Article by Birgit Eiselsberg


Employee retention at risk: 5 mistakes you should avoid

Retaining employees is more important than ever for employers today. In times of a shortage of skilled workers, it is not easy to replace capable employees quickly and equally. Companies are therefore faced with the challenge of retaining their team. In this article, we'll show you 5 mistakes companies make when it comes to employee retention and how to avoid them.


Why is employee retention so important?

While it used to be the norm to stay employed with the same company for life, or as long as possible, today a completely different wind is blowing in the job market. Nowadays, employers no longer have an easy time finding and convincing employees. As a result, the number of job openings is on the rise. According to a Stepstone study this year, there are currently significantly more vacancies than there were before or during the Corona pandemic. The search for suitable employees is difficult and takes a lot of time; job advertisements are often extended. Due to the increase in job offers and the longer leverage that qualified applicants have, employees are becoming more and more willing to change jobs.  

In times like these, companies should try to retain their employees and prevent termination or backfilling. So time and resources should be invested in employee retention.  

Understanding retention - The 4 levels

Most companies know that retention is important. In order to achieve this, it is important to understand what drives retention and where to start. Therefore, a theory of 4 levels of employee retention has been established. It refers to the different levels at which you reach the employee to create a bond between him/her and his/her job.

The 4 levels of employee retention: 

1. The rational employee retention 

2. The habitual employee loyalty 

3. The normative employee loyalty 

4. The emotional employee loyalty



Rational employee retention is based on hard facts. These include salary, benefits, fringe benefits, development opportunities.  

Habitual employee retention results from habit. Many employees prefer a familiar environment, even if the working conditions are not optimal.   

Normative retention is related to a sense of duty. This can be the case in family businesses, or when a manager does not want to leave his team behind. It is therefore based on the conscience of the employees.  

Emotional employee loyalty is based on the happiness of the employees. If the activities are fun, you see a sense in them and the interpersonal climate with the colleagues is pleasant, then you are emotionally attached to your job.  

Read more about the theory of the 4 level here ->Go to the article. 

This is how employee retention succeeds

At Schulmeister, we know that happy employees are more productive and better employees. Employees who stay with a company largely out of habit or obligation may have performance and motivation deficits. Therefore, it is worthwhile to activate the emotional level in the process of employee retention.  

To reach employees on the emotional level and thus to bind them to the company, one should make sure that they are happy in their job. In this article, we show you what measures can be taken to achieve this and what makes people happy at work -> 8 ways to really motivate employees.  

For all the efforts companies put in to strengthen employee loyalty in their team, mistakes also happen again and again. Here are 5 no-go's that can have a counterproductive effect on your employees’ loyalty: 

Watch out: 5 common mistakes to avoid

1. The wrong approach  

Measures such as home office options, flexible working hours or training opportunities are great and can work on a rational as well as an emotional level. But here you should consider where the needs of your employees lie. Can I retain my employee, who is a single mother of three children, by offering her further training? Or would she prefer flexible working hours or organised childcare? In the case of the 20-year-old career starter, the opposite may be the case. It is worthwhile to hold individual discussions with employees and to respond to their individual needs.  

2. False promises 

Caution: Don't make promises you can't keep. Nothing is more counterproductive to employee satisfaction and retention than empty promises. If, for example, an employee waits months for a promised promotion or salary increase, this has a demotivating effect and loyalty to the job decreases.   

3. Forgetting the money factor  

Yes, money alone does not make you happy. And yes, it takes more factors than a high salary to retain an employee in the long term. Nevertheless, good pay is essential for employee retention. Especially on the rational level, a somewhat higher salary than is the case in competing companies can have a very good effect. Therefore, the following applies: Benefits are great - but salary increases and bonuses must not be neglected.  

4. Mismatching of management positions 

According to a survey conducted by the opinion research institute forsa on behalf of XING E-Recruiting in 2022, 28% of employees quit their jobs due to the leadership behaviour of their superiors. Therefore, when filling managerial positions or positions with personnel responsibility, beware - in the worst case, a wrong decision can lead to the dismissal of capable employees. 

5. Fake online reviews  

When it comes to recruiting new employees, the opinions and reports of existing employees are a good tool for presenting a company to the outside world. Reviews on Kununu, for example, which is an international variant of the platform, have an influence on the decision to apply for an employer or not->Read more here.  But beware: Packaged employee reviews that an employer writes himself are quickly recognised! As a company, you should instead use the "Comment as an employer" option to respond to bad (or even good) reviews. This creates a more authentic and honest image of the employer. You should also not explicitly instruct your employees to leave positive reviews, as this can also quickly backfire and cause resentment among employees. Instead, you should ensure great working conditions and a pleasant working atmosphere so that your employees will leave positive - and above all honest - reviews of their own accord. 

Our conclusion:

Schulmeister Recruiting Personalvermittlung Personalberater in Anzug Robert Svetez

Competent employees are the most important resources of a company

Employee retention is important - that is undisputed. However, the measures to achieve this must be used in a well-considered manner, be individually adapted to the employees, and still remain realistic.  

Do you not only want to retain your employees, but also expand your team? We would be happy to help you - contact us today! 




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