Build Staff Loyalty and Retention Rates

Seven simple ways to build staff loyalty and retention rates and be a better manager

Many people progress through their career and through promotion find themselves in management positions without any formal management training. Being a manager is a hard job and being a great manager who inspires a loyal and a productive workforce is even harder.

The good news is that you don’t need to go back to university to learn how to be a better manager. There are a whole heap of small changes you can make in your daily interactions with employees that will make working life more pleasant for everyone and hopefully encourage your employees to stay with you.

Acknowledge success

When managers are under pressure to deliver it is easy to overlook what has been achieved in favour of what hasn’t yet been achieved. This is very unmotivating for employees and could well have the effect of reducing employee effectiveness and engagement. Taking the time to say thanks and review any milestones or achievements which your team has hit will have a great impact on morale.

Acknowledging achievements should be done regularly and in a variety of different forums including one-on-one, in team meetings and in the case of significant achievements through more public forums such as the company intranet or newsletter. Successful completion of a team project or target can also be celebrated by a team lunch or a coffee morning.

The key here is to notice and acknowledge achievements regularly and enthusiastically. Making employees feel like a valued and important part of a productive team will significantly improve the morale of your people.

Do your job!

Being a great manager means leading by example and always doing the best job that you can do. If employees see their managers working to consistently high standards they are likely to perform at the same level.

An important counterbalance to this is not pressuring employees to work longer hours or sacrifice their personal or family commitments to be in the office. Encouraging employees to maintain a healthy work life balance and role modeling the same for yourself will drive significant productivity gains and generate positive feelings in your team.


You are a manager because you are good at doing whatever it is that you do, your job as a manager is to ensure your employees have the chance to do a great job too. An important part of that is delegating tasks and ensuring employees have a range of things to do which stimulate and challenge them.

Delegating jobs gives your employees an opportunity to develop and grow in their career. If you are concerned about how well the task will be done then start small and work up to the big jobs. Providing regular feedback and training to staff doing new things and ensuring that whatever you delegate can be easily fixed up if an error occurs will minimise the likelihood of disaster.

Be nice!

Taking the time to get to know employees on a personal level will have huge impact on how they feel about you as a manager. Remembering one small fact about an employee’s family or personal life and taking the time to ask about it every now and again is an easy way to break down the barriers between employees and managers and improve communication.

Remember not to be overly familiar or ask employees about personal matters such as religion, politics, personal life etc. Knowing your employees on a personal level can motivate high levels of staff loyalty and will also help you support them during family emergencies when they may need extra consideration.

A great rule of thumb here is to manage your staff how you would like to be managed yourself. Employees who are treated nicely are more likely to be nice to colleagues, customers and clients which will have a great effect on the bottom line!


Maintain an open door policy whenever possible so that employees know they can come to you with professional and personal concerns. Ensure employees are kept informed about organisational, staff and strategic changes in a timely fashion and hold regular meetings with employees to ensure they are clear on communal target and any news which directly affects them.

Provide employees with regular feedback both formally and informally. Relying solely on quarterly performance management reviews does not give employees the opportunity to improve their performance in the short term and generally speaking employees want to do a good job. Regular one-on-one meetings with employees to offer constructive and considerate feedback and to answer their questions will be a lot more effective for you as a tool for managing expectations and performance than a formal performance review.

When problems arise deal with them quickly and privately. One of the main reasons employees leave managers according to research company Gallup is because they can’t stand being humiliated. Ensuring you manage staff issues promptly and privately will prevent staff from being humiliated and will promote a problem solving culture.

Be fair

It’s human nature to have favourites and one of the hardest tasks for managers is to avoid displaying favouritism towards staff members who are more positive or productive. Being fair doesn’t involve managing everyone in the same way but it does involve offering everyone on your team the same opportunities and privileges.

All your employees should be given the same opportunities to work flexibly, undergo training and try new and interesting tasks. On the flipside of this Forbes contributor Jessica Kleiman says, where possible, managers should tailor their management style to suit the personality and needs of the employee at hand:

A common error that new managers make is that they treat every employee the same way. I’ve learned over the years that each person has a different personality and work style and, as a result, must be managed differently in order to elicit the results you want from him or her. One may be sensitive and hungry for praise; another may be a self-starter who takes constructive feedback well — so you may have to adapt your communication with each to get the best out of them.

Encourage innovation

Great managers encourage innovation from all their employees no matter what level of the organisation they are at.

The Harvard Business Review offers these three tips for managers wanting to build a stronger innovation culture on their teams:

  • Implement an immediate innovation. As a team, identify ideas that will reduce costs, save time, or improve customer service. Pick one or two to implement right away to demonstrate success
  • Identify an ambitious goal. Once your team has confidence in its ability to innovate, set a larger goal. Can you reduce costs by 50 percent? Can you combine services to help customers?
  • Continually foster innovation. Include ‘Innovation’ as a category in performance reviews. Recognise colleagues who try new approaches even if the results aren’t perfect. And, give people time to think and experiment. (Adapted by Reuters from Innovation Is Everyone’s Job by Ron Ashkenas)

1. The Carrot Principle an OC Tanner book

This Better Workplace Bulletin was first Published in October 2012

Building Staff Loyalty & Retention Rates