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ATD Blog

5 Tips to Retain Talent

Friday, April 22, 2022

As the job market continues to soar, employees—especially those lacking career growth or feeling unchallenged—are seeking other options.

It’s no secret: Retaining talent is critical to meeting business goals and preserving positive employee morale. If employees feel challenged and motivated and have opportunities to grow in their careers, they are more likely to stay with an organization. Plus, retaining talent is more cost-effective than seeking out new hires. In fact, it costs one-half to two times an employee's annual salary to replace them. So, how do you keep good employees?

Invest in career development. Lack of career development is the leading reason people leave their jobs, and 94 percent of workers say they’d stay at a company longer if their employer invested in their careers. So to maintain a competitive advantage and be a workplace where people excel, fuel employees’ careers. Offer them the chance to grow, upskill, and become the best professionals they can be, and employees are more likely to stick around.

Let these five tips end high turnover:

1. Build a culture of learning.

A crucial part of retaining top talent is building a culture of learning where employees continuously seek for and apply new skills and knowledge to improve performance. Unlock talent within your team and help build more leaders and skill sets across the company by giving teams the tools to learn and letting them know it’s OK if they make mistakes.

It starts from the top down. If leadership practices what they preach and shows how they continuously learn and try to improve, the rest of the team will follow, building future leaders, strong individual contributors, and savvy employees.

As a leader, open up about the challenges you face and how you learn from them. Share courses or reading materials that have helped you overcome skills gaps. Share areas that you are working on or current reading materials, so your employees see you continue to improve yourself.

2. Develop people’s strengths.

Focus on developing your team members’ strengths rather than on overcoming their weaknesses. Strengths-based learning can result in up to 23 percent higher employee engagement and 73 percent lower attrition.

This works best in tandem with reconfiguring employee job responsibilities to focus on their strengths and interests. Sixty percent of employees say the ability to do what they do best in a role is important to them.


Changing a top performer’s responsibilities to align with their strengths improves the likelihood of retaining them by as much as 20 percent—even if their title and pay remain the same.

3. Make internal career growth opportunities clear.

Employees who move into new jobs internally are three and a half times more likely to be engaged than employees who stay in their current roles. Moreover, employees at companies with high internal mobility stay nearly twice as long as those with low internal mobility. Employees who believe they cannot achieve their career goals with a current employer are 12 times more likely to consider leaving. So, it’s your organization's prerogative to highlight internal opportunities to new and current employees.

Offer training to help employees close skills gaps. Communicate about job opportunities. If an employee expresses interest, discuss role expectations. And when an employee gets promoted or moves to a new position, celebrate!

Patrick Anderson, talent acquisition operations specialist, adds practical tips. “At WorkRamp, our team is communicative about open roles. In addition, we have created a Slack channel called WorkRamp Internal Careers. The channel’s purpose is to allow employees to explore new full-time positions and provide a safe space for them to learn about opportunities. If they are interested in a position, they can ping the hiring manager or me to learn more.”

If the hiring manager decides to go with an external candidate, provide feedback to the employee and offer materials that can help them improve. That way when a similar opportunity opens up, they have the skills needed to be successful.

4. Create an open and safe environment for communication.

It's essential to create space for open communication to thrive and teach your employees that it’s good to express themselves—even if it’s a bit messy. Creating that safe communication space allows you to understand where employees’ struggles are, how to help them succeed, and lets them truly collaborate with one another. It builds trust, which is essential for a working relationship.


Open communication allows:

  • Feedback on project or role performance
  • Suggestions for content to watch, conferences to attend, or books to read
  • Dialogue about lessons learned and how to apply them to new projects
  • Support when things aren’t working and paths to overcome challenges

When you create a safe space for employees to share their needs, morale goes up, and teams gain confidence.

As Jack Foster, vice president of marketing at WorkRamp, adds, “Understanding your team’s personal goals and motivations is critical to helping them accelerate their careers. To do that, you must create a safe space for open and direct dialogue. You also need to consistently show people it’s a good thing to talk about where they need help, areas they are looking to uplevel, where they may have blockers, and give actionable feedback on how to continue to improve.”

5. Promote work-life balance.

Having a strong culture of work-life balance is critical to maintaining employee happiness. Encourage team members to take a personal day to de-stress or turn off their notifications after hours. The little things your company does to take care of employees go a long way to retain talent.

“We care about our employees’ mental health at WorkRamp,” says Danielle Scott, senior director of sales. “We’re proud to offer a remote work culture, half-day Fridays every two weeks, a self-care day with a stipend each quarter, and unlimited PTO. We’ve found that by letting people enjoy their lives outside of WorkRamp, we allow them to return feeling refreshed and ready to do their best work.”

For burned-out employees, another layer of learning feels like a chore. L&D is a form of self-care, but if the mind is tired, it cannot retain new information. Employees in balance are more motivated to attend a webinar, take a new class to upskill, or read a book. Providing work-life balance gives employees the time to reset and focus on what they need to improve themselves.

Aim to Retain

Every person in your organization has the potential to grow, and it’s your responsibility to nurture your employees. Build a learning culture to develop employees’ strengths, provide internal growth, allow for open communication, and offer work-life balance to retain talent. Turnover will slow, and employee happiness improves.

Learning is a growth engine. See how you can scale training across your employees, customers, and partners with WorkRamp’s all-in-one learning platform. Request a demo today.

About the Author

Fara Rosenzweig is WorkRamp's Head of Content and brings over 20 years of content experience. Her love for storytelling has earned her an Emmy Award, and she's been featured in many publications. When not wordsmithing or talking about learning and development, you'll find her globe-trotting while logging miles for her next half marathon.

1 Comment
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The suggestions are fine, but what should the learning, strengths and growing be focused on? Companies who partner with their employees around the noble cause of serving customers profitably outperform their competitors. This is not just my opinion. This Inc article shares research on hundreds of companies that show how partnering with employees to serve customers drives superior results and retention:
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