3 Steps to a 98% Employee Retention Rate!


Yes, it’s true. You’ve read it right—BetterWorks, an enterprise goal-setting platform, has a staggering 98% employee retention rate! Pretty remarkable, huh?! But it didn’t achieve this figure with just luck. Rather, it set out to strategically change its hiring process, establishing higher retention as a goal. Gaining higher retention rates starts during the hiring process—not later.

In our latest Hiring Hacks webinar, BetterWorks CEO Kris Duggan shows how other companies can mimic this level of success.

Read below to learn Kris’ 3 easy steps for building a hiring process that promotes a higher employee retention rate so that your company can achieve higher retention, too:

Step 1: Define your culture credo and promote it during the hiring process

Culture has become a key differentiator among organizations. In fact, companies with a strong culture use it as a selling point for job candidates during the hiring process.

A strong culture means that employees see the company as more than just a “job”; they’re invested and engaged in aspects of the company that go outside the confines of their work, and this actually leads to a stronger all-around performance. (A recent study conducted by StackHands even found that companies with engaged employees outperform those without by up to 202%).

Not surprisingly, employee retention is a by-product of a great company with a great culture. One of the first steps in enhancing a company's culture is examining the culture credo. This credo is often a few terms or phrases that represents what the company stands for. At Greenhouse, our culture credo consists of these attributes: authentic, effective, customer-focused, inclusive and open-minded, collaborative, and ambitious.

However, what companies are often missing is the communication component. It’s great to have a well-defined credo, but what good is it if it’s not clearly communicated to candidates? How can others get excited about the company or the role if they are not aware of the type of culture the company believes in?

Kris encourages companies to not just have a list of adjectives or nouns, but to go beyond that. Once a few words have been selected, define them in your own words. Excellence might mean one thing at your company but another thing to the company next door. So, make sure your definitions are specific and draw on behavioral examples that truly capture the values.

Over time, companies change (size, location, management structure, etc.)—there’s no denying that. But even so, the company values should remain consistent. This only happens when the company has made culture a top priority.  

Step 2: Assign a homework assignment during the interview process

Another tactic that leads to a higher retention rate is implementing homework assignments as part of the interview process. An assignment should always pertain to the role itself. For example, assign a sales candidate to pitch the company product or a content marketing candidate to write a blog post. This will give the company clear insight into the candidate’s skills and thought process—and the candidate, a clear picture of the type of work they would be doing and the expectations of the role.

Kris suggests that the candidate should present the homework assignment to a group of stakeholders (recruiter, hiring manager, director, etc.) in an informal setting, enabling a free-flowing discussion to emerge. See the homework assignment as a conversation starter. This allows the company to get a better impression of the candidate and vice versa without any pressure, allowing everyone’s true colors to fly. The end result? If the candidate is hired, there will be a higher probability that he will succeed and be happy, leading to higher retention rates.

Step 3: Master the onboarding program

A common pattern in companies is when a new hire comes on board (and especially if it was a must-fill-now-kind-of role), she’s thrown into the job and asked to tackle problems NOW. She’s expected to jump into her work without much training or “ramp up” time. This is a terrible approach. No matter how intelligent or self-sufficient she may be, throwing her into work on minute one of day one will only hurt her...and the company. It’s likely she will “burn out” rather quickly, and even worse, be turned off to the company for not providing her the tools and resources she needs to perform at her best. The ultimate result? You guessed it—decreased retention rates.

We see here how crucial it is to implement a robust onboading program for all new employees, regardless of department or position. As part of the program, make sure to set 30-day goals for new employees and in doing so, provide realistic expectations for them to meet, such as attending onboarding sessions where they “get to know” the company, completing a small project pertaining to their new role, or meeting with co-workers to learn what they do and devise a collaboration plan for the future. Whatever the goals, have them in writing and make sure that their managers follow up. Quality employees appreciate having regular check-ins so that they know what the expectations are and can be sure they’re meeting them. And by setting expectations, as well as being honest and transparent, each candidate will truly feel that they are at the right company and as a result, will want to perform at their best. Company morale, productivity, and retention rates will skyrocket.

Want to hear the other tactics that BetterWorks uses in maintaining a 98% retention rate? Listen to the webinar here and make sure to stick around for the Q&A, too.

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