5 Ways to Reduce Turnover in 2020 and Beyond

By Kaelee Nelson, Guest Author | November 04, 2020

hand around blocks representing people

Many companies are in a position that’s unlike anything we’ve ever seen. With high unemployment rates sweeping across the country, millions of people are left jobless and out of work. COVID-19 took a devastating toll on the economy, forcing countless businesses to either temporarily or permanently close. Hopefully, you weren’t one of them.

If that’s the case, then retaining your employees might be the last thing on your mind. Why would my employees quit, considering the lack of job availability elsewhere? And, so what if they did? There are plenty of people searching for employment right now.

While some of those thoughts might be true, they’re not entirely well-founded. We’re seeing more businesses beginning to reopen, drawing a potential pool of talent along with them. The rollercoaster of the year 2020 might feel like it’s never going to end, but we need to keep a historical perspective in mind and reflect on the patterns present in talent acquisition statistics. For example, did you know that 25% of workers plan to leave their jobs within the year, 33% of high-potential employees don’t feel fully engaged in their work, and the average cost of replacing an employee is 2x that employee’s salary?

In other words, the pandemic will come and go — and so will most employees. Even though there might be a large pool of job applicants on deck ready to fill a position, employee turnover is never a good thing. Addressing it requires time and energy that small business owners can rarely spare.

You need to post a job description, wade through a sea of resumes, interview viable candidates, and run pre-employment checks on potential hires. If other team members have to take on an increased workload to pick up the slack, it could hurt camaraderie or cause details to fall through the cracks that leave customers with a bad experience.


close up of employee using a calculator


But employee turnover costs more than just time and stress; it costs money — and a lot of it. The Center for American Progress estimates that the cost of replacing an employee can range between 16% and 213% of the former employee’s salary. That’s a major hit to your bottom line, which is why you should do everything in your power to reduce turnover rates with creative employee retention ideas.

If you’re not sure where to start, here are five ideas on how you can build a team with a long tenure.


1.  Communicate Clear Core Values

Millennials have taken over the largest segment of the workplace, and they represent a new generation of ideals when it comes to employment. They feel less indebted to their employer than they do the company, and they want to work for something they believe in.

Identify your core values and communicate them clearly across your website, social media, marketing materials, and, most importantly, in your job descriptions.

When we refer to core values, we mean a set of principles that guide a company and its workforce toward a common goal. It’s not about simply throwing buzzwords like “Honesty” or “Integrity” up on a poster board; your values should be deeply ingrained in everything you do. Better examples include:

  • “Operate with transparency.”
  • “We teach and we are taught.”
  • “Evolve and adapt.”
  • “Enjoy the journey.”
  • “Be an ambassador.”

Once you establish your company’s core values, be sure to promote and uphold them to keep your staff engaged and build a stronger brand.


employees high-fiving in a circle


2.  Establish a Positive Company Culture

Center your company culture around your values to create a positive environment in which people want to show up to work. It’s easier to retain employees who are having fun and enjoy what they do, so think of ways you can bring team members together – in person (when appropriate) and virtually. Some great social ideas might be:

  • Celebrating birthdays
  • Catering lunch on Fridays or ordering lunch for remote staff
  • Hosting company happy hours (virtual happy hours, too)
  • Planning fun activities like outdoor scavenger hunts or online game nights



woman practicing yoga in front of laptop


3.  Promote Personal Wellness

Employees want to work for someone who cares about them as a person, not just a business resource or a means to an end. You can demonstrate this by investing in their personal well-being by doing things like:

  • Covering gym memberships
  • Hosting weekly fitness classes or arranging for online fitness classes
  • Facilitating telemedicine services
  • Offering paid time off for vacations

Many companies have started to introduce unlimited PTO policies that enable employees to take off as much time as they like, so long as they’re able to get their work completed. It promotes better work/life balance, establishes that you trust them, and motivates them to work hard to fulfill their end of the bargain.

4.  Offer Flexible Hours

If you can’t afford to offer unlimited PTO, you can at least accommodate flexible work hours to show that you understand the importance of life outside of work. Some employees might have family members who need to be picked up at specific times, or perhaps they’re pursuing night classes that interfere with their regular hours.

If they approach you with such a request, do your best to be flexible and accommodating. Find a workaround solution that satisfies your needs and their needs to prevent them from leaving and finding employment elsewhere. Also, consider offering an occasional work-from-home day (if you’re not already working remotely) that allows your staff to skip the commute and perform their role in the comfort of their pajamas at home. Bonus points if your work environment can accommodate dogs so they can bring their furry friends along, too!


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5.  Show Appreciation

Finally, retain employees and reduce turnover by expressing appreciation for employees. This can come in the form of verbal or written recognition, incentive programs for certain rewards, bonuses, commissions, or even a simple thank-you card.

If your employees are happy, healthy, and treated well, they’ll be far more likely to stay in place and grow alongside the company for years to come.


About the Guest Author

Kaelee Nelson received her master's degree with an emphasis in digital humanities and pursues her career as a writer in San Diego, currently writing for 365businesstips.com. She enjoys informing readers about topics spanning industries such as technology, business, finance, culture, wellness, hospitality, and tourism.