Clayton Cardinalli

Employee Retention: 5 Ways to Keep Your Team So Satisfied They Stay

There are many reasons employee retention should be a top priority for any business. Of course, you want to keep your top employees satisfied, so they continue their inspired work and help your company thrive. Plus, good employees who like their employer more often refer top-notch professionals to your organization.

But employee retention is more than that. Between putting out job listings, juggling paperwork, interviewing, and onboarding, there is a lot of time, money, and effort that goes into hiring new employees. All that distracts you from getting other work done.

So how do you improve employee retention in these crazy times?

The answer is easier than you may think. And much of it revolves around putting your employees first.

Employee Retention Starts on the First Day

Employee retention starts on day one. Fail to show new employees you care about them (and their career) from the start, and many will already have one foot out of the door. The human resources and management teams must promote the fact that they are there to help the employee thrive and that their door is always open for questions and concerns.

From the first morning on the job, show them they are more than just cogs in the machine. Occasionally remind them why their job is essential to the company. Help them co-create a career plan. Or, even better, as they learn the ropes help lay out a trajectory for their career. By setting up a path for success, the employee will stick around longer. After all, they know future growth opportunities await.

Once they have the hang of their initial job, introduce a few new responsibilities included in the job descriptions of potential future positions. That way, the employee knows you are serious about executing the career plan.

Once orientation is complete, don’t just throw them in the water, sink-or-swim style. Instead, pair the employee up with a dedicated associate so the new employee can turn to them when they have questions. Mentoring programs can be powerful benefits for both the new employee and their mentor. At consulting firm Bain & Company, an increased push in mentoring has resulted in all 8,000 consultants having a mentor.

This mentoring program has led to significant and tangible advantages for Bain. Among them, Bain has doubled the number of women in leadership positions.

Benefits Matter

Even in “normal” times, many employees choose their employer-based mostly on the benefits offered. This decision-making process is especially prevalent during the pandemic when people live what sometimes seems like upside-down lives.

But benefits don’t stop at healthcare.

For example, allowing flexible schedules can do wonders for employees. If practical, suggest a later start time to get their children ready for school or assist with home-schooling. Also, allow time for doctor’s visits and care of an extended member of the family. Not only do you show you care about them as people, you encourage a healthy work-life balance.

Of course, a lot of people still count on their job for health insurance. So, have a comprehensive plan that protects them and their income if they are hurt or sick. Again, if practical, offer dental and vision insurance too. Perhaps most important in these difficult times, promote preventive healthcare by offering wellness programs. Include gym memberships, stress-relief management classes, and incentives for a healthy lifestyle (which could include a discount on their insurance deductible).

Paid time off can often be challenging to manage in work at home situations. And yet that paid time off is earned and necessary for many reasons, including mental health. In response to that challenge, Airbnb offers travel credits in addition to significant time off. These perks, and others, helped the company become a 2016 best place to work in CareerBliss’s annual survey.

Compensation and Perks

Compensation is also crucial for employee retention. If we don’t pay fairly and equitably, employees will find a different company that provides what they need. Use outside resources like to see the average pay for similar positions in your area of the world. If you can afford to pay them the same, so they aren’t tempted to go elsewhere, make that effort.

Finally, don’t forget the perks. These are the unwritten benefits that employees tell their families about at the end of the day. These perks could be extra paid time off for a job well done or discounted tickets to an amusement park. For employees of Treehouse, an education technology company, one major perk is a four-day workweek. Treehouse shortened the workweek in 2006. The company reports employees have been happier and more productive ever since.

Even the smallest perks will motivate them to do their best work. So, make it a point to buy them a coffee on a random Thursday or take them out to lunch after completing a big project.

Culture and Communication

In the end, the best way to retain employees is to create a workplace they are excited to return to day after day. Specifically, it is about having a safe, warm, and welcoming company culture that encourages growth. It is also about living, rather than just stating, positive values you act upon every day.

A caring culture also requires active communication from management to employees on a personal level. Don’t wait until the annual review to see how your staff is doing. Instead, practice regular check-ins. Review their work; offer praise and validation at every opportunity. Take the time necessary to answer any questions. And see where they are on their career plan and make modifications if necessary. Keep an open mind during these check-ins and actively listen to what the employees have to say.

Yes, employee retention is incredibly important. Luckily, retention efforts are not overly difficult for a company that chooses to make an intentional effort.

Make an employee’s day today – and avoid the hassle of unneeded turnover tomorrow.


[#WorkTrends] Employee Experience 2020: Digitization, Flexibility, Benefits

What is the correlation between the employee benefits offered and employee experience?

Your organization probably invests a lot of time, energy and also money to retain your top employees. And yet, at least occasionally, you still wind up losing them to competitors. 

How do you put an end to that unproductive cycle? What can you offer your employees that means enough for them to stay? As an employer, what’s your real value proposition? A beautiful office? No, not when we’re working remotely. Free gym memberships or great retreats? Soon, hopefully, but not now. 

