Employee retention strategies: 39 companies’ key methods for retaining talent

by Greg Digneo
employee retention strategies

It’s a troubling moment, isn’t it?

When a valued employee tells you that he or she has found a better opportunity?

Employee retention is one of the biggest challenges that companies are facing today. The costs of losing a valued employee are substantial. According to a study by SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management), finding and training a replacement for an outgoing employee can cost as much as the equivalent of six to nine months of salary.

That is certainly not a figure you can ignore, right?

However, this data also has a silver lining – how much can your company save, if it can retain its employees longer? A lower employee turnover rate can make a significant positive impact to your bottom line.

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Improving employee retention

How can you improve your employee retention rate?

It’s not an easy task, but there are so many companies who are doing a spectacular job at retaining their top talent.

What if you could learn about the employee retention strategies those companies are using? That would give you a huge advantage in reducing your attrition rate.

To find out which employee retention strategies work best, SuccessIsWhat, a leadership blog, partnered with Time Doctor, a productivity SaaS company, to ask several companies about their employee retention strategies.

We asked them, “What are one or two key employee retention strategies that you use in your company?”

Finding the 39 contributor companies

Our number one guiding principle in approaching companies was that they should be recognized as excellent employers – companies that people love to work for!

After all, if someone enjoys working in a particular company, it stands to reason that he/ she will stay longer.

Simple, right?

Therefore, the two recognitions that we referred to were Fortune’s Great Places to Work (which included lists for several North American and European countries) and Glassdoor’s Best Places to Work.

And by the way, we are delighted to have Glassdoor as a contributor to this article too!

We spoke to a wide variety of companies in terms of industry, size and location.

For example:

We spoke to companies across North America, Europe and Asia

  • Europe – Jaguar Land Rover, Schneider Electric, Hays PLC, etc.
  • Canada – Ceridian, Manulife, etc.
  • Asia – Subarna Jurong

We approached companies across industries

  • Technology – Microsoft, Dell, IBM, etc.
  • Aviation – Airbus, Southwest Airlines, etc.
  • Consulting – PwC, EY, Grant Thornton, etc.

Small/ Mid-sized Companies

We also spoke to Small/ Mid-sized Companies such as Zendesk and Contently who are part of the Great Places to Work Bay Area list.

Here’s what leaders at these companies told us about their employee retention strategies (in alphabetical order)…

Employee retention strategies of 39 amazing companies

Here’s what leaders at these companies told us about their employee retention strategies…Rules

Accor Hotels

Carolyn Clark

Carolyn Clark
SVP, Talent and Culture, North & Central America, Accor Hotels

Carolyn’s extensive career in the hospitality industry spans over 40 years. She has held various senior positions with Fairmont Hotels & Resorts since 1974. In her current role as Senior Vice President, Talent & Culture, Carolyn has responsibility for all aspects of human resources for all brands in the North & Central America Region.

“Our operating philosophy is very simple: we believe that if we take good care of our colleagues, they will take good care of our guests, which results in guest loyalty and strong financial performance. We know that behind every great guest experience is a great employee experience and a great culture. Our core Values of Respect and Trust are the foundation of our culture which instills enormous pride and loyalty in our people.

Our AccorHotels Guest Promise is ‘Feel Welcome’ and Our Employee Promise is ‘Feel Valued’. Our colleagues describe our culture as being part of a family, and coming to work every day feels like coming home.

The single most important factor in retention is to create an employee experience where they know they are valued and can make a positive contribution, where they have a voice and their opinions matter and that they have opportunities for personal development and growth supported by strong leadership. Our people are the heart and soul of our Company.”



Karen Parkin

Karen Parkin
Chief HR Officer, adidas

Karen Parkin is an Executive Board Member at adidas Group and responsible for Global Human Resources. She has held several roles with adidas since 1997.

“Our focus clearly lies on nurturing a unique culture that attracts and retains great people. At adidas we believe that sport has the power to change lives. Our promise to our consumers is that sport is at the heart of everything we do and that we inspire and enable those who want to make a difference by harnessing the power of sports. I strongly believe that this is what attracts both our consumers and our employees.

We will focus by delivering the four pillars of our People Strategy: attracting and retaining great talents through ‘moments that matter’, cultivating role models who inspire, bringing in fresh and diverse perspectives and creating a climate that allows everyone in the organization to work even more flexibly and creatively to make a difference.

On a more individual level, we want to create ‘moments that matter’ for our employees by pro-actively supporting them at significant points on their career journey – regardless of what stage they’re at in their lives. Our people projects and activities are all structured in a way that they positively impact these special moments.

One concrete example is the employee NPS we are just about to introduce as our measurement of culture, employee experience and organizational health. We already measure NPS daily to determine consumer sentiment all across the world and believe we need to listen to our people with the same rigour.

Another example is our new leadership framework that we have just launched. It clearly articulates what great leadership looks like for adidas and is directly derived from our culture and the core behaviours we defined for our employees (creativity, collaboration, confidence). It permeates everything we do: the way we interview candidates, the way we select candidates for development programs and our learning and training offering.”


Aegis Living

Rick Karnofski

Rick Karnofski
SVP, Human Resources – Aegis Living

Senior Vice President of Human Resources Rick Karnofski is responsible for recruiting, employee relations, benefits, compensation, workers’ compensation and risk management for all Aegis Living communities on the west coast. Rick has over 25 years of experience in human resources, with diverse experience in the medical device, pharmaceutical, telecommunications and tech industries.

“I know companies have some great retention programs, but I think their success can be limited in scope unless you have the foundation in place…meaning the culture of the company.
People spend 1/3rd of their waking life at work. We need to make them feel exhilarated, motivated and know that they are adding value in what they do every single day. The culture embodies hiring great people at all levels, having career options, being recognized and rewarded, understanding what is expected of them and for us to really listen to their feedback.

The best retention program for a company is a culture that unites, engages and inspires its employees. If that is not in place, then what value would a formal retention program bring to your company? Develop a culture that brings out the best in people, not people that just come to work for the paycheck.”



Thierry Baril

Thierry Baril
Chief Human Resources Officer – Airbus

Thierry Baril was appointed Chief Human Resources Officer of Airbus on June 1, 2012. In addition, Baril continues to serve as Airbus Commercial Aircraft Chief Human Resources Officer. He joined Airbus Commercial Aircraft in 2007 as Executive Vice President, Human Resources, and Member of the Airbus Commercial Aircraft Executive Committee, with responsibility for defining and implementing a company-wide Human Resources strategy, enhancing integration and employee engagement.

