Retention Relies on One Thing: Understanding - Zupnick Associates

(By: Brittany Brooks)

Employees are quitting their jobs or considering it every day.

In Microsoft’s survey they found 40% of employees are contemplating a change in occupation before the end of the year. This leaves HR to reconsider employee retention and what it truly means.

We’ve depended on employee benefits to pull us through, but it’s not always enough, alone. HR must focus on what can improve employee retention for the long run.


Over the years, HR coveted strict policies, rules, and work schedules. Essentially, leaving HR with the lack of understanding the individual. The following breakdown will help improve employee retention and strengthen the employee-employer relationship.

The Elements of Understanding in Employee Retention

1. The Importance of a Flexible Work Environment

2. Employees Make Mistakes

3. Employees Have Lives Too


1. Importance of A Flexible Work Environment

Gallup found that employees value a flexible work environment over having more benefits. Making it a must instead of a perceived perk. A flexible work environment allows the employee to have the ability to control when and where they work. Celebrating long hours and no breaks are becoming a thing of the past. Any companies still adhering to these old ways will be left behind and with less employees.

Some companies have a preconceived notion that flexible work environments aren’t as productive as traditional workplaces. This is not the case. The high productivity in traditional workplaces hid the reality of employee exhaustion and burnout. Investing in a work environment with flexibility & autonomy attracts new employees and helps you keep the ones you already have.

Which work environment best suits your company?

  1. Hybrid Work Environment: Employees can split their time between the office and working remotely.
  2. Remote Work Environment: Employees work primarily at home.
  3. Flexible Hours or Condensed Work Week: Employees are allowed to work hours better suited for their personal schedules creating flexible hours for themselves. Or an employee can work three to four long days with an extended weekend.


2. Employees Make Mistakes

We all make mistakes and so do our employees. Depending on how we handle their mistakes can be a deal breaker for employee retention. When doing reviews, evaluations, or giving recognition there are a few things HR must keep in mind:

  • Don’t let problems build up and don’t wait too long for positive recognition.

If there is an issue with an employee don’t let their mistakes build up and continue. At the same time, don’t let too much time go by before giving positive recognition as well. 80% of employee recognition is negative and it hinders employee retention.

  • What was the motivation behind the mistake?

Your employee’s mistake could be an accident, intentional, or the result of trying something new. Understanding what motivated their mistake helps HR better connect with the individual.

For instance, the employee may have taken a chance on a new method, process, or system to complete a task. The mistake wasn’t on purpose or to harm the company. They took a risk that didn’t pan out.

You don’t want to discourage your employees from taking risks or being innovative. Discuss the mistake in a positive way. Let them know you appreciate their effort and initiative. 

  • Be mindful of your tone and the words you use.

How we approach our employee’s mistakes is vital. HR should meet the employee with curiosity in their voice and a calm tone. Don’t use words like “you messed up” or “you failed to complete”.

What we say and how we say it can stick with an employee for a long time. It can even initiate the job search for some workers. If handled well, you can strengthen the employer-employee relationship.

 3. Employees Have Lives Too

Employees have children, family, and friends. They manage households, have extracurricular activities, and need to take care of themselves. The typical 9-5 work schedule may not be feasible for someone with children or other obligations.

Understanding they have lives outside of work helps you create a more flexible work environment.

Stop celebrating long work hours and little time off. Promote better work habits and a proper work-life balance. Encourage breaks and using vacation time. 53% of employees say an improved work-life balance and personal well-being is better than some of the employee benefits they currently receive. 

Employee retention allows for fewer missed days, lower turnover rate, and a results-oriented work environment. Developing an understanding for our employees helps HR improve employee retention, productivity, and engagement. Understanding shows you care and are sincere about finding a suitable solution for the individual. Employee benefits are nice to have, but they’re not enough to keep a valued employee.

A flexible work environment and bringing understanding back to HR is the key to employee retention.

Leave a Reply

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on reddit
Share on vk
Share on odnoklassniki
Share on tumblr
Share on digg
Share on skype
Share on stumbleupon
Share on mix
Share on telegram
Share on pocket
Share on xing
Share on whatsapp
Share on email
Share on whatsapp

learn how we
can help you.

Fill In The Fields Below
and we'll get in touch