Best Retention Tips for Managers to Follow

Train your people managers to implement these four research-backed retention strategies to keep turnover rates as low as possible

February 15, 2023
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A bad manager can drive even the most loyal and engaged employee out of your business.

Luckily, there are plenty of simple ways to support your struggling people managers and transform them into the kind of leaders top performers love to work for.

Train your people managers to implement these four research-backed employee retention strategies to keep turnover rates as low as possible across your business.

What is the role of a manager in employee retention?

As the old adage goes: people quit managers, not jobs.

In fact, a massive 82% of workers have considered quitting their job because of a bad manager. 

And that’s hardly a surprise when you think about how many organizations assume their most capable individual contributors will naturally make the best people managers without needing any support. 

In fact, according to one study:

  • 26% of managers have never received any management training.
  • 39% only received management training when they first became a manager.
  • Just 35% of managers receive regular management training.

In reality, leading a team is a totally different role that requires a totally different skill set – one you shouldn’t expect your employees to have been born with.

And since they play such a big role in your employee retention rates, investing in regular training for your people managers is one of the most effective ways there is to increase employee retention.

How managers can improve employee retention

Giving your people managers the right training can transform them into your secret weapon in the battle against today’s employee retention trends

Reduce employee turnover across your business with these research-backed employee retention strategies:

Make their reports’ health and wellbeing their priority

The people managers with the most loyal reports are the ones who truly care about the people on their team.

Don’t believe us? Did you know:

  • 62% of workers say employee wellbeing support and benefits are a top priority when applying for or considering their next job.
  • 24% of businesses say implementing an employee health and wellbeing strategy has improved staff retention.

Training your managers to make looking out for their employees’ mental health their priority is a surefire way to retain top talent.

Of course, just telling your managers to look out for their teammates isn’t much help to them – and puts a lot of responsibility on their plate. For the best results, train your managers to get out in front of some common causes of poor workplace wellbeing by asking them to: 

  • Be very careful not to overburden their employees, since 77% of workers say they’ve experienced employee burnout at their current job (and burned out teammates rarely stay teammates for long).
  • Encourage their reports to hit a healthy work-life balance by taking real breaks rather than work through lunch.
  • Learn how to delegate without micromanaging.
  • Set time aside during each one-to-one to check in with their teammates and see how they’re doing.

If your managers tick all these boxes, they’re bound to leave their people feeling looked after rather than looking for the door.

Try Assembly to see how easy it can make taking the pulse of your employees’ wellbeing.

Help their people achieve their career goals

As soon as an employee feels like they’re treading water rather than working towards their next pay rise or promotion, they’re likely to start thinking about jumping ship. In fact, 41% of workers say they’ve quit a previous job due to the lack of professional development and progression opportunities.

Your people managers are key to spotting when employees feel like they’ve hit a glass ceiling in your business. By doing just a few simple things, they’ll help keep the number of employees leaving your business because they feel like they’re being held back from achieving career aspirations as low as possible. 

Firstly, train your managers to include questions in one-to-ones with their reports and stay interviews that are focused around career aspirations. This will help them find out what their reports’ career goals are so they can help provide them with the professional development opportunities and training they’ll need to achieve them.

Secondly, empower your managers to rethink how duties are distributed among their team. That way, if your top performers are ready to take on more responsibility, their managers can carve out a path to help them pursue their career aspirations. 

Try Assembly to see how easy it can make taking the pulse of how your employees feel about their career opportunities at your company.

Recognize their people

Recognition is one of the most effective tools at your managers’ disposal when it comes to improving employee retention

In fact:

  • 79% of people who quit their jobs say a lack of appreciation was a major reason they left. 
  • 40% of employed Americans say they'd put more energy into their work if they were recognised more often.
  • 37% of workers believe the most effective thing their employer can do to cause them to produce great work is to recognise them.

But not all employee recognition is created equal. Research has revealed that the most meaningful feedback comes from a person’s line manager – followed by acknowledgement from a senior leader or CEO. In fact, 70% of employees say that motivation and morale would improve “massively” if their manager simply said “thank you” more often.

Despite this, 65% of employees haven't received any form of recognition for their work in the last year.

Giving your people managers tools that make it easy for them to recognize their teammates – like Assembly’s Give Recognition Flow – will help ensure they're giving their employees the recognition they deserve. 

Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of this retention strategy. It’s one of the most effective ways to hold on to your top talent there is.

Book a demo of Assembly to get all the tools you need to make recognizing your employees as easy as possible.

Keep a keen eye on employee engagement

An engaged employee is a loyal employee. In fact, engaged employees are a massive 87% less likely to leave their job than their disengaged teammates. 

Which sounds great… until you realize 54% of people are apathetic about their work or actively disengaged with it – and just 10% of workers are highly engaged.

The thing is: everyone wants to do engaging and meaningful work. Engagement surveys will help you get a rough idea of how engaged your people are. But encouraging your managers to get to the bottom of whether their reports feel like they’re getting to put their unique talents to use at work during one-to-ones is the real key to boosting employee engagement.

Empowering your people managers to rethink their team’s workload and responsibilities is another key piece of the employee engagement puzzle. If they can restructure their team to make sure their reports are as engaged in their work as possible they can seriously boost employee retention.

The final word

Your employees are a lot less likely to look for another job if their manager looks out for their mental health, helps them achieve their career goals, recognizes them regularly, and does everything in their power to give them engaging work to do. 

Train your people managers to stick to those four employee retention strategies and turnover is bound to drop across your business.

Browse our Free Employee Recognition Guide

Get the foundational knowledge on creating an employee recognition program that boosts employee engagement and helps them feel valued.

Explore Guide

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

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