“Airbus has experienced massive growth worldwide in the last ten years. Airbus currently has 134 thousand employees holding passports from 135 nations. That motivating, and frankly fascinating, multi-cultural aspect of the company is enough to draw and retain many people. But as we’ve grown in size, we’ve also grown in ability. Compared to just 10 years ago, we now assemble commercial aircraft on three continents where previously it was just one. And we are not solely about planes anymore, but also helicopters, satellites and services that touch on virtually every aspect of aviation and aerospace.

Most recently, a huge attractor for new employees is our innovation expansion. We have teams in Europe and in the U.S. dedicated to disrupting our industry before someone beats us to it. Blue sky, hi-tech developments rapidly moving beyond concept into reality are creating the newest hallmark of the Airbus brand.‎ No longer are we just about aircraft. Big data, drones, machine learning and software development are in our repertoire.

While the evolution of our business model continues to attract and keep new and existing team members, it is the combination of that platform expansion with a variety of classic and cutting-edge HR programs that form the complete package, optimizing our reputation as a company.

Our employees are encouraged to move among the Airbus business units to work for commercial aircraft, helicopters for defense or space activities, all around the world, growing their skillsets.

Airbus provides the tools and guidance to maximize performance of individuals, in turn, benefiting the company. We fully embrace the mindset that people make the difference, not jobs. Employee recognition is multi-tiered, internal and external programs give visibility to the highest performers in the company. While salaries and benefits vary by geography, they are uniformly among the best in the industry.

Every employee is given access to the most senior executives, both directly and digitally, building a mindset in Airbus employees around the world that they are part of a team and they truly have a voice in the company’s development.”



Kirsty Gill

Kirsty Gill
EVP, People – ARM

Kirsty joined ARM in 2002 and has held various leadership roles in the People Team including Executive Remuneration, Rewards, Organizational Effectiveness, People Services and Systems. She is known for her achievements on developing programs that deliver high performance, high engagement and progressive organizations. At ARM she is focused on creating a workplace where people love to collaborate, growth is encouraged and innovation flourishes, all done in ARM’s own unique way.

“The draw of developing leading edge technology that impacts global society for the better is a good starting point for a retention strategy. At ARM this provides our people with a strong, meaningful purpose and challenging work they can engage with, which certainly helps to differentiate us in the market.

The culture at ARM is collaborative, hardworking and humble, and this stands us in great stead to both attract and retain top talent. However, the people who work for ARM have choices about where they deploy their talents and so we need to create a compelling proposition that goes beyond the salary or package we offer. For us, the approach is to ensure that people can have both an exciting career AND the life they want out of work – in essence, enabling our people to “work to live, rather than live to work.”

This means developing people to reach their full potential at work while giving them the flexibility to follow their passions outside the office. We support this through a flexible pot whereby employees can allocate and use their time as best suits them. Whether they’re learning a new language, fitting in a gym membership or pursuing technical training in a new programming language, it’s all about flexibility.

You can also see this support in action through an informal flexible working environment, high trust approaches to getting work done, sabbaticals to have a break, volunteering activities, open conversations about families, and an interest in what our people do outside of work. We actively encourage people to be themselves and for ARM to re-define what work can feel like.”

Rulesbain logo

Russ Hagey

Russ Hagey
Partner and Chief Talent Officer – Bain & Company

As a partner and Worldwide Chief Talent Officer at Bain & Company, Russ Hagey oversees the firm’s recruiting, professional development, training and human resources functions for the firm’s global staff.

“Our ‘community of teams’ is core to Bain & Company’s employee retention efforts. This commitment is a central part of our mission statement, but we also embody it each and every day at all levels and roles within the firm through overlapping engagement efforts – from being part of a client team delivering impact to robust programs spanning mentorship and sponsorship, diversity and inclusion, global training and mobility, and office-based camaraderie and professional development.

Equally, we keep a keen eye on continuous improvement and active team-based feedback. It is the intersection and continuum of these efforts that create a web of linkages that are stronger than any one solo effort. We believe this translates into the culture and retention for which Bain is recognized and our clients value.”



Luciana Amaro

Luciana Amaro
VP Talent Development & Strategy – BASF

Luciana Amaro is a Vice President in BASF Corporation’s Human Resources department, leading the Talent Development and Strategy unit. In her current role, she is responsible for North American talent management, leadership development, staffing and university relations, workforce planning, learning and development, organizational development and change management.

“In BASF, we believe that our business success relies on the individual success of each and every one of our employees. Our diverse business portfolio and global presence allows us to recognize, develop and leverage employees’ unique abilities, skills and experiences.

Employee retention for us is much more than just an attractive compensation package and nice perks – although we have them as well! It starts by creating an inclusive environment where employees feel that they and their work matter, and where they can contribute and grow, in workplaces that are collaborative and safe.

Our development philosophy is “Talent is in Everyone”, so all our employees can access a comprehensive portfolio of lifelong learning offerings, such as mentoring, training programs, business simulations, project opportunities, employee resource groups and many others.



Richard Caldera

Richard Caldera
SVP, Human Resources – Bayer

Richard J. Caldera has been Senior Vice President of Human Resources U.S. at Bayer since 2012. Mr. Caldera has over 30 years of multinational experience at the divisional and corporate levels of top international companies.

“Bayer is rich with professional challenges, diverse roles and career opportunities. We offer a broad range of opportunities across the entire organization to fulfill employees’ professional aspirations and fully leverage their potential. We have a strong people and development focus, using a variety of approaches that help us retain talent. Here are just two of those approaches:

“We use Assessment and Development Centers, which look at employees’ personal strengths and development opportunities in the context of leadership requirements. Employees are evaluated in several situations that reflect a variety of leadership challenges, in preparation for higher leadership roles. This provides employees with a comprehensive view of their potential and readiness for future leadership roles, helping them chart their best career path at Bayer. One of the unique features of this program is the direct involvement of senior leaders who act as observers and coaches, emphasizing senior leaders’ commitment to develop our people.

