Increase Employee Retention Through Better Communication


It’s impossible to understate the importance of communication in day-​to-​day business. Communication forms the backbone of any organization that depends on people to coordinate their efforts. Therefore, managers who seek to increase employee retention should begin with an honest appraisal of their own communication skills. For instance, if you are helping associates to express their ideas and feelings and actively listening to their responses, you have the basics of effective personal communication. Now, let’s take this to the next level.

Prioritize communication universally to increase employee retention

Increasingly, companies employ a diverse set of people, each with their own frame of reference. Consequently, they receive and process information in a style that is unique. When managers attempt to communicate, for example, the vision for the company, there are numerous interpretations. Only through repeated consistent messaging, applied universally throughout the company, can the communication become clear. So, to increase employee retention, focus on training, measuring and rewarding clear communication.

Clear communication is not complicated

The fundamental aspects of clear communication are simple. However, they tend to be difficult to install on a corporate-​wide level. John Spence is an author and executive coach whose professional tagline reads, “Making the Very Complex… Awesomely Simple.” In his blog, Dysfunctional Organizational Communications, Spence describes the disconnect he sees in communication between top-​level managers and staff in large organizations. Unfortunately, managers mistakenly believe they are great communicators. He notes the frequency of these findings and the negative impact it wields. If companies want to increase employee retention, they need to address this disparity.

Install a strategy for better communication

There’s never a better time than now to start communicating with purpose. To achieve that goal, Spence outlines six aspects of communication that can build trust, loyalty and engagement with employees at all levels of any enterprise. I prefer to focus on the top three, as they are basic human principles that we learned in kindergarten.


Being truthful is a courtesy, both to yourself and others. It is an essential element in building trust. According to hrdailyadvisor​.com, it is foolish to think that others cannot handle the truth or cannot be trusted with the facts required to do their jobs. Further, being frank and straightforward with employees models behavior that you would like them to follow.


The ability to understand and share the feelings of others increases their respect for you. Importantly, when employees express a need, you should trust them. Empathy does not come naturally to everyone, but it can be learned. Unfortunately, tough business decisions can be traumatic to various levels of employees. Understandably, they may feel vulnerable working in a vacuum. However, according to hrdailyadvisor​.com, empathy can increase employee retention: “Employees are more likely to stay somewhere they feel heard and understood."


A courageous workforce is one with fewer anxieties and fears and more determination. That’s according to Bill Treasurer, author and workplace expert. Concisely, he outlines ways for managers to encourage workers to take on more challenges, cope with change and speak up on meaningful issues.

First is the courage to “try” new things or to reattempt something that failed at the first go. This encourages experimentation. Surprisingly, this strategy alone could increase employee retention among those adventurous associates.

Second is “trust” courage that begins with a policy of "trust first." Treasurer states, “Instead of having people 'prove' their trustworthiness to you, spend time learning about who they are and what they value.”

Finally, “tell” courage gives people license to assert their opinions, sell their ideas and provide feedback constructively. In practice, Treasurer cautions that managers have a responsibility to listen and provide a safe space for this communication to happen.

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Tim Londergan

Tim Londergan

Tim is a research contributor at SalesFuel and he writes for SalesFuel Today. Previously, he worked as a Sales Development Manager, representing products such as AdMall and AudienceSCAN. Tim holds a B.S. from the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University.