Employee retention measures for HR managers

Attracting talent to the company is no easy task today against the backdrop of the prevailing shortage of skilled workers. However, retaining the talents gained for a long time in the company is the great art. One that many companies do not yet seem to have mastered. After all, according to recent studies, almost half of young talent say they are thinking about changing jobs and looking at other positions.

The employee is our most valuable asset.

Carl von Ossietzky

How can companies prevent this and keep their employees in the company? - They must take measures to retain employees and significantly increase employee satisfaction. This task falls to HR managers in particular, but also to company executives. Learn more about it in this article.

Almost 50% of young professionals are considering a job change

Companies today invest a great deal of time and money in recruiting talent. This is necessary in view of the prevailing shortage of skilled workers. It is then frustrating when employees who have been recruited leave the company again after a short time. In this context, the term "job hopping" is used. This refers to the frequent changing of jobs.

To investigate how often employees actually consider changing jobs, the Trendence Young Professionals Barometer 2019 surveyed more than 20,000 young academic professionals. They were also asked about their reasons for quitting or changing jobs.

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Who has considered changing jobs?

First, this study found that 20% of young professionals are actively looking for a new job in 2019, and 29% inquire about new jobs from time to time. Overall, that's nearly 50% of young professionals considering a job change - a significant number.

Why do young people leave their jobs?

When asked about the reasons for considering their job change, the answer was that they were dissatisfied with their current employers. In 2019, for example, about 22% of young professionals say they are "rather dissatisfied" to "very dissatisfied" with their current employment. Compared to the previous year, this is around 5% more.

What are the reasons for young people's job dissatisfaction?

When they were further asked what they were specifically dissatisfied with, "a poor management style" was the most frequent response with 37.5%. In second place came "unfair salary" with 32,1% of responses. It is often apparent that salaries and salary increases are set too low with regard to current inflation. If these are below current inflation and the purchasing power of the employee's salary falls, they rightly speak of an "unfair salary". Last and in third place is "lack of appreciation" with 20,4% of the votes as a reason for dissatisfaction in the company.

These seem to be the three most important aspects that employers need to work on in order to avoid fluctuations and the resulting loss of money. Or to put it positively: a good management style, a fair salary and appreciation towards employees increases employee satisfaction and ultimately employee retention.

Employee retention as an effective tool to counteract job changes

Employee retention is fundamentally the responsibility of HR managers. According to a survey by HAYS, it is even the top topic of HR managers at the present time. However, it is not only HR managers who should be thinking about suitable measures for employee retention, but also the leaders of a company.

In general, employee retention encompasses all measures aimed at retaining employees in the medium to long term. A bundle of measures that are planned and implemented is also referred to as a retention program. The focus is usually on top performers such as key experts or highly qualified specialists in the company. If employee retention measures are applied selectively to them, this is also referred to as selective employee retention.

The benefits of good employee retention measures are many and varied. They include the following:

  • The fluctuation rate is kept low.
  • Recruiting costs and costs of vacancy are reduced.
  • Existing employees are more likely to recommend their employer to others.
  • Employer branding is strengthened.
  • The working atmosphere is fundamentally improved and cohesion is strengthened.
  • The standard of performance by qualified employees is maintained or increased (quality assurance).
  • Important know-how is retained.
  • Customer loyalty is increased through consistent contact persons.

What concrete measures can be taken to strengthen employee loyalty?

The measures that can be taken by HR managers and leaders to strengthen employee loyalty are many and varied. Below, we suggest a few that aim to counteract the reasons for employee dissatisfaction cited in the Trendence Young Professionals Barometer 2019 . These were:

  • a bad management style,
  • an unfair salary
  • and a lack of appreciation

Work environment & work organization

A basic prerequisite for employee satisfaction is, first of all, that their working environment is attractive and that they enjoy coming to work. The measures that can be taken to achieve this are diverse and depend on each company individually. In principle, positive incentives can be created in many places. The following are some suggestions:

  • free coffee, snacks, fresh fruit
  • a high-quality canteen
  • own offices
  • professional equipment

In addition, the way work is organized in the company has a significant impact on employee satisfaction and, ultimately, employee retention. Particularly for the younger generations, the Millennials and Generation Z, the way in which work is organized or what freedom is offered is of great importance. The following measures generally have a positive impact on attractiveness as an employer:

  • Option of Home office
  • Offer of flexible working hours
  • Option of part-time work (e.g. a 30-hour week)
  • Offer of childcare

If the working environment and work organization are designed accordingly and adapted to the needs of employees, they will feel valued and appreciated. And finally, appreciation is one of the most important prerequisites for employee satisfaction and retention.