“In addition, being a large global company, we offer employees development opportunities through both short- and long-term assignments abroad. These opportunities give employees a broader understanding and perspective of the business, positioning them for challenging and exciting career opportunities in various parts of the organization.”



Daniela Lohre

Daniela Lohre
Director Personnel Marketing and Talent Relationship Management – Bosch

Daniela Lohre has been Director Personnel Marketing and Talent Relationship Management since 2014 in Bosch Headquarters in Stuttgart Germany. Before joining Bosch in 2009 in marketing & sales, she worked several years for an OEM in the area of marketing and communications.

“Our core retention driver is meaningful jobs. More than 80 percent of our 390,000 associates worldwide are proud to work for Bosch. Our people work on worthwhile endeavors such as the future of mobility or the internet of things. They shape tomorrow’s connected world with technology that improves people’s lives.

And because there is such a wide variety of different functional areas, industries, and organizational structures (whether within the traditional hierarchy, projects, or start-ups) to choose from, associates can effectively change jobs without changing their employer.”



Tina Jones

Tina Jones
SVP, Global HR – Cadence

Tina Jones is the senior vice president of Global Human Resources at Cadence Design Systems, where she leads talent and culture strategy to drive the company’s growth.

“Our key differentiator when it comes to retaining our people is the culture we have built. When you give employees opportunities to challenge themselves and grow while working in an environment that values openness and collaboration, you are often able to retain talented, dedicated people who want to build their careers with you.

I feel Cadence has done this well. At Cadence, 41% of employees have stayed with the company for more than a decade, and our attrition rate is well below industry standards. I attribute this to our “One Cadence – One Team” culture and our commitment to making Cadence a place where employees feel proud to work and feel that they are able to make an impact through meaningful work.”



Lisa Sterling

Lisa Sterling
Chief People Officer – Ceridian

Lisa Sterling is the Chief People Officer for Ceridian, focused on executing the organization’s global people strategy combined with leading the vision of Dayforce Talent Management. A recognized thought leader to the market and Ceridian’s clientele, Lisa has a true passion for people and products and promotes new ways of bringing the two together in a way that drives business outcomes. Follow her @lisamsterling.

“Creating a strong workforce and an enviable workplace culture is not just about hiring the right people – though that’s certainly a start. It is also about making the commitment – as an organization – to continually invest in the employee experience. That means providing employees with opportunities for education, experience and exposure on an ongoing basis, helping them learn new skills and grow their career potential.

Companies should also have a formal process and best practices in place for moving people into new roles within their existing organization. With people switching jobs more often than in the past, growing employees internally, through new roles, responsibilities and functions is a fantastic way to retain talent and build new leaders.

Above all, organizations and their leaders should not lose sight of the importance of creating an empowered workforce. An organization that allows for flexibility; that encourages people to engage in their communities outside of work; that provides opportunities for people to contribute directly and that recognizes individuals for their contributions will undoubtedly far better at keeping people motivated and excited to come back to work every day, give their best and even go beyond what is asked of them.

Human Capital Management Technology (HCM) can be used by organizations to not only attract, develop, manage and pay people, but also to build great teams and drive employee engagement through connectivity, communication and collaboration.”



Nicole Olver

Nicole Olver
Head of People Operations – Contently

With an eclectic background in International Development, Music, and Tech, Nicole is an Aussie who loves disrupting the HR space, finding new ways to get people excited about coming to work, and putting the ‘human’ back into Human Resources.

“Contently was founded six years ago with the mission of helping brands tell compelling stories through premium, original content, and we’ve been fortunate that some truly amazing people share that same vision.

One of my favorite perks that we offer is a two-month paid sabbatical for employees who’ve been with Contently for five years, and our first wave of sabbaticals is already under way. For some it’s a chance to do some heavy traveling: our co-founder Shane Snow recently returned from Bali, Medellin, and Sydney, and our Director of Accounts Rob Haber is soon heading out to explore the National Parks out west, including Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, Redwoods, and the Painted Desert. For others it’s a chance to combine the down time with pursuing outside passions: our VP of Content Sam Slaughter took two months to play guitar while exploring Joshua Tree with his dog Charlie, and our CEO Joe Coleman took a more domestic approach, combining his sabbatical with his paternity leave to welcome his son.

But the amazing perks don’t only kick in at five years. We also offer all employees unlimited vacation and flexible work hours. That sort of stress-free flexibility can be game changing for young professionals balancing life in the city. Our Art Director recently took a half-day to cheer on her son at his Field Day, and our Talent Associate spent two weeks in Singapore last winter, working remotely, to celebrate Chinese New Year with her family. Not having to stress about vacation time also keeps our team sane through peak wedding season- picking and choosing weddings to attend is a tricky business without having to add negotiating vacation time into the mix.

For me, managing Human Resources has always been a very literal pursuit – and an organization’s most valuable resource, is literally its humans. Designing benefits and systems that ensure every human at Contently feels valued isn’t just a personal joy, it’s also a pursuit that makes good business sense.”



Jenn Saavedra

Jenn Saavedra
VP, Talent & Culture – Dell

Jenn Saavedra, PhD, serves as the senior vice president of the Talent & Culture organization at Dell. The work of this HR function is focused on driving the strategy and signature practices encompassing how the company’s leaders can create a productive work environment and healthy company culture, ultimately, inspiring greater customer value and stronger business results. Her vision and leadership across the talent and culture ecosystem of the company are founded in the use of research and predictive analytical insight.

“You need big ears.

Foundationally, you need to start with understanding the culture your team members need to win. At our company that meant extensive research. As Michael Dell will say about better understanding customers – you need to have big ears.

We took that sentiment to heart inside the company as well when we developed Dell’s Culture Code. We turned our collective ears toward team members to help define our culture as the driver of how we run the business, go to market, work effectively together and provide inspirational leadership. What we heard was inspiring and greatly informed the development of our corporate Culture Code. Built atop team member feedback, the results of our research led to the creation of a powerful set of values, beliefs and leadership principles that serve to unite us and make for a great place to work. Simply put, our Culture Code encompasses how we lead, inspire and work together to create value for our customers, communities and our people.

Not surprisingly, I believe every aspect of a company’s culture, talent and leadership strategy should be led by rigorous analysis. Our Chief Human Resources Officer expands on how we drive our leaders to be better managers by focusing on the leadership attributes that matter the most to our people. Only through extensive research were we able to uncover that team members’ engagement, company pride and optimism all dropped by more than 30% when they shifted from an inspiring leader to an uninspiring one.

