Five Ways to Increase Employee Retention and Engagement for Managers

4 min readJul 21, 2022


In the midst of the Great Resignation, it’s vital that employers are able to keep their employees engaged and on staff. Gallup found that 70% of the variance in employee engagement scores is due to the employee’s direct manager. During the last two years, people have realized they are not willing and don’t have to put up with a job, manager, company, or career that is no longer serving them.

According to Leadership IQ, the highest-performing employees spend an average of six hours per week with their direct manager. If your employees are disengaged and underperforming, it might be time to evaluate your management style. If you want to see a boost in both engagement and retention rates, check out our top five tips below.

Five Key Ways to Increase Employee Engagement and Retention

  1. Gain an understanding of your employees. Instead of following the best practices of other companies, gather feedback from your own employees for insight on their wants and needs. This allows you to continue with practices you do well and improve on those that need it. A few examples you can choose from are: exit interviews, employee surveys, and small, open forums. Make sure to ask questions such as, “What motivates you to stay at our company?” and “What suggestions do you have that would improve how we deal with our employees?” Take some time to get to know them on a personal level. You can walk around the office and ask questions or go for lunch or coffee. Your actions speak louder than words here so if you’re not taking the time to understand the wants and needs of your employees, your words won’t hold much weight.
  2. Cultivate an environment centered around your employees. Again, you’ll need to consult the wants and needs of your employees here, but make sure it still fits within operational needs. People today want a healthy work-life balance that allows them to enjoy their time outside of work. You could consider a flexible work-hour policy — perhaps an earlier or later start or even fewer longer days, such as four ten-hour days or every other week working one longer day for a long weekend. Benefits for small employers can be costly, so it might make more sense to ask employees what they need from a variety of options. Make your employees feel they are seen and heard.
  3. Honor and acknowledge your top performers. Every employee should receive a fair, competitive compensation and benefits package, but it’s important to also honor and acknowledge the top performers. It doesn’t need to be payment-based, though. “Thank you” is perfectly acceptable, but make sure all recognition is immediate and specific. Make sure they know why it’s valuable to the team and organization and consider recognizing their achievement at a staff meeting. You can also ask for their input on decisions, work processes, and business direction. You can create all kinds of initiatives to encourage staff recognition such as a peer recognition program, an annual employee recognition program, or even something small like bringing in lunch for your team. Overall, you want your employees to feel respected and valued and that your acknowledgements are consistent with their values.
  4. Provide effective leadership and supervision. Today’s leaders need to demonstrate good people skills. Managers with good technical skills who lack soft skills to develop direct reports are a thing of the past. People don’t quit jobs, they quit bosses. So it’s essential to hold supervisors accountable for employee turnover and retention. Provide up-to-date training and set expectations. If behavior that reflects a more positive supervisor model doesn’t change, follow through with consequences.
  5. Offer opportunities for growth. Step one is to evaluate your onboarding process and make sure it’s effective. Don’t expect success for new employees without the right support. Make their orientation day one to remember — in a good way. It’s important not to think of employee growth as just training because it’s more than that. It includes mentoring, external education and conferences, job-shadowing, cross-training, increasing employee responsibilities in their current roles, and even temporary assignments in other departments or positions. By making the development of employees a priority for your supervisors, you can ensure employees have the time needed for these opportunities.

If you’re struggling with staff retention, try a few of the suggestions above and see what works best for your organization. Some approaches might feel better suited than others, and keeping your employees involved in the process is the best way to find out the key ingredients you need to increase their desire to stay.

If learning more about retaining employees or how Vayability can help develop your emerging talent is something that interests you, get in touch with us today.

Vayability is a leadership development platform built from the ground up to accelerate the development and business impact of emerging talent. Combining more than 20 years of executive learning, Vayability focuses on impactful leadership skills, personalized learning, live coaching, and measurable growth. Find out how top companies embrace success at

Written Rachel Strysik




Vayability helps cultivate the mindsets, habits, and behaviors your organization needs to close the gap between today’s emerging talent and tomorrow’s leaders.