January 18, 2024

The 5 levers for retention


Partner at Hirewell. #3 Ranked Sarcastic Commenter on LinkedIn.

Don’t reply with a 6th I’ll never forgive myself for not thinking of it

You have 5 levers to pull to retain great employees:

  1. High base
  2. Strong bonus
  3. Equity
  4. Remote optional
  5. An A+ work environment

It seems straightforward. Some mixture of those 5 will keep people around. Companies who miss on all are revolving doors, every time.

Yet we see the same problems pop up again and again.

👉The first 3 come up short because companies either don’t have the money to keep people. Or they’re unaware of what their team can get on the open market.

When cash is tight, it’s an unsolvable problem. But not knowing what your team members can get elsewhere isn’t. Compensation fluctuates and goes up over time. Even in down markets.

We can provide comp analysis for our clients as part of our advisory services. (Hit me up if you need it.) Plenty of other services out there as well. But not knowing when you’re under market is inexcusable (and eventually, devastating.)

👉Employee demand for remote isn’t going anywhere.

A lot of companies are pushing employees back to the office. And to be clear: I don’t hate it.  If you deliver on some of these other points.

There are misguided companies who don’t pay great and have environments that are ok at best. They’re unaware that remote is the only thing keeping employees around. 

👉Everyone thinks their companies is special. Even the clowns.

It never ceases to amaze me how little self awareness companies have. That’s not even a criticism, it’s a function of human behavior in growing organizations. The larger companies get, the more disconnected the people at the top are from the people at the bottom. (Which is further compounded by remote work – out of sight out of mind – but that’s another discussion for another day.)

Founders are proud of what they’ve built. They think it’s special because to them it is. But they’re so close to it they don’t realize every founder feels that way. Even the ones running train wrecks.

The pessimists out there will balk at all of this. Workers  who have been repeatedly burned by crappy companies think it’s all about the money. They have the right to, because for them it is.

But I’ve talked to countless people over the years who stayed in their roles, even though they could get more cash elsewhere. They truly love what they do and who they work with.

The Office Dork™️ market has been in a rut. It’ll recover, eventually. The companies who know their levers will be just fine. The ones who don’t will have another round of pain.

Full episode of The 10 Minute Talent Rant, ep 80 “Do Bonuses Buy Loyalty?” available here.

Partner at Hirewell. #3 Ranked Sarcastic Commenter on LinkedIn.

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