By listening to our people, we were able to demystify leadership for our leaders by defining the specific leadership principles that most inspire our teams. For instance, we can show that of our seven leadership principles, vision and selflessness are the two principles that currently matter the most to Dell’s team members.”



Jacky Simmonds

Jacky Simmonds
Group Director People – easyJet

Jacky joined easyJet in January 2016, as Group People Director. Jacky is an experienced HR professional who has aligned talent, development, employee relations and engagement strategies on both a local and global level. She has also led large scale organisational transformational programmes and is experienced with mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures.

“At easyJet we believe that working in an open, honest environment which values an individual’s contribution goes a long way towards retaining them.

In addition, regular assessments and a focus on developing people, particularly those with high talent who could be the greatest risk in terms of retention, play a vital role so we can ensure they are fully aware of the opportunities available to them at easyJet.”



Nancy Altobello

Nancy Altobello
Global Vice Chair of Talent – EY

Nancy assumes the massive responsibility of ensuring EY finds and retains the best talent globally. Adapting recruiting practices, developing leaders, emphasizing D&I and establishing a strong workplace culture for 250,000+ employees worldwide are also among her top priorities. Nancy began her 37-year career at EY in accounting, progressing up the ranks to hold a number of senior titles. Under Nancy’s leadership in the Talent function, EY is now among the top multinational workplaces, and it was most recently named the #1 professional services company in the world by Universum and Fortune.

“Since we have been more explicit about our purpose – Building a better working world – we have seen a drastic improvement in hiring and people retention.

We measure our people’s engagement and connection to the firm every two years in a global people survey. The survey findings show a 9-point gain in our people being motivated by EY’s vision for the future and a 15-point gain in understanding our strategy and their role in achieving it. Having purpose gives our 250,000 people around the world energy, and being clear about our ambition helps turn that energy into results.”



Jennifer Hulett

Jennifer Hulett
Head of Human Resources – Ericsson North America

Jenn Hulett joined Ericsson in 2015 as the Head of Human Resources and Organization for North America. Based in Plano, Texas, she is responsible for all strategic HR direction and activities in support of 14,000 employees throughout the US and Canada.

“Culture is intangible but it it’s a huge part our retention strategy. We promote work life balance, innovation and a very collaborative work environment. Our excellent benefits that are low to no cost to our employees and our focus on wellness is a key retention strategy. Ericsson is a truly global company and our career framework allows our employees to have a global career spanning countries and functions doing work that truly changes the world.”



Michelle Wagner

Michelle Wagner
SVP, People Operations – Evernote

Michelle Wagner is Senior Vice President of People Operations at Evernote where she leads the People functions of Evernote. She brings 20 years of experience to her role and firmly believes that understanding the company’s business and the culture of its people is a bare minimum to building an engaged workforce.

“At Evernote, we believe the team you build is the company you build; it is important to make sure our employees feel like they are working towards a common mission. Our philosophy on retention is to listen to employees and provide them with all the resources they need to show up as their best selves and do their best work. We are invested in developing Evernoters both personally and professionally – we call it “caring for the herd.”

We offer a wide range of benefits ranging across intellectual, financial, health to learning and developing new skills – it is more than just a nod to the elephant in Evernote’s logo or a clever benefit tagline. It’s the framework and philosophy we live by. We also invest in holding spaces for Evernoters to share feedback on a regular basis through quarterly pulse surveys, ask-me-anything meetings and our bi-weekly All-Hands so our employees are heard, feel connected to and contribute to the success of Evernote. We feel All-Hands is a great forum to share information and gather feedback as it attended by employees from around the world.”



Carmel Galvin

Carmel Galvin
Chief Human Resources Officer – Glassdoor

Carmen is responsible for directing all the people functions at Glassdoor and brings nearly 25 years of extensive international experience in HR from information services, tech and finance industries at companies like Advent Software, Deloitte, Visa, IBM, among others. Her background includes a particular focus on executive/leadership coaching and developing organizational culture and employee engagement programs.

“At Glassdoor, we’re all about employee feedback, which means really listening to our employees and then making changes to keep them engaged and productive. This not only impacts employee retention, but it also helps recruit new talent because it shows prospective employees that they will be heard and valued at Glassdoor.

We know that people have a lot of choices right now in terms of where they go to work, and by listening to our employees, and using their feedback to make improvements, we not only engage our talent but also keep it with us.

We encourage our employees to candidly share feedback on our own platform, Glassdoor. We’ve found this to be extremely useful and encourage all employers to take advantage of Glassdoor to get a better sense of how employees really feel within their organizations.”


Grant Thornton

Jenn Barnett

Jenn Barnett
Head of People – Grant Thornton

Jenn is Head of People Experience at Grant Thornton UK LLP, leading the team focused on creating a purpose led people experience, embedding behaviours and ways of working to enable people to perform and develop in the spirit of a Shared Enterprise, unlocking growth and opportunity for our clients. Jenn has broad expertise in large scales transformational change and organisational design programmes, executive coaching and leadership development.

“The key for us to employee retention, is our culture. Our people stay because they like our culture and they are encouraged to grow and to fulfill their potential.
We’ve spent time helping our people understand our purpose and their connection to it which creates a greater sense of belonging. Our shared enterprise approach means that we are giving all of our people a voice regardless of seniority, allowing them to work together responsibly and share in superior profit thus engendering a sense of ownership and pride.

When bringing new people in we focus on hiring people who fit into our culture, who really get our values and principles of Shared Enterprise; it’s just as important, if not more so, than talent alone.”


Hays PLC

Steve Orr

Steve Orr
Regional Managing Director – Hays PLC

In 1999 Steven joined Hays Specialist Recruitment as Assistant Finance Director for Hays Construction & Property and Hays Education. In 2011 Steven made the transition from Finance into the operational side of the business when appointed Managing Director for Hays London Construction & Property and Public Sector. In 2013 Steven was appointed Managing Director for Hays London & The South.

“At Hays we invest in training and development so we can support employee career progression in all areas. By doing so we create a culture where people want to work and want to pursue their careers.

In return we expect employees to be genuinely committed to developing their own career – and that learning is personally important to them. Our training is industry leading with a mix of training styles to suit different people, and the type of training required.