To retain your top talent in today’s work environment, it’s not about perks. Retention is about what employees really need.

Our Guest: Chris Wakely of Benify

To get to the heart of this matter, I invited Chris Wakely, Executive Vice President of Global Sales at Benify, to join me on #WorkTrends this week. First, I was very interested to learn more about the big picture takeaways from Benify’s new report: The Benefits and Engagement Report: A European Employer’s Guide to Employee Experience for the 2020s. Chris quickly gave me the scoop.

“It’s been quite an interesting journey for us. When we planned this survey, who had any idea the world would turn out how it has?” Chris asked. He told us the survey was conducted in April, near the beginning of the global pandemic. “Despite all the craziness, about 5,000 people took the survey. We asked them what they think about their employer? What benefits, other than salary, do they want? It was a really interesting time to be asking these questions as people dug into their new reality. We really got an understanding of how employees think and act in the middle of change.”

More Than Ever: People Care About Benefits

Chris said the survey — for many respondents, even those concerned about job loss — revealed that people cared deeply about their benefits. They saw those benefits as security in an uncertain time. “Those benefits beyond salary, for many, were and are more important than ever before,” Chris said. He added: “It surprised me: Despite everything going on, this is still an employee’s market. People still demand more. And employers can’t afford to underestimate how important those things are to their people, especially now.”

When I asked Chris about the biggest myth the survey debunked, he didn’t hesitate. “There’s this idea that we should just be grateful we have a job. But the report shows that even during this pandemic, the show just goes on. After all this, recruiting goes on.”

Benefits Tied Directly to Employee Experience

During our conversation, one point really hit home: “9 out of 10 employees aged under 30 say they would consider changing employers to receive better employee benefits,” Chris said. Can you imagine? Even during a horrific pandemic, 90 percent of employees under 30 would leave for better benefits… and better employee experience!

Chris and I went on to talk about several topics. Those included which area of wellness employers should be giving the most attention, the correlation between engagement and an employee’s satisfaction with the benefits offered, the troubles companies are having with digital onboarding, and so much more. Make sure you dedicate enough time to listen to the entire conversation… it is worth every minute.

Continue the Conversation on Twitter

We’re sure you’ll want to hear more about how benefits improve employee experience from the good people at Benify. So, please join us next Wednesday, October 14th at 1:30pm ET for our next #WorkTrends Twitter chat. Chris will be there to help us answer these questions: 

  • Q1: Why do organizations struggle with providing the right benefits?
  • Q2: What strategies can promote a better benefits experience for employees?
  • Q3. Why is a total rewards experience a valuable hiring and retention tool?

We thank the Benify team in advance for spending more time with the TalentCulture community. And we’ll thank you for joining us on Twitter, next Wednesday, 10-14!


Find Chris on LinkedIn.


This podcast was sponsored by Benify.


Editor’s note: Have you noticed? #WorkTrends podcasts and Twitter chats have evolved to better meet your needs! For details, check the new FAQ page. And to see upcoming event topics and guests, check the calendar listing on the #WorkTrends Podcast page.


Employee Benefits in 2016: Perks or Expectations?

Are employee benefits today considered perks, or are they expected? It’s a question many ask these days. Not surprisingly, the history of employee perks involves World War II, the burgeoning tech industry and women. I say not surprisingly because these same key elements like a reduced workforce, new technology and women in the workforce are still driving factors in why many businesses today are upping their game when it comes to employee perks.

But let’s back up a minute. When World War II broke out, Hewlett-Packard’s David Packard, at the request of the War Department, stayed behind to run HP’s test and measurement instrument program. HP ran 24 hours a day, and with the men away at war, Packard quickly learned that he had to trust his female employees to run the company. He also had to accommodate the working moms among them, which included flex-time for sick children, doctor’s appointments, and school runs.

Post-war, the company continued these programs, and added others such as profit-sharing, annual bonuses, stock options, Friday afternoon beer-fests, coffee, fruit and donut breaks every morning and afternoon, and eventually, even camping and picnics at their private company retreat. Fast-forward a few years, and HP was soon boasting record-breaking high levels of employee satisfaction.

Gradually other companies followed suit regarding employee perks as more women entered the workforce, as Millennials took over the business world, as jobs became more and more specialized, and as work-life balance eroded due to our digitally driven work world.

Today’s Top Employee Benefits and Perks

Language morphs and evolves, and today there are blurred lines between terms like “benefits” and “perks.” While there are certain employee benefits most organizations are legally bound to provide, such as social security benefits, unemployment insurance, and workers’ compensation insurance, today’s employee looks for much more than that.

In fact, according to employment recruiting and review site Glassdoor, “With nearly three in five (57 percent) people reporting benefits and perks being among their top considerations before accepting a job, some employers are raising the bar even higher to help attract talent.”

