9 Techniques Employers Use to Retain Top Talent

The job market has been volatile these last years, from turnover to labor shortages. See the strategies for retaining top talent

March 6, 2023
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How would you describe your job to a five year old?
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Would you go in the mother-ship with aliens if they landed on Earth tomorrow?
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Do prefer working from home or the office?
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If you had to move to another country, which one would you choose?
You are the best criminal mastermind in the world. What crime would you commit if you knew you would get away with it?
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What person from history would you add to Mount Rushmore?
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Were the Spice Girls a good team?
Imagine you can instantly learn any language. Which would you choose?
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Who is someone in your community that makes a difference?
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Choose one famous person from history you want on your team during a zombie apocalypse.
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What is your favorite season?
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From the Great Resignation to layoffs in the tech industry, it's no secret the job market has been volatile in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, total annual employee turnover rates are expected to be 20% higher than pre-pandemic levels in the coming years, according to a 2022 report from market research firm Gartner.

Assembly has compiled a list of strategies for retaining top talent from leading talent firms like Robert Half, trusted sources including Gallup polling and Harvard Business Review, as well as news reports.

It's not just the employee side of the job market that is being upended. In a signal that hiring could slow, fewer job openings are being posted in the third quarter of 2022 compared with earlier in the year, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics. More than that, it's also becoming more difficult to find top talent, and companies are having trouble recruiting qualified candidates. This is especially true in industries like retail, but it carries over into professional services and more.

This cataclysmic combination of factors means that it is more important than ever for companies to invest in their employees and try to retain top talent in 2023. And with central bankers bent on forcing the still-hot labor market to cool off, now could be the perfect time to do just that.

Read on to learn more about how the top employers ensure they keep their most valued employees around.

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Evaluating compensation

It's no secret that a competitive salary is important to employees. In Robert Half's Job Optimism survey, 65% of surveyed professionals looking for a new job said that a salary boost was their primary reason.

With this in mind, it is imperative to ensure your compensation is competitive enough with peer firms. You should carefully research market standards for similar jobs in your industry, and then factor in things like the cost of living and the value of other benefits you plan to offer your employees.

You should also consider how you will structure pay raises and be transparent with your workforce—will you offer regular cost-of-living raises or an annual bonus? Factor this into your total compensation package as well to determine how appealing it might be to talent.

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Revisiting sources of talent

Another important factor to consider when retaining talent is where you are recruiting your employees from and how successful those strategies have been. For instance, if you find that a firm you are consistently using to fill open roles is generating a lot of turnover, you might want to consider finding an alternate source of talent.

The truth is, retaining employees starts with the recruiting process: If you aren't attracting talent who fit in with your company culture, are well suited for roles, and are primed for advancement opportunities, you are more likely to have to replace those employees in the near future.

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Engaging with existing staff

There are a lot of reasons talented employees leave their roles, some of which are easier to address than others. One of the simplest to address is workers feeling bored or detached from company culture.

It's easy to dedicate a lot of time and attention to the recruiting and hiring process, but if you fail to acknowledge the staff you already have, you might experience an increase in attrition. Consider how often you are engaging with your workforce and your strategies for making employees feel like valued members of your team. You can even ask your employees directly how they would prefer to interact with management during regular check-ins.

No matter what strategies work best for your business, it is important to balance the amount of time, energy, and budget you are dedicating to new and existing staff.

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Offering avenues for development

The Robert Half Job Optimism survey found that 39% of employees left their job in search of greater advancement opportunities. The best talent is forward-thinking and consistently looking for ways to improve their skills and advance their careers—but if you fail to provide sufficient opportunities for this development, they might look for it elsewhere.

Beyond offering opportunities to advance through roles and increase compensation, consider what ways your employees have to learn new and important skills and find meaning in their work. Consistent opportunities for education show talent that long-term tenure at a company is their best chance at professional success.

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Aligning company mission with what talent values

When a company's mission and employees' values are aligned, it leads to healthy employer-and-worker relationships and successful business initiatives. One study found that employees who have a sense of purpose tied to their jobs are 54% more likely to stay with that company for five years or longer.

Talk to your top performers to understand their ideas of a fulfilling day of work and a meaningful company mission. For instance, could you invest more in community outreach or volunteer opportunities? Is the product or service you provide to your customers making a positive impact on the world, and how does that reflect your firm's values? Where you can, adjust your mission statement to align with your talent's values and clearly communicate your efforts to embody them.

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Recognizing employee contributions

Consider how frequently your business recognizes the work of your top employees. A Pew Research study found that 57% of people who quit a job in 2021 said feeling disrespected at work was their reason for leaving.

People want to feel like the work they are doing is having an impact on their company, and more importantly, they want to see their hard work and dedication valued and respected. This includes not only work that goes above and beyond, but work that is consistently meeting the requirements you laid out as part of a job description.

Regular positive reinforcement, beyond just scheduled performance reviews or standout achievements, shows employees that their jobs are important and can increase retention and engagement.

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Gabrielle Lurie/The San Francisco Chronicle // Getty Images

Maintaining workplace flexibility

The definition of a flexible workplace has changed in the last few years, but it continues to be a key factor in job satisfaction. Flexible hours and remote work are two in-demand opportunities that you might be able to take advantage of, depending on your firm's operations.

