Millions of Americans quit their jobs every year, but in 2016 this trend was on the rise. In September alone 3.1 million workers voluntarily left their positions(1). This number is the second-highest since before the Great Recession, and such a high number suggests that America’s economy is on the up and up. Workers are leaving their jobs because they feel confident about their employment prospects.

The high number of quits in 2016 communicates more than worker confidence, however. It also reveals that employers are struggling to keep their workers. Hundreds of thousands of jobs are opening up around the country, so employees have plenty of options. This means that employers need to be thinking strategically about employee retention. Fortunately, there are several techniques you can use to help ensure that your employees will stick around.

  1. The Benefit of Benefits

Employees will be attracted to a benefits package that is both comprehensive and competitive. Providing health insurance and life insurance is key in retaining employees, as is supplying a retirement-savings plan. But you may also want to consider any additional benefits offered by competitors. Going above and beyond the norm will show employees that you care about their well-being and value their loyalty. Tuition reimbursement can be especially valuable, given that the average amount of student loan debt is current around the $37,000 mark(2). Tuition assistance encourages employees to advance their career, since the courses being reimbursed must relate to job duties. In addition to tuition reimbursement, employees may consider child-care benefits or holiday bonuses as incentives for employee loyalty.

  1. Open-Door Policy

Employee retention comes down to employee appreciation: employees who feel valued will be less likely to leave. An open-door policy shows that you care about what your workers think and want to hear their thoughts. Giving employees a say makes them feel like they’re part of a team, which makes them more likely to be loyal.

  1. Affirmation

Few things build employee loyalty as well as affirmation of great work. A job well done deserves to be noticed. Taking the time to acknowledge and express gratitude for your employees’ work can go a long way. Thanking someone in person, or praising them in front of their peers, will make them feel valued. An ‘employee of the month’ program or recognition in a group email can have the same effect.

  1. Prioritize Well-being

Health and wellness programs are another great way to boost employee retention rates. The physical, mental, and emotional health of a worker matters. An overworked or overly-stressed employee can only go for so long before something has to give. Healthy employees do the best work, and if you prioritize their well-being they will be more likely to stick with you.

  1. Build Community

Financial benefits and praise from a superior only go so far. No man is an island, and a lack of community can make many workers question their future. If employees feel like they’re a valuable part of a team they will be more likely to stay around. It is much more difficult to leave one’s workplace if it feels like one would be leaving behind friendships and camaraderie.

  1. Incentive Programs

While many organizations use performance incentives for merchandise, best-in-class companies use incentives for long term objectives. For example, a company looking to boost revenue for a specific period of time may use a travel incentive award to recognize top performers.  Travel incentives, unlike monetary rewards, bonuses or benefit programs, have both tangible and intangible benefits for both organizations and awardees.  Additionally, the impact of a travel incentive program has long reaching impact that encourages average workers to perform at higher levels and challenges top performers to accelerate their performances.


The key to employee retention is making workers feel valued. An employee should see themselves as a genuine asset to a team they care about. Whether via comprehensive benefits or public affirmation such as a travel incentive bonus, a worker who feels appreciated is a worker who will stay loyal.


Eloisa Mendez