Employees want to be challenged by their role so by ensuring that our staff are aware of the career paths and development opportunities – both within their teams, within the UK business and globally – helps drive engagement levels.

We’re also aware that different generations want different things from their careers and their employers so if we want an engaged workforce we need to make sure we are aligned with their motivators and expectations. For example, the younger generations want to know that they are doing something worthwhile, so we make sure we are conveying the importance of what we do in our talent strategies.”



Sam Ladah

Sam Ladah
HR VP, IBM Cloud and Talent – IBM

Sam Ladah is the HR Vice President for IBM’s rapidly growing Cloud business unit. He also leads the Talent Organization for IBM globally, including talent acquisition, workforce management, workforce analytics, performance management, and professional development.

“We’re very focused on the link between retention and career advancement. In any given year, about 20% of our people will move into a new job role or they take a new position in a different IBM division. Our 380,000 employees have the opportunity to work in cloud, cognitive solutions, sales, consulting, software development, business analytics or technology services — and many of those who move internally are promoted as they move.

Our recent focus has been on using our own cognitive technologies, like Watson, to deliver personalized learning and career guidance that’s based on the employee’s role, skill profile and goals. Whether it’s a promotion or a lateral move, we know those who progress are much more likely to stay with IBM over the long term.”



Paul Wolfe

Paul Wolfe
SVP, Human Resources – Indeed

Paul Wolfe is Senior Vice President of Human Resources at Indeed, where he serves on Indeed’s senior leadership team and is responsible for aligning human resource goals with the strategic direction of the company. Paul has over 15 years of experience as a human resources executive, and has served as a Vice President and Senior Vice President at a number of well-known companies, including Match.com, Orbitz, Conde Nast and Ticketmaster.

“The challenge of worker retention is really a challenge of keeping employees engaged. How can you keep workers interested and motivated? Career development and progression is certainly a big part of that. At Indeed, we look to ensure career paths to new titles and roles. But more than that, managers try to make sure people have a chance to take on new projects, new focuses, or even shift departments within the company. These opportunities can make a big difference if someone feels they’re starting to get stuck in a rut.

A broader, but definitely crucial aspect for worker retention is having a strong company mission and culture. At Indeed, every role is centered around the mission statement that ‘We Help People Get Jobs.’ Everybody understands what those five words mean and can rally around them. This, in turn, develops a culture of camaraderie and friendship. As work is also a social network, people are more inclined to stay if they have friends and relationships created in part from a clear and focused mission.”


Jaguar Land Rover

Ian Harnett

Ian Harnett
Executive Director, Human Resources and Global Purchasing – Jaguar Land Rover

In April 2015 Ian was appointed as Executive Director of Human Resources and Global Purchasing, also picking up responsibility for all Jaguar Land Rover Property matters globally. Ian has been the Director of Purchasing, Jaguar Land Rover since 2009. Previously Ian was responsible for establishment of the new Strategic Business Office at Jaguar Land Rover, as well as heading the Transition Team as Jaguar Land Rover was divested from Ford Motor Company.

“Our long-term success relies on our ability to recruit and keep the best people, and our Learning Academy is central to life-long skills development – stretching from apprenticeships to advanced post-graduate research at the cutting edge of automotive technology.

More than 10,000 employees have already taken the opportunity to develop their existing skills and expand their future capacity in this way, and we believe the Academy plays an important role in employee retention by providing a route to fulfilling potential and a glimpse of possible future career paths.

Jaguar Land Rover invests £100m per year in the development of its people, equipping our employees and supply chain partners with the skills to build and sell our future cars. We are among the UK’s largest recruiters of graduates and apprentices, having taken on 2,500 over the past five years.”


Keller Williams

Joy Schwartz

Joy Schwartz
Director, Recruiting & Talent Strategy – Keller Williams

Joy Schwartz is a Recruiting Leader & Talent Strategist with a passion for helping growth companies develop the recruiting teams, infrastructure and strategies that enable hyper growth and organizational health. Joy takes a pragmatic, business focused approach in helping companies hire and scale high functioning teams. With over 10 years of recruiting and HR experience, Joy has worked at and help build multiple Austin, TX and Bay Area “Top Places to Work” companies.

“The key to employee retention is understanding what drives top talent. ‘A Players’ want to be challenged, they want opportunities for personal and professional growth. As the #1 Training Organization this is something we understand and do well at Keller Williams. From tuition reimbursement to leadership training, speaking engagements to industry conferences, every employee here is challenged to create and execute their own career development growth plan. Give people the opportunity and tools to support their biggest dream and they will stay.”



Lisa Butler

Lisa Butler
Chief Talent & Diversity Officer – Manulife

As Manulife’s Chief Talent & Diversity Officer, Lisa Butler is responsible for ensuring that Manulife has the talent it needs to effectively execute its business strategy. To accomplish this goal, Lisa works in partnership with Manulife’s business and HR leaders to ensure the company attracts, develops and retains a high performing, global workforce. She provides thought leadership in the areas of talent acquisition strategy, talent development, succession, workforce planning, and diversity and inclusion.

“Our most valuable resource is our employees. We work with our employees to create a career experience that engages them and makes them proud to work at Manulife.

Our approach to a fulsome career focuses on flexibility which our employees have told us is meaningful to them. Through flexible programs, employees can achieve both their professional and personal goals, like remote work and adjustable schedules. About 25 per cent of our workforce currently has a flexible work arrangement of some kind, even if it’s just working from home one day per week. We invest in technologies that enable collaboration and facilitate instant communication no matter where the employee chooses to work.

With over 35,000 employees globally, we are one of the fastest growing companies in Asia and we continue to grow even stronger in Canada and the U.S. We have created a workplace that offers unlimited opportunities for employees to realize their career goals.

Whether it’s working abroad, exploring a new career direction or simply progressing in their chosen field, we help our diverse employees reach their full potential. Through Glassdoor, our employees have voted us one of the best places to work in Canada so we believe we’re on the right track.”


Mars Petcare

Cheryl DeSantis

Cheryl DeSantis
VP, People & Organization – Mars Petcare N. America

Cheryl leads the Mars Petcare North American P&O team. She is responsible for the Petcare North American talent strategy and is passionate about building a role model organization that is led by highly engaged and capable Associates, while developing the next generation of leaders.

