Employee Retention Policies

by Mateusz Kuczera

Published November 13, 2023

Ming has been with Pipexperts for more than ten years now. As a highly qualified immigrant whose diplomas were not recognized, Ming had no issue becoming a skilled journeyman plumber and quickly brought high value to the business. But with the years, he slowly became more interested in the management side of things. On a Friday afternoon after a work-packed week, he calls Malory to discuss.

“Hey boss,” says Ming with a barely perceptible accent.

“Hey Ming,” replies Malory. “Can you make it quick? I’m beat.”

“Well, actually,” he starts. “I wanted to talk about my place in Pipexperts…”

“Oh, no,” says Malory, his tone quickly shifting to worry. “You wanna quit.”

“No, of course not,” laughs Ming. “No, no. Don’t worry. I wanted to know if I can something else than plumbing in this company.”

“Oh phew!” exclaims Malory. “Ming, you’re one of the best out there. And there’s so much work lately. What else would you want to do?”

“Well, I don’t know boss, some management, I guess?” he asks rhetorically. “I mean, you’re probably permanently overworked. I could probably help here and there.”

“Ha! Overworked!” shouts Malory. “You got that right! But listen, it’s crazy busy right now. Let’s talk when it slows down?”

Disappointed, Ming acquiesces. A few months later, having no news on opportunities within Pipexperts, Ming accepts a management job in a large corporation.

Talent retention is of critical importance for small companies. With limited resources, small businesses can't afford to lose valuable employees. Implementing effective talent retention policies can help small companies hold on to their best employees, even in a competitive job market or a unionized environment.

Regular Discussions

As obvious as it sounds, having regular meaningful discussion with employees can make a tremendous difference. By discussion with employees, the employer can more easily identify sources of frustration and correct them. Personal and professional interests and preferences are also key elements which only come up during discussions.

Career Opportunities and Training

Employees are more likely to stay with a company if they see clear opportunities for advancement and growth. Small companies should establish clear career paths and provide opportunities for employees to develop new skills and take on more responsibility. This applies as much to technical skills as to soft and management skills. Employees will of course have varying interests but with structure evaluation and planning, everyone can find satisfaction.

To make employees feel that the employer is actively working at developing their skills, training opportunities should be provided. Whether internal or external, technical or non-technical, improving the skills and knowledge of the employees will make them feel more engaged and bring them tangible growth.

Flexible Working Arrangements

In the digital day and age, remote working is a very interesting incentive for a significant portion of the workforce. Offering flexible working arrangements such as remote work, flexible hours, and part-time options can make it easier for employees to balance work and personal commitments.

However, most of these options apply mainly to staff and management jobs. Workers in small service companies must generally execute their trade on site, making some of the options unavailable. But even with constraints, by providing freedom to workers regarding flexibility with medical, family, and even personal commitments, even unionized workers can benefit from significant flexibility. When it comes to unionized workers, make sure that the collective agreement is complied with.

Competitive Compensation

For salaried employees, offering competitive compensation packages, including salary, benefits, and bonuses, can make employees feel valued and motivated to stay with the company. For unionized workers with clear boundaries on compensation, companies can opt to offer bonuses, gifts, or other forms of compensation over and above the union compensation. Some small companies may even choose to give the option of buying equity, effectively giving some ownership of the business to the workers.

Non-Monetary Recognition and Rewards

Regularly recognizing and rewarding employees for their contributions can make them feel valued and appreciated. Small companies can also establish formal employee recognition programs, such as employee of the month or spot awards to acknowledge exceptional work.

Involvement, Participation and Culture

Giving employees a voice in company decisions and encouraging their participation can make them feel valued and invested in the company's success. Small companies should also establish an open-door policy and encourages employees to share their thoughts and ideas.

Having a strong leader, who is not only respected by their team but also actively taking care and involve in their employee’s growth, satisfaction and well-being is an important aspect of retaining good employees. This leader should lead by example, and foster a culture of teamwork, respect, and a strong work ethic.


Effective talent retention policies are critical for small companies. By having regular discussions, providing career advancement opportunities and training, flexible working arrangements, competitive compensation, recognition and rewards, employee involvement, fostering a positive company culture, small companies can keep their best employees and maintain a stable and productive workforce. In a job market where there are too many openings for the people being able to fill them, the above becomes even more important.

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