04/26/2016 06:09 EDT | Updated 04/27/2017 05:12 EDT

The 5 Not-So-Secret Strategies For Long Term Employee Retention


For businesses to thrive in today's economy, finding and retaining the best talent is critically important. This is particularly true for small businesses competing on a global scale. Frequent employee turnover has a dire effect on a company's morale, finances (often measured at 6-9 months salary) and most importantly, it slows the company down. But is long-term employment even viable in this job market?

In 2015, Stats Canada listed the average employee tenure at 8.5 years. That's a statistic inclusive of age ranges from Baby Boomers nearing retirement to the Millennial generation coming into the start of their career path. As the workforce begins to skew strongly towards Millennials, by 2020 Millenialls will account for 50 per cent of the total workforce, there needs to be a dedicated strategy in place to retain this talent. With the current Millennial tenure averaging just two years, this can be a very costly investment.

At Teldon, we're a 47-year-old print marketing company that greatly bucks the national trend. We employ an entire spectrum of the Canadian workforce, and our average tenureship is 13 years, with many employees over 20 years. More importantly, our employee turnover rate is less than five per cent, meaning we've found that "secret sauce" to keeping employees engaged and happy.

Here are five tips we've learned to keep employees of all ages for the long-term:

1) Treat everyone with respect

Respect underpins great communication and communication is the cornerstone of staff interaction. When we interact with each other in a safe environment, we are more likely to be creative, we break from conventional thinking, and everything moves faster... everything.

2) Find a better, collaborative, way

It's not one CEO's, or President's job to make the company a positive work environment. Everyone in the organization should be encouraged to work ON their role, instead of IN their role. With this mentality, organizational gains will come from team members finding individual and creative ways of doing things better.

3) Give a damn

Caring is one of the easiest things to do, and often one of the most forgotten. A successful company doesn't have the time for team members who don't care about their colleagues, the company or customers. Lead by example and foster a culture of care, if you succeed you will see others begin to hold the entire team accountable; you'll also quickly discover those who don't embrace care, and perhaps, they will be happier working for a different organization.

4) Have a growth strategy

It sounds odd to say a growth strategy is part of employee retention, but the reality is growth underpins every great company and workplace. Growth creates opportunity for advancement, personal and professional development, increased benefits and perks and more. Take for example a company like Google; they wouldn't be able to provide creative offices, flexible holidays, charitable initiatives and employee incentives if they didn't have a growth strategy behind all of it.

5) Create values everyone believes in

There is nothing more powerful than a value system that aligns both personally and professionally. The workplace is where most of us spend the majority of our week; so developing a corporate value system that everyone lives and breathes creates an enlightened organization. Better yet, it creates corporate evangelists who will sing the praises of your organization and make others crave to be part of it.

Along the way there will be bumps in the road. Some employees may not thrive in the environment you're pursuing, and that's ok. Be real and stay true to the vision you've collectively built and eventually you'll get to a place where the company, and those rallying behind it, are aligned; once that is achieved you'll see an engaged workforce that not only is excited to come into the office, but excited to stay. They should be careful though, there will be lots of candidates knocking at the door.