It’s impossible to bring up employee retention without mentioning motivation—the two go hand in hand. If an employee doesn’t feel motivated, they might look elsewhere for a job that gives them drive and value. Especially during COVID-19, many employees feel like they are in a rut and need something different.

But while they’re thinking about the here and now, you’re focused on the future and growing the business. Whether it’s interviewing, onboarding, distributing responsibilities, implementing new tools, or making changes—you have a lot on your plate. It can be easy to lose sight of the people that built the business into what it is today.

However, if an employee does quit while you were focused on other things, it’s not just morale, engagement, and productivity in the workplace that could take a hit. It’s also costly as well. According to some studies, it can cost anywhere from 6 to 9 months’ salary on average to replace a salaried employee.

So, there’s no time to lose. Now is the time to rally the troops and lift those spirits. There are many ways you can motivate your employees—you can simply make their lives easier on a day-to-day basis, let them know you care about their productivity in creative ways, or enable them to achieve strategic goals.

In this post, we’ll highlight the 6 ways to improve employee retention and motivation so that you can stay ahead of the curve.

1. Recruit the right people

Employee retention and motivation starts right out of the gate before you even begin to interview. You first must identify the culture within the business, the culture you want to have, and look for the people that fit within your vision. During the application process, some of the key indicators to look for in a candidate include longevity, loyalty to previous companies, or other commitments in their life besides work, like sports or volunteer work. This will show that they are committed, team-oriented, dedicated, and passionate about what they do, not only in the workplace, but in life as well.

Ensuring diversity in the workplace is also critical. It’s been shown that companies with above-average diversity perform better than and out-innovate their competitors. Being able to set and measure against diversity hire goals across your organization is essential.

2. Education and advancement

A great way to grow a business is to grow employees. When there’s a clear path to greater responsibility and compensation, employees feel more motivated and valued—their success is the company’s success. Of course, this cannot happen without education and employee development.

Furthering employees’ education through corporate training can include learning new technologies and acquiring new skills. But a company can also provide tuition reimbursement for outside courses, which can also be proof that they are valued and worth investing in. According to a LinkedIn Workplace Learning Report, 94% of employees say they would stick with a company longer if they invested in their career.

3. Transparency and communication

Employees don’t want to feel like they are simply a cog in the machine. They want to feel like they are contributing to the overall success of the company. When employees feel like they can openly ask questions and make suggestions, they feel heard.

To provide a sense of shared purpose and community, leaders should continuously celebrate little moments or victories that helped the company. Also, by keeping an open-door policy, employees will feel encouraged to speak more often and provide input. This will also motivate people and give them more purpose within the organization.

4. Follow the 80/20-rule

No one wants to feel overloaded and overworked—that leads to stress. People want to arrive at work knowing that they won’t be rushed. This will eventually lead to a disconnect, which in the end, leads to employee turnover. A good rule of thumb to follow is the 80/20 rule, which keeps employees at an 80% utilization rate, with 20% left for slack time. While this might seem counterintuitive, when employees are pushed past that threshold, productivity actually decreases. That is when employees start to make mistakes, which increases wait times and leads to delays. That isn’t to say employees are putting forth 80% of their effort, but rather, they are giving 100% effort but now have time to execute the project correctly.


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5. Work-life balance

Similar to overloading and overworking, providing a work-life balance is key to reducing stress among workers. Whether it’s too many hours at the office, not enough vacation days to be with friends or family, or too many hours commuting, employees want to feel like their life isn’t just about work. For many, it’s not the two hours they spend on the road commuting to work that convinces them to change jobs. It’s the two hours they’re away from their family, missing ball games and arriving late for dinner. By listening to employees through surveys or quarterly meetings, managers will know what to provide. That could mean half-days on Fridays, flex scheduling, or a few more vacation days. This can give employees more time for chores around the house, run errands, or be with family and friends.

6. Provide the right tools

Lastly, you need to utilize and provide the right tools and technology to succeed in the modern workplace. With so much cloud-based software on the market, you don’t want to fall behind your competitors because you’re using ancient systems. Whether it’s for employees to streamline processes or application software to help with the hiring and onboarding process, there are tons of helpful solutions to motivate and retain employees.

For example, how many applications are employees using? And how much time do they spend switching between apps? According to a report from Pegasystems Inc., the average employee switches between 35 job-related apps more than 1,100 times per day. It’s things like this that stress employees out—when they don’t have the proper tools to do their job well and efficiently. By utilizing a tool like MetaSpark, you can easily solve this app-switching problem. The tool automatically consolidates every task from every system into one single dashboard, eliminating all that chaos.

The bottom line

Unfortunately, there’s no way to completely erase turnover and lack of motivation—it inevitably happens. People find their dream job, start their own company, or move to another city. But you can follow these 6 tips to motivate employees and keep them engaged so that it happens far less often.

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