When you consider the fact that 50% of LinkedIn job applications were submitted for remote jobs, but only 15% of job postings offered this kind of work, you can see just how important this opportunity is to job seekers. And if you want to ensure your employees stick around rather than compete for one of these remote jobs, consider if you can offer this opportunity without impacting your output.

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Identifying and giving attention to struggling workers

Often, when employees are struggling, it is a sign they are disconnecting from their jobs rather than a lack of capability. It is important for businesses to encourage managers to recognize when their team members are disengaged or struggling to perform, so as to prevent burnout or address the source of discontent before it leads to turnover.

Fifty-two percent of employees said that their manager could have taken steps to prevent them from resigning, according to a Gallup analysis. But it is often on the manager or organization to identify at-risk talent and encourage conversations to discuss problems and solutions. Doing so can help employees see a clear future at the company, learn about opportunities available to them, and identify strategies to improve performance, ultimately boosting both company output and employee retention.

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Pulling trends out of exit interviews

Despite retention strategies, employee attrition is inevitable. But that doesn't mean you can't use past turnover as an opportunity to learn how to improve your workplace.

If you don't already have an exit interview process in place, start asking talent that is leaving your company why they are doing so and what changes they think can prevent similar exits. Keep a close eye on trends such as satisfaction with day-to-day responsibilities, support from management, compensation in comparison to new opportunities, and more to identify where you should make improvements to your company.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is Assembly SOC 2 compliant?

Yes, at Assembly, security is a top priority. Each quarter, we have ongoing security work that is everyone’s responsibility. While we maintain a strong security posture, it was important for us to prove to our customers that we do everything we claim to do. This led us to pursue a SOC 2 Type II report that would provide evidence of our compliance with industry gold-standard security practice.

What's the ROI for employee recognition?

There is study after study showing that employee recognition leads to increased engagement. This in return creates an environment where employees are happier and more motivated which increase productivity and reduces voluntary turnover significantly. In order to filled critical roles, companies tend to spend nearly twice the value of an annual salary. Assembly is an investment in your employees that supports your bottom line.

Does Assembly offer longer-term contracts?

Yes, we will offer contracts for companies with longer-term agreements to help larger customers have more certainty around future costs.

The minimum agreement term is a 12-month subscription.

Does Assembly offer onboarding support?

We do and for FREE! Any new customer needing further support to get started with Assembly to ensure you're set up for success can request custom onboarding support. Improving your employee experience is about much more than just using our amazing software; it’s about transforming your business to create a workplace that people love. That’s much easier to do with the personal support and advice from our passionate people experts.

Is there a free version of Assembly?

Yes. We offer a completely free plan for up to 50 team members. This plan is intended for teams or organizations that are looking to get started with an employee engagement tool. Keep in mind, this plan is limited in features.

All customers can open an Assembly account for free and get started without a credit card. Then you can change plans as necessary.

How much do rewards cost?

At the time of redemption (when your employees exchange their points for a paid reward) you'll pay face value. If a reward is a $10 Amazon gift card, your cost will be $10. All paid rewards are billed for on a monthly basis.

The good news is that you don't have to pay for rewards upfront because we only charge you when points are redeemed, not when they're earned.

Does Assembly offer discounts?

We offer discounts or educational or charitable organizations. In order to secure a discount, you'll first need to book a demo with a customer support specialist.

For all other organizations, we are willing to consider longer-term agreements in exchange for discounts. To set up annual plans or longer, you will need to book a demo with a customer support specialist.

How do I cancel my plan if needed?

If you're on a month to month plan, you can go here and cancel anytime. If you're having concerns or need help setting up your account for success, you can always book a demo with a customer support specialist.

If you're on a longer-term custom plan, you'll need to reach out to your customer support specialist to cancel your account or email us at support@joinassembly.com.

What customizations are available?

Great question! You can customize your core values to match your organization's to boost and track alignment. You can change your currency from the 🏆 emoji (our default) to any emoji of your choice. You can swap our logo for your own. You can also set up company culture rewards such as, "Lunch with the CEO," "Buy a book on us," and so much more!

Who can give or receive recognition?

While we recommend a peer to peer set up where anyone in your organization can give or receive recognition, you can set up Assembly however you want. If you need to limit the people who can give or receive recognition, that's perfectly fine and can be done from your Admin, here.

What integrations are available?

Assembly connects to the tools your employees use every day to offer an easy, seamless experience with minimal change management.  

Assembly has integrations with HCM/HRIS systems like ADP, Google, Office 365, and Slack. We also integrate with communication tools like Slack and Teams so you and your employees can access Assembly wherever they work now.

What's your average adoption rate?

That depends on the company's permissions set up. That said, over 90% of the employees on Assembly's platform are recognized on a monthly basis. That means nearly every employee across all of our customers are receiving regular recognition from their peers, managers, or leadership. We're extremely proud of this.

Must rewards be set up to use Assembly?

They are not required. You can use Assembly without having rewards set up. However, we don't recommend it if you intend to have a high adoption and usage rate. You can always keep the costs down by offering internal culture rewards that are fulfilled by you internally.

Are points required to use Assembly?

No, you can remove allowances from anyone or everyone. It's up to you but we do recommend using points whether they're worth a real dollar value or not. Companies that use points have a much higher engagement rate even if those points don't exchange for real dollars.

Could find the answer you are looking for?

Please schedule time with an expert and we will help you to get all your questions answered