While health and wellness, financial considerations, and retirement benefits have remained at the top of the list for job searchers, other additions such as family issues and time off show an increased desire to try and reclaim that elusive work-life balance.

The Millennial Impact

Millennials are the largest demographic in the workforce today. They will make up 75 percent of the workforce by 2025, and they want more from work than money. They want to make an impact. Deloitte’s 2015 Millennial Survey shared insights from 7,800 Millennials from 29 different countries, and they were clear: The business world is getting it wrong. Seventy-five percent of respondents felt business could do more to help improve society. Only 28 percent felt their current company makes full use of their skills. For a generation that thrives on mentorship, inclusivity, giving back, and professional growth, those are shockingly sad numbers.

Millennials are also notoriously fickle, and more prone to job-hop than any generation before them. According to a recent Gallup report, “…21 percent of Millennials say they’ve changed jobs within the past year, which is more than three times the number of non-Millennials who report the same.” Gallup estimates Millennial turnover costs the U.S. economy $30.5 billion annually.

Millennials also show less willingness to stay in their current jobs. Half of Millennials, compared with 60 percent of non-Millennials, strongly agree they plan to be working at their company one year from now. For businesses, this suggests that half of their Millennial workforce doesn’t see a future with them.

In today’s world of work, employee benefits are expected. So, when you’re wondering how to recruit and retain this important cohort think about paid education and training, an active mentorship program, company sanctioned time-off for volunteering or charity work, and opportunities for work-life balance—things like flex-time for family appointments or school meetings, extended parental leave and opportunities for remote work.

Employee Perks: Trends in 2016 and Beyond

Some of the biggest trends in employee benefits and perks revolve around family, especially parental leave and baby bonuses. Netflix caused a ripple through the business world when they announced they were offering employees a year of maternity and paternity leave to new parents. Those same parents are also given the flexibility to return either part-time or full-time, and they can take leave as needed throughout the year. Other companies have taken note, and alongside generous parental leave policies, today you’ll find egg freezing and fertility assistance, counseling for new parents returning to the workforce, lump-sum “baby bonuses” for new parents, even breast-milk delivery services for traveling working moms on employee perks lists.

Another hot new trend is helping new hires pay down their student debt. Student debt load is spiraling out of control. The class of 2015 graduated with an average debt of $35,051, about $2,000 more than their peers in 2014. If you want to stand out from the crowd when it comes to hiring and retaining the best and brightest in your field, consider following in the footsteps of Pricewaterhouse Coopers and other organizations and start working on a student-loan relief repayment benefit as part of your corporate employee perks package.

However, you don’t have to offer pricey perks like three catered daily meals, unlimited paid time-off, on-site dry cleaning, free shuttle buses, gender-reassignment surgery or hefty yearly vacation stipends to recruit and retain the best employees. In fact, many in the start-up space, including DropBox, which drops roughly $25,000 yearly per employee for perks, are scaling back the lavish benefits the tech industry has become known to offer. If you’re a smaller organization, consider less expensive treats like a monthly manicure or massage service, a small health and wellness stipend, or varied start times to help reduce commuting stress.

Consider adopting more flexibility regarding job sharing and remote work. Or incorporate team outings or time for volunteer work into your employees’ schedules. While you don’t have to break the bank with your employee perks and benefits in 2016, you must recognize the employee benefits game has changed. Pivot and incorporate some of these benefits if you haven’t already. Because it’s likely your competition already has.

What do you think? Have employee perks and benefit packages gone too far? Do you have an employee benefits package that’s the envy of your industry?

A version of this was first posted on

Photo Credit: mehridoyle via Compfight cc

What Do Interns Really Want? [Infographic]

Developing an extraordinary internship program can be a long and winding journey. You’ll face plenty of bumps in the road, and perhaps lots of trial and error. And as we’ve seen in the news recently, you may even discover some controversy.

But overall, internships can be very beneficial for organizations — not just because enthusiastic young workers are contributing to your business goals. Internship programs can also open the door to a more diverse workforce, help add fresh perspectives to your brand, attract other young talent to your organization, and more.

Of course, employers aren’t the only ones who benefit. Although the state of the internship has shifted over time, its overarching goal remains the same — students and recent grads should gain something educational from their work experience. So, what do today’s interns really want to accomplish, and what else should employers know about them?

The following infographic, based on student employment data from InternMatch, offers insights to help employers map out a more effective internship program. Here are some highlights:

•  38% of interns want better pay
•  30% want opportunities to perform meaningful work
•  47% are interested in access to executives and mentorship
•  California, New York, and Florida are three of the top states for finding college talent

Do any of these statistics surprise you? Check out the full infographic below, and share your thoughts in the comments area.

What are your thoughts? Have you experienced these trends — as an intern or as an employer?

Image Credit: Stock.xchng