these can be reasons for staying. The threats to retention arise when these workloads become unmanageable. If employees live with workplace stress, this can lead to burnout that negatively affects their employee experience alongside their commitment to the business.

Certainly, it’s vital to ensure you always have enough staff so that they aren’t overloaded with excessive duties. It’s also good to support employees with practical ways to reduce their workload when they have multiple responsibilities. This can include encouraging managers to delegate appropriate tasks to junior team members. It not only lightens the workload of leaders but can also improve the workplace satisfaction and retention of junior members of staff.

You can also invest in software platforms that automate needlessly repetitive tasks, such as data entry and project task tracking. This minimizes excessive activity while also allowing staff to focus their energies on more complex or creative tasks.

Providing Benefits and Resources

Benefits are often cited as reasons that employees choose to stay with a business. Certainly, benefits are part of a compensation package that shows your company values its employees. However, you can also show a level of care and consideration by ensuring the benefits and resources you provide aren’t just token items but are geared toward practically improving their lives.

Fitness programs

Staying active is a key to your employees’ overall wellness. In addition, fitness can improve productivity. Exercise improves blood flow to the brain, boosting efficiency and focus. Feeling physically healthy can also enhance confidence. Therefore, providing employees with access to fitness resources, such as subsidized gym memberships, is a great route to providing healthier and more satisfying work experiences.

Mental health resources

Studies have shown that psychological risks, such as high stress, are clear signifiers of higher turnover. It is vital for retention and your employees’ wellness to provide mental health resources they can use at work and in their personal lives. This could include access to telehealth therapy that they can utilize at their convenience. Mental health apps that provide tools such as guided mindfulness meditations can also be effective for everyday wellness.


Improving employee retention can make your business more competitive through a more stable workforce and better customer service, among other benefits. It’s important to boost retention with intentional strategies that are in place from the employees’ first days and throughout their lifespan with the business. Some turnover is, of course, natural. However, with the above strategies, you can prevent turnover from damaging your business and ensure a mutually positive experience for both the company and its employees.