“You’ll hear a lot about Mars having an open office environment. For us, that stems beyond just the set-up of our office into the way we approach business; leveraging relationships and driving connectivity.

It also impacts the way we think about career development. Associates at Mars are encouraged to think broadly about their careers – taking the time to identify the areas that they find most inspiring and following those paths, without feeling limited by function, segment, or country.

With six different business segments (Chocolate, Wrigley, Petcare, Food, Drinks, and Symbioscience) and offices in 78 countries, our Associates are encouraged to pursue development opportunities that have a mutual benefit – helping get them where they want to go while also supporting the needs of the business.

Our people strategy revolves around helping Associates identify those paths and helping them to navigate what growth and development looks like. For those who want it, the opportunity is there to have multiple careers within the same company.”



Kathleen Hogan

Kathleen Hogan
Chief People Officer – Microsoft

As Chief People Officer at Microsoft, Kathleen Hogan empowers 100,000+ global employees to achieve Microsoft’s mission. In her role, she focuses on making Microsoft an exceptional place for employees to work, and ensures that the company is creating a culture that attracts and inspires the world’s most passionate talent. As a breast cancer survivor, she lends her personal and business perspective to the board of directors of the Puget Sound affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. She’s also actively involved in helping young girls cultivate an interest in technology careers, and currently serves on the board of the National Center for Women & Information Technology.

“At Microsoft, we believe purpose and culture are key to unlocking an employee’s engagement and full potential. We have grounded our culture in a growth mindset, and apply that to our mission –to empower others to achieve more through technology. While pay and benefits are table stakes to keep great talent, we believe working alongside amazing peers to realize your own personal mission is the most powerful retention strategy.”



Nilufer Koechlin

Nilufer Koechlin
Senior Director of HR – NVIDIA

Nilufer Koechlin is the senior director of human resources responsible for people strategies and the organizational development of NVIDIA’s global engineering talent. Koechlin has been at NVIDIA for over 12 years.

“NVIDIA’s employee retention rate is amongst the highest in Silicon Valley, and we take great pride in that. With that in mind, our retention strategy is pretty simple:

1. Hire the most talented people in the industry. Our current employees put enormous value in collaborating with smart and talented co-workers.

2. Invest in your employees, their families, and their communities. NVIDIA cares deeply about its employees and their entire ecosystem. Your benefits and programs need to reflect this philosophy as well. The genuine commitment to both work-life and the personal well-being of employees is a powerful connection that creates an amazing culture of pride and success.”



Oliver Watson

Oliver Watson
Executive Board Director UK & North America – PageGroup

As Executive Board Director of PageGroup for UK & North America, Oliver Watson is responsible for all Michael Page, Page Executive and Page Personnel operations in the UK & North America. As a member of PageGroup’s Executive Board, Oliver develops and executes Group strategy and manages a work group of 1800 colleagues covering all Fee Earning, Marketing, Finance, HR, IT & Business Support functions.

“With the quality of the work environment increasingly becoming an important factor when making career decisions today, changing the way your business engages with its employees has become a vital part of maintaining a happy workforce. The introduction of a high-trust, high-performance work environment has probably been one of the most popular and effective employee retention strategies we have launched to date.

Encouraging employees to lead a healthy lifestyle whilst finding the right work-life balance not only improves engagement levels, but also drives higher performance by getting people to think, manage and work differently. At PageGroup, we’ve even welcomed previous employees back to the business since adopting a more dynamic way of working.

Offering employees the right self-development opportunities is another essential part of reducing staff turnover. Recognising your employees’ efforts, but also investing in their success and career development can be extremely rewarding on the long run – employees will most likely look to grow their career elsewhere if they don’t feel valued in their current job.

At PageGroup, the sales-driven environment that most of our employees work in has allowed us to develop a range of successful incentive programmes. Incentives including cash prizes, travel opportunities and extra paid leave are fantastic ways for us to show our appreciation for our employees’ hard work – a small investment to pay for the tremendous levels of engagement and positive feedback we receive from our workforce in return.”



Jay Schedler

Jay Schedler
VP of Human Resources – Paylocity

Jay Schedler is the Vice President of Human Resources at Paylocity, where he assumes responsibility for both people and human resources strategy. Jay has more than 20 years of professional services and consumer product experience for both domestic and international companies.

“At Paylocity, we have developed a number of retention strategies that not only keep our employees happy, but also cultivate high-performing teams.

A healthy work/life balance is a top reason why employees stay with Paylocity. Most roles have the flexibility to work remotely at least one or two days per week, and management encourages taking time off to recharge. This balance is both beneficial to the employee’s well-being and level of productivity.

Additionally, since Paylocity recruits and hires with a “talent-anywhere” approach, meaning we hire the best talent regardless of location, many employees are 100 percent remote. Providing the right tools and technology ensures employees can communicate effectively with remote employees and serves as another strong retention tool.”


PCL Construction

Stacey Bledsoe

Stacey Bledsoe
Director, Human Resources Services – PCL Construction

Stacey Bledsoe, MHR, SPHR, has more than 17 years of experience in human resources management, 11 of those years in construction operations. She holds a bachelor of arts degree in business management from Samford University a masters of human resources management from Rollins College, a senior professional of HR certification from the HR Certification Institute, and a SHRM-SCP from the Society of Human Resources Management.

“At PCL Construction, our employees are our number one asset and we like to pride ourselves on our impressive employee retention numbers.

Currently, we have 9.2% of employees who ‘ve been with the company for more than 20 years, 23% who’ve been with the company for more than 10 years, and 17.8% of employees who’ve been with PCL for more than five years.

We believe our “secret sauce” is our employee ownership model, which is extremely unique in that all salaried employees have the opportunity to share in the profits of our company. Today, more than 90% of our employees participate in the share ownership program which creates an inclusive mindset where we are in this together, like a family.

Secondly, everyone here loves to build, and we construct some of the most exciting and challenging projects in the world. We understand that our employees want to do meaningful work and contribute in a way that will leave a lasting legacy.

And last, but certainly not least, we have a culture that supports the health and wellness of our employees. It focuses on key areas including: community involvement; physical and mental health; financial fitness; and social. This really creates a unique culture as we support the whole employee.”