Development & career

Furthermore, employee retention increases when employees have the opportunity to develop further within the company and move up in their position. HR managers and executives are therefore advised to offer their employees further training measures such as business coachings in which they can develop and strengthen individual skills as required. It is important that employers then also enable their employees to advance and offer fair pay. After all, the Trendence Young Professionals Barometer 2019 shows how important a good, fair salary is for (young) employees.

Advantages & benefits

A fair salary is a basic requirement for employee satisfaction. Beyond the monthly payment, however, there are other benefits and advantages that employees value highly. In fact, it is often these that give employers added value over others and retain employees. The following are examples:

  • Provision of a company cell phone or laptop
  • Payment of vacation and/or Christmas bonuses 
  • Provision of a company car or payment of a travel allowance
  • Providing an annual pass for local transport
  • Offer of a company pension plan
  • Prospect of bonus payments


HR managers and leaders should not underestimate the positive impact that health promotion measures have on employee satisfaction and retention. After all, employees feel valued when the company takes care of their health. There are also positive effects for employers. After all, a healthy workforce also has fewer sick days. HR managers and executives should consider the following health-promoting measures:

  • Health courses
  • Nutritional counseling
  • Vaccination campaigns
  • Company sports programs

Communication and culture

If HR managers and leaders implement some of the measures mentioned above, employees will think much more positively of management. Appreciation on the part of management, be it a salary increase, a sports offer or business coaching, is a decisive criterion for a good leadership style. And attention should be paid to such a style, because according to the Trendence Young Professionals Barometer 2019 , a "bad leadership style" is the number one reason for employee dissatisfaction in the company and also often a reason for changing jobs.

In this context, it cannot be mentioned often enough how important communication is for a good leadership style. First of all, leaders must be able to communicate the meaning of the work, i.e. the why and for what, to the employees. This helps to increase the sense of belonging and identification with the task. A common mission statement among employees will strengthen their motivation and ultimately their satisfaction in the company.

Employee meetings can also be an effective tool for communication and culture. These should be held one-to-one with a fixed date (e.g. every 4 weeks) in an undisturbed atmosphere. On the one hand, this allows employees to grow based on constant feedback. On the other hand, leaders can get suggestions and valuable criticism from their employees, which in turn makes employees feel valued. 

Employee discussions will help to identify grievances or dissatisfaction in the company at an early stage. If leaders have knowledge of such, they can act accordingly. In this context, leaders must be able to deal constructively with criticism and conflicts. It should be clear that this is no easy task for leaders. 

It is therefore all the more helpful if they are offered measures to improve their leadership and communication style. Specialized business coachings  that focus on leadership and communication are particularly promising.

Our conclusion

All of the above mentioned measures strengthen employee satisfaction and increase employee retention. However, not all measures are equally suitable for every company. It depends, for example, on the size of the company or the age of the employees. For example, young fathers or mothers are in favor of flexible working hours and childcare options. Childless employees, on the other hand, are more likely to want other measures, such as company sports or continuing education programs. For every company, it is therefore important to consider which measures are suitable for their workforce and actually increase their satisfaction - an important task for HR staff and leaders.

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FAQ: Employee retention measures

How to measure employee retention?

You can calculate the employee retention rate by dividing the number of employees with one year or more of service by the number of employees in those positions one year ago.

Why is retention strategy important in HR planning?

Employee retention strategy is essential in HR planning because the HR personnel is responsible for implementing employee retention measures (part of a retention strategy), such as providing free training and development opportunities, off-work benefits, and additional financial incentives.

What is the best way HR managers can lay off employees?

HR managers should communicate a layoff to employees by being direct, compassionate, and available in the layoffs' transition.