HR departments need to know how to encourage employee retention for a few reasons: not only is finding and training new employees bad for your bottom line, but losing top tier talent puts you in a less competitive position. If you're noticing more turnover at your workplace, try these tips to keep staff happy and reduce the stress of hiring.

1. Start with the Right Person

HR department planning employee retention.

Whether you need to fill marketing jobs or IT roles, fit matters a lot. Experts generally agree that hiring the right person the first time around is the best way to reduce costly turnover. Losing an employee can cost a company 1.5-2 times the employee's salary. 

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When you're conducting interviews, don't just focus on skill set and qualifications. Ask specific questions about career goals and workflow preferences. Especially if you have multiple stages, bring members of the department you're hiring for into the interview. This will give them the chance to suss out the candidate and let you know if they have any concerns. Someone may look great on paper but if they don't fit in with their department, they'll bounce soon.

2. Create a Cohesive Workplace

Work will always be work, but that doesn't mean it can't also be fun. At a minimum, plan an annual party or outing that brings together employees from all departments and positions. Make it something fun for staff, not an educational training masquerading as an outing.

Also, recognize birthdays, holidays, and other milestones. This creates cohesion among staff and fosters a happy workplace culture. Not sure what to celebrate, or what kinds of events would be most welcome? Poll your staff to see what they'd like.

3. Give Time Off for Good Behavior

If someone's done something great, consider giving them a little time off as a token of your appreciation.

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Maybe you let all employees take a half day on a Friday after a big project is completed, or maybe you let staff leave an hour early as a way to reward excellence and show that you're paying attention. While this does marginally reduce productivity in the short term, it can have big benefits down the road. A little lenience with the clock can increase employee loyalty and satisfaction.

4. Periodically Update Benefits and Incentives

Make sure you review your benefits and incentives regularly, and update them as needed. Consider setting up a survey to ask employees what kinds of benefits they'd love to see. Some of the results may surprise you, and implementing changes requested by employees shows that you're listening and you value their input. Make sure you have an employee recognition program in place.

5. Help Staff Grow With the Position

Happy employee developing in job.

One of the top reasons that employees leave is that they no longer feel challenged; they don't see a way that they can grow with the job. If you don't have clearly outlined career paths, start by creating these, and make them accessible to all employees. This helps staff understand where they can go if they work hard.

Provide feedback with employees and invest in training that helps employees learn skills and remain challenged. If staff feel like their hard work is recognized and will reward them with a promotion, they will be more likely to stay loyal.

By following these five tips, you can increase the likelihood that new and old employees alike will find satisfaction and meaning in their jobs.

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Photos: Brooke Cagle, Kimson Doan,