Three phases of employee retention

Retaining employees is no more a mystery


Losing employees is costly. That is why there is so much talk about employee retention. However, unlike conventional thinking, we believe this concept must be divided into three parts. In each part the reason to retain, the cost of retaining and losing, and the strategies differ.

First six months

It is a crucial period. It is also called the probation period. It can be compared to gestation period or the time from conception to delivery. If employees leave in this period, it is like a miscarriage. The potential of the employee will never be known. This period is a time to find an organisational fit. In this period most people will try to fit in.

Strategies to retain in this phase are:

1.    Keep showing potential for their career growth.

2.    Balance between too much work and not enough work.

3.    Balance between compliance and freedom.

4.    Give clear job description.

5.    Pay salaries on time.

Six months to a year

Now he is part of the family. Losing him here is heart wrenching. He was ready to perform. By now he would have converted to the ways of your company. He would have learned the industry. He would have given up other alternative careers and subscribed to the one your company showed him.

Strategies to retain in this phase are:

1.    Increase his salary as promised if he showed potential.

2.    Indirectly make him commit to achieving yearly targets.

3.    Engage him in yearly events, festivities et cetera.

4.    Do timely performance review.

5.    Check relation with his supervisor.

After one year and later

Now the baby has become an adult. He knows your company as well as the industry it is in. Losing him now would be like a son moving out when it is time for him to take care of his old parents.

Strategies to retain in this phase are:

1.    Increase the salary or benefits so that it is unjustifiable for other employers to offer a starting salary.

2.    Show him that he has still much to learn.

3.    Get him into your closer circle.

4.    Tie them into the incentive and reward system.

5.    Honour directly and indirectly during meetings.

The point here is that retaining employees is no more a mystery. You have to look at the employee from multiple sides:

•    Someone who needs a salary to survive.

•    Someone who needs somewhere to belong.

•    Someone who needs to be engaged in something meaningful.

•    Someone who needs to be recognised for good performance.

•    Someone who needs challenges in terms of learning.

•    Someone who needs stability and growth.

•    Someone who needs to be understood.

The authors are associated with Growth Sellers Pvt Ltd, which offers services in the areas of HR Management, Business Processes and Organisational systems. They can be reached at