Agnès Hussherr

Agnès Hussherr
Global Human Capital Leader – PwC

As Global Human Capital Leader, Agnès drives the people strategy for the PwC Network. Based in Paris, she also sits on the PwC France leadership team, as Human Capital & Culture Managing Partner. Agnès is a proud mother of a daughter and two sons and when she’s not spending time with her family, her hobbies include flying (she holds a private pilot license), golf and reading.

“At PwC, we use various strategies to create a working environment where people want to stay. One of the key ones is that we ask them! Every year we run a global engagement survey where we ask our people how we can improve their experience at PwC. Another important element is change – changing our people’s experience and trying new things keeps their experience at PwC fresh.

We know that our people want to receive feedback in real time so that they can develop and grow their careers. So we’re rolling out the Global Leadership Development Experience, an integrated approach that promotes real-time development, fosters a culture of continuous learning, and enables everyone to map out and follow their own personal career path. It’s made up of a combination of tools, relationships and events that support everyone to achieve their potential. We also have an active international mobility programme, so our people can avail of opportunities to increase their global acumen, gain valuable experiences and learn about other cultures, working in different countries. At any given time in PwC, there are over 3,500 people on international assignments.

Flexibility is key for a multi-generational workforce like ours. Everyone has a life outside work, and people’s aspirations and expectations change over time. That’s why so many PwC firms run programmes to help our people be happy both at and away from work. A great example is the ‘All Roles Flex’ initiative rolled out by PwC Australia in 2015, enabling all of its 6,000 people and future hires to have a say in where, when, and how they work. In fact flexibility will soon be available in an increasing number of firms across the network as we roll out “Everyday Flexibility” this year.”



Ramon Chen

Ramon Chen
Chief Product Officer – Reltio

Ramon Chen is responsible for product management and marketing at Reltio. Prior to Reltio, he was VP of Product Marketing for Commercial and has over 25 years of experience running marketing and product management teams at RainStor, Siperian, GoldenGate Software, MetaTV, Evolve Software, Sterling Software and Synon Inc.

“At Reltio, we focus on hiring for the leaders of the future. As we grow into a billion-dollar company, we want those who join today to have the most rounded and comprehensive view across the business, so that, as they become the leaders of each of their respective functions, they also become the general managers of each of those groups or business units. We invest in people immediately – on the first day. This lets employees know they are valued and that the company believes in them.

“We believe that reporting structures, and opportunities for advancement need to be transparent to keep employees happy. End of year reviews and pay raises based on milestones are outdated. At Reltio, we have an open door policy, wherein all employees are encouraged to submit their thoughts and take responsibility for projects. While there are managers, it’s a meritocracy, and everyone can operate on the level at which they need to do their job. We find this goes a long way in keeping employees engaged, and helps us keep talent.”



Stefan Ries

Stefan Ries
Member of the Executive Board and CHRO – SAP

Stefan Ries, Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) and Labor Relations Director, is a member of the Executive Board of SAP SE with global responsibility for Human Resources. He was appointed to the Executive Board of SAP SE in April 2016. To support innovation, Stefan attaches great importance to a diverse working culture. He is convinced that appreciating the differences among people, their unique backgrounds and personalities is a key success factor for SAP.

“What matters? Experiences. This is not only our HR motto 2017 at SAP; delivering a positive people experience is critical to attract, develop and retain talent in digital times. At SAP, we have five generations and a diverse workforce – all are part of our digital transformation. We aim to retain talent through multiple ways:

Living an open dialogue and culture:

  • How we run behaviors – “values” developed from our employees for our employees i.e. Tell it like it is. Stay curious.
  • Annual People Survey – 2016: employee engagement index: 85% (2015: 82%), leadership trust net promoter score: 57% (2015: 52%)

Continuously investing in Learning to get our teams ready for digitization:

  • One learning experience across Board areas, learning investments: 2017: 187 Mio € (2016: 140 Mio €)
  • Leadership Curriculum: mandatory trainings for leaders at all levels globally

Fostering employee engagement and constant innovation:

  • Innovation Campaigns (i.e. Intrapreneurship@SAP, Hasso Plattner Founders’ Award)
  • Social Sabbatical Programs (i.e. four weeks spent voluntarily on a social project)
  • Equity Programs (i.e. Own SAP – share purchase programs)

According to our 2016 people survey, 92% would recommend SAP as a great place to work. Recently we have been listed i.e. as a Fortune 100 best company to work for (#59 SAP America) and as a #1 best place to work (Germany) by Glassdoor. These are results I am personally proud of.”


Schneider Electric

Olivier Blum

Olivier Blum
Chief Human Resources Officer – Schneider Electric

Olivier is Chief Human Resources Officer and member of the Executive Committee since 2014. He began his career at Schneider Electric in 1993 as Marketing Engineer. He has held several key positions in the company such as Vice-Director Country Sales, France, Managing Director & Country President of Schneider Electric India, Head of Strategy and Marketing Director for overall China, etc.

“For our early-career employees, we have ‘mirror group’ programs that provide a forum for exchange of ideas with / feedback from senior leaders. The concept is simple and practical and establishes an open, trust-based platform for cross generational dialogue. It also allows senior leaders to interact with high potential talent in a structured way.

As an example, in HR we sponsor each year a group of around 20 early-career HR talent who have the potential to develop and grow at Schneider Electric. The participants are divided into small teams of 4-5 and tasked to address a critical universal HR topic. Each group is coached by a HR leader from project conception to final pitch to the CHRO and the leadership team. Along the way they are exposed to other development opportunities to accelerate their learning.

Our global talent and diversity ambition is to create equal opportunities for everyone everywhere. To reflect our business footprint and to attract great diverse talent from all around the world, we have a ‘multi-hub’ model based on 3 global hubs (Paris, Boston, Hong Kong) and several satellite offices where majority of global leadership positions are located. Schneider Electric no longer has a sole HQ. We deliberately established the multi-hub model so that our employees from all markets feel they have an equal chance for career development.”


Southwest Airlines

Shari Conaway

Shari Conaway
Director, People – Southwest Airlines

Shari Conaway has been with Southwest Airlines for 23 years, with over 30 years in HR. In her current role as Director People, she is responsible for staffing, compliance, onboarding, the Campus Reach Internship Program and the Drug & Alcohol Program.

