Hueman Blog

How to Retain Employees and Improve Employee Satisfaction in 2019

Posted by Dina DeMarco

People standing around a computer, smiling

Employee satisfaction and retention starts with recruitment. Short-sighted hiring approaches can lead to troublesome turnover rates and unhappy teams.

When organizations are short staffed, it affects employee satisfaction and happiness — which can lead to a downward spiral of unhappy employees leaving the business. However, if you get recruitment right from the beginning, you can retain employees AND improve employee satisfaction.

A combination of strong culture and proactive techniques ensures you attract the right people for your company — and that once they sign on, they'll want to stay. Not only will they want to stay, they will also be satisfied with their job and continue to excel.

How do you accomplish this?

By following these three best practices, you will begin to improve retention and overall workplace happiness.

3 Best Practices to Improve Employee Retention and Workplace Happiness

1. Build a strong talent foundation 

Recruit the right employees from the start. You want to build a strong talent foundation at your organization. This will ensure your employees aren't just getting hired to go through the motions day in and day out, but will remain with your business and be satisfied.

4 Types of Candidates


Ensure you are casting your net amongst all groups of candidates, not just one. 

Remember you want to RETAIN your employees, so you must ensure you take the recruitment process seriously. 

It's important to remember that quality is better than quantity - especially in recruitment. Filling 10 open positions quickly, doesn't mean you've been successful. Focusing on quality and a cultural fit is the tactic to create a strong talent foundation. 

Take a page from the marketing department's book and use quality content to attract potential candidates. Pre-screen your candidates to ensure you only meet with the best. Engage people in your brand to establish trust and recognition which will inspire people to regularly inquire about jobs, not just when you have an opening. That's an efficient use of resources, and it increases the chances of choosing the right person. 

2. Focus on company culture when recruiting the "perfect candidate" for your business.

Get specific about what a dream applicant will look like, then use that profile to vet people for that position in order to find employees that are interested in staying for the long run. Do this for all your openings.

Culture is one of the top three influencers when it comes to employee job satisfaction, and employees who are dissatisfied with their company culture are 15 percent more likely to pursue new opportunities.

To help more clearly define your company culture, clarify your mission statement, offline and online. Not only do you want to set your organization apart from the rest but, you want to make sure the interested, pro-active candidates are applying to your job. Then identify the characteristics of people who will succeed in your organization.

  • Are they friendly?
  • No-nonsense?
  • Team players?

Flesh out a list of must-have attributes, and screen candidates for these qualities.  Craft ads that showcase your company's culture, and use dynamic language to describe the available positions. Consider using video ads or other mediums to reach wider audiences. Your team may have suggestions for unique recruiting outlets — invite their input during the search.

You can't just rely on the resume to determine if someone would stay at your business or if they would be a good fit for your company. Judge candidates on their:

  • Experience
  • Personalities
  • And what they uniquely offer to your team

Sometimes the unconventional choices are the best ones.

Once you hire the "perfect" candidate you want to continue to strengthen employee satisfaction by knowing what excites and empowers your employees

3. Be proactive with talent acquisition--and be transparent.

Take control of your job visibility and promotion, employing best practices so your company gets noticed in the right place, at the right time.

By cultivating a network of active and passive candidates, you build a readily available talent pool you can choose from during hiring frenzies.

During the recruitment process, continue to tweak and refine the way you find top candidates that will stay with your business for the long term. 

Once you've built a strong talent foundation for your business, you can now shift your focus to supporting the business and keeping engagement high. 

How to Heighten Employee Engagement

1. Offer career-development assistance.

If you notice employees who seem dissatisfied or unmotivated, resist the urge to let them go. Talk with them about the problems they're having, and help them identify their core skills. Then encourage them to pursue opportunities that align with their strengths. These conversations may lead them to another department or different career path, but your organization will be stronger for it. Not only will these employees find roles in which they can excel, but prioritizing worker happiness will also raise morale throughout the entire company.

2. Base performance management on clear goals.

Employees often become frustrated when they don't receive feedback or understand how their bosses judge performance or are unclear on what's expected of them. According to Gallup, clarity of expectations is one of the top employee needs in any organization. Meet with employees regularly to review their progress and offer feedback. Ask them how they feel about their performance, and work together to create strategies for how they can improve.

3. Emphasize strengths over weaknesses.

When you're in a high-stress environment, it's easy to dehumanize employees and forget the impact their work experiences have on the rest of their lives. Fixating on people's weaknesses is demoralizing, and it can create negative spirals that cause performance to deteriorate even further.

Instead of focusing on what workers are doing wrong, encourage them to keep up the good work in the areas in which they show promise.

One Gallup study showed that 61 percent of participants who worked in strengths-focused environments said they were engaged at work, while only 22 percent of people whose managers emphasized weaknesses said the same. Give people opportunities to excel by placing them in training or mentorship roles. The increased responsibility will boost their confidence and their sense of investment in the job.

4. Practice transparency

If you want employees to be loyal, you must earn their trust. Offer candid updates about the business's performance and growth, and address people's concerns head on. Share the leadership's vision for the organization, and explain how employees fit into its future. People want to be part of something greater than themselves, so ensure they know how important they are to the company.

5. Reward inspirational leadership.

Team members who view their leaders as inspirational are happier and more productive. Incentivize great leadership among executives by rewarding those who get their employees fired up through coaching, one-on-one progress discussions and initiatives that promote excellence and excitement on the unit.

6. Provide regular state-of-the-company updates.

Don't leave employees in the dark when the company experiences a rough patch. Rumors rise when organizations keep secrets, so shut half-truths and inaccuracies down by being open with workers.

They may have ideas about how to address problems or create a healthier environment. Regular check-ins help prevent anxiety and suspicion from distracting people while they're on the job. Informed employees are often happy employees.

Employee Engagement Based on Management Bar Chart

7. Compensate employees fairly.

People need to earn livable wages. They may be supporting families, paying for school, or have financial priorities that demand a certain level of salary. You simply cannot retain your best people if you don't offer competitive pay and benefits. As the saying goes, you get what you pay for — especially when recruiting the best employees.

8. Employee satisfaction and employee retention go hand and hand.  

Studies have shown that employees with high job satisfaction are generally more productive, engaged and loyal to their companies.  

By following these tactics, you will begin to see improvement in retention and overall workforce environment.

Continue to revise (and revise again!) your recruitment strategies within your organization to engage employees and keep them happy.  Want to learn more about best practices to workplace culture and engagement? Email us today at

Topics: Employee Engagement