“At Southwest Airlines, it’s all about People (notice the capitalized “P”—it’s on purpose!). Think about it. Whenever someone talks about flying Southwest, what do they talk about? The People. It could be a funny Flight Attendant, a Pilot who helps a young mother with a baby during boarding, or a hug from a gate agent. It could even be a group of Ramp Agents holding “thank you” signs outside the plane.

People are our most important asset and retention is a high-level focus for us. It starts with creating a great place to work—our Culture. Every Southwest Employee is expected to Live the Southwest Way. That means having a Warrior Spirit, a Servant’s Heart, and a Fun-LUVing Attitude. It’s how we treat our Customers and how we treat each other. We hire for it, we coach to it, and we celebrate it.

In addition to great Culture, we focus on developing great Leaders who in turn focus on helping People develop and grow to accomplish their career goals. We definitely have operational roles, but we also offer exciting high potential careers in several departments like Marketing, Finance, Technology, and HR. Whether it is at the Southwest Airlines University, our state of the art training facility that provides technical training and personal and professional development opportunities through classroom and online forum, or off campus education supported by our tuition reimbursement program, we work hard to help our Peoples’ careers take-off.

On top of it all, we offer a great package of WorkPerks that include competitive compensation, flight privileges, and first-rate wellness and healthcare programs.

And when Employees retire from Southwest, they will be well prepared after having participated in our generous 401K programs (dollar for dollar up to 9.3% for most work groups) as well as our generous ProfitSharing program (for 2016, every eligible Employee received a ProfitSharing award equal to 13. 2% of their eligible salary).

With great Culture, great opportunity, and great WorkPerks, why would anyone want to work somewhere else?”


Surbana Jurong

Daphne Lok

Daphne Lok
Director, HR, SE Asia – Surbana Jurong

Daphne heads Human Resources at Surbana Jurong, South East Asia, a leading engineering and architectural consultancy firm with a global workforce of 13,000 employees in over 110 offices across 44 countries.

“There is no one-size-fits-all strategy to employee retention. Our line managers are encouraged to have regular one-on-one conversations with employees to discover their aspirations and motivations. These dialogues help keep the communication channels open so that we may align and where possible, personalize what’s on offer to individual employees.

Often this goes beyond monetary rewards – for some, they look forward to having an opportunity to travel and work collaboratively in multi-country, multi-disciplinary teams, while for others, it is a chance to be on a project that allows them to flex their mental muscles to resolve a more technically complex engineering problem, and yet for another group, what they value may be the chance to jump onto a leadership development program at a prestigious business school, etc.

Ultimately, retention requires us to understand and motivate our employees, one employee at a time.”



David Hanrahan

David Hanrahan
VP of People Operations – Zendesk

David Hanrahan is the VP of People Ops at Zendesk in San Francisco. Previously at Change.org, Twitter, and Electronic Arts, Mr. Hanrahan has spent the majority of his career scaling and innovating HR and Recruiting functions in the tech industry.

“At Zendesk, keeping our employees around the world engaged and enthusiastic is paramount. One of our key retention strategies is placing special focus on our employees’ “intent to stay,” because of the strong correlation with retention risk.

We couple the results from a recurring internal survey that assesses intent to still be at Zendesk in 12 months and the patterns we see from our Glassdoor reviews to gain this insight. When we see a team’s intent to stay start to drop, we can often prevent actual attrition if we move quickly. We do this by working directly with managers on a tailored plan to prevent attrition, leveraging Kanjoya, a technology that helps us collect and understand employee feedback, to nail down exactly what the problem is. With participation at nearly 85% globally, it’s worth noting that our survey results consistently predict strong employee retention overall.

The other way that we retain employees is by encouraging them to engage with their neighboring community and make a meaningful difference outside of the workplace. Zendesk’s CSR team facilitates this by creating programs for employees that connect them with underserved neighbors in substantial and dynamic ways.

Whether they’re serving meals to the homeless, tutoring local youth, playing bingo with seniors, or donating time and resources to build products that address complex challenges (see LinkSF), Zendeskians are empowered to proactively make a change they can see in a neighborhood that needs help. In participating in these CSR initiatives, employees create a powerful sense of community and go home with something to be proud of outside of their professional endeavors.”



Dan Spaulding

Dan Spaulding
Chief People Officer – Zillow

As the Vice President and Head of People and Culture for Zillow Group, Dan oversees the company’s human resources, recruiting and learning & development teams. He focuses on creating solutions to attract, engage, develop and retain Zillow Group’s talented employees across nine offices and multiple consumer and business brands.

“At Zillow Group, our retention strategy is the same as our recruitment strategy: we strive to make our work environment the best it can be.

We accomplish that through more than just our snacks and perks – we accomplish it through having a meaningful mission and a transparent workplace. We communicate our mission regularly and tie it back to the work employees do every day. People at Zillow Group understand how their work contributes to the company’s broader goals.

Our focus on transparency drives us to share our successes with employees, but also to answer their tough questions, share our failings and collectively learn how to make the company better. Transparency around purpose and environment creates a high standard for everyone – executives, managers, and employees – and helps us hold each other accountable. This means that when times are tough, we don’t hide from issues. That is what we all want from any relationship: mutual and honest investment from both sides.

Though we always have room to grow, we found in a recent employee survey that our measured engagement is about 87 percent, with about 95 percent of employees saying they would recommend working here. This momentum is powerful. We trust our employees and treat them like adults, and in return they positively engage with us to solve problems and grow the business.”

Give them a great experience!

One of the most interesting things that I learned during this study, was that employee retention strategies aren’t something that only Human Resources has responsibility for. Great companies recognize that it has to be woven into the fabric of their very existence. It’s about giving your employees a fulfilling experience at the workplace today and the opportunity for a great future.

Your employee retention strategies might involve opportunities for further education, a sabbatical, giving people the opportunity to work across the globe, the right financial rewards and financial wellness benefits, etc. But what’s common to all these initiatives is about listening to your employees and understanding and respecting their present and future needs.

Give people a great experience today and tomorrow, and they will stay!

Which of these employee retention strategies resonated with you? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Peter Banerjea

About the Author:

Peter Banerjea is Co-Founder of SuccessIsWhat, a blog on leadership and productivity. He is also a leadership coach and his work has appeared in Huffington Post, Fast Company, Lifehacker and other top blogs.

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