How To Retain Your Best Employees

Employees quit their job for many reasons: Either the boss is a pain in the ass (most cited reason), they got a promotion somewhere, they choose to go back to school, etc. 

But when employees do leave, productivity sinks, morale tanks and the remaining employees have more work until you find a replacement. Plus, on-boarding and training is an expensive affair. 

Losing a single employee can cost your company tens and thousands of dollarsSo, it makes sense to identify the reasons why your employees are leaving you and what you can do about it.

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5 Reasons why your best employees are leaving you:


MENA job seeker wish list 2018


  • Stagnation: You know the classical trope in every Hollywood movie where the actor wakes up one day and realizes they’re stuck in a loop, that they have to come to the same place and do the same job every day for the next 20 or 40 years? That’s how your employees probably feel if they see there’s no corporate ladder to climb. If they can’t find that at your company, they’ll find it somewhere else.


  • Lack of recognition: “The best leaders don’t take credit, they give it.” Everyone feels like they work way too hard at a job that doesn’t pay them enough. And yes, it can be frustrating. When you fail to recognize an employee and their hard work, you’re also failing to motivate them. And worse, you miss out on incentivizing/reinforcing the great performance.
    Simple things like A “job well done”, a pat on the back, a free lunch can go a long way to keep your employees motivated.


  • Office Politics: is defined as (ab)use of power within an organization, to serve an individual’s personal need. In layman terms, hacking it by hook or crook. Now this can be a turnoff for a lot of people who are innocent bystanders.


  • Autonomy: “I really enjoy it when my manager yells at me in her shrill voice, constantly telling me what to do and how to do it. It makes me want to work harder.” Exactly, one of the best and most effective ways to motivate your employee is to give them some autonomy, let them handle without you micromanaging their every step.


  • Profit over People: When organizations value profits more than its people, the best people go somewhere else, leaving behind the underperforming employees. Your assumption that most people come to work for a paycheck is a myth. Employees now want to be engaged. They want to feel like their work matters. If you don’t connect with them on a basic human level, they’ll leave regardless of how much you pay them. Organizational culture is one of the few key things employees are looking for.


Why do companies fall short on their talent pipeline? And what can organizations do about it?


What distinguishes organizations that successfully retain their top stars vs those who don’t?

Bayt did a survey poll on Employee Retention in the workplace for MENA region. The found the majority of the employees stay in a given job for a maximum of 5 years.

The highest turnover by 43.9% is reported in Marketing and Sales departments. Many assume fresh graduates and entry-level professionals are easier to retain, which is incorrect.

One of the driving forces for employee retention in MENA is by:

  • Providing employees with a more competitive salary (26.6%) 
  • Performance recognition that we mentioned earlier (17.7%)
  • Good manager-employee relationships (17.6%)
  • 86.1% of respondents stated having job security will improve employee retention.


In light of these numbers, employers in MENA should recognize the importance of encouraging an environment of growth and learning to bring out the best in their employees.


global youth unemployment 2018


“Given the challenges that exist with regards to visa regulation, cost of hiring and cost of living in the region, talent acquisition is a struggle here, and it is even more acute for startups that have limited capital to invest in hiring at early stages,” says Philip Bahoshy, CEO and founder of Magnitt.

According to a study conducted by Gallup, 87% of millennials want jobs that provide them an opportunity to grow. So no, millennials are not lazy and entitled, the job structure needs to be redesigned. 

Employee retention is a popular topic but the information out there is mundane and, quite frankly, vague and abstract. So we compiled a list of our own that is practical and doable.


5 ways to retain your top employees: 

  • On-boarding and Orientation: pairing a new employee with a mentor is a great way to start off the on-boarding process. New team members can learn the ropes from a veteran while the mentee can offer a fresh perspective to the mentor. Job orientation is just one component of on-boarding, which can last from weeks to months depending on the organization. Ultimately, the point of on-boarding is to let new employees learn about the company culture and how they can contribute and thrive.


new employee on boarding careem


  • Training and Development: Across all positions and industries, all professionals want is the chance to move up in the ranks. That’s why smart managers invest in their workers’ professional development. The best way to help your employees achieve their goal is to ask the what their long and short-term goals are. Here at Ubrik, all employees and interns go through online training in the Hubspot Academy. Some companies go as far as reimbursing their employees tuition fee, or pay for the conferences and events that employees attend.


Hubspot Academy Certifications Ubrik Media Dubai


  • Revenue Sharing: Most successful companies tie a part of their employees’ wages to the company’s performance. Some companies even offer Employee Stock options. This has two benefits:

1. It aligns their interest with the company’s revenue and profit goals

2. provides them an incentive to work harder.


UAE law company share options


  • Seniority over performance: This holds true in the MENA region where there’s a preference of promoting senior staff members over young ones. The obvious arguments are “They have more experience”, “They’ve been in the company longer” but others perceive this as unfair. Instead offer promotion based on performance.
  • Relaxation Time: At the end of the day, your employees are humans. Be generous with their time off, offer sufficient sick days, family vacations, maternity leaves etc. Allow your employees a chance to catch their breath before jumping off to the next assignment, maybe go out for a team lunch or team building activities or at the very least mini breaks throughout the course of the day.


Key Takeaways:

  • Your employees are your biggest asset, they’re also free PR for your business and the best marketing strategy you’re investing in. 
  • Talented people are rare, they’re also the most expensive to replace. They may encourage other employees to leave with them
  • It’s much easier and often cheaper to incentivize and engage your current employees than to replace them.
  • Have open communication with your employees and see why they’re leaving you, is it your policies or the organizational culture?
  • Make it a habit to have regular meetings to check up on your employees and provide them with feedback.



Here’s what employee retention really boils down to: the age old golden rule. 

“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

Treat your employees with respect and integrity (it’s not that hard) and they’ll do right by you.

If your employees are still leaving you despite your best efforts, then conduct exit interviews. Understand why your employees want to leave or choose to stay. Ask your team for feedback/insights to what makes them stay. This will help you identify the policies/incentive schemes that are working.

According to a research by Gallup, the formula for long-term high performance is:

Talent x Engagement x Tenure = High Performance

  • Always hire people based on talent.
  • Engagement: This is a fancy word that corporate junkies love to throw around with actually knowing what it means. Engage with your employees. And no, giving them “challenging” assignments isn’t engagement either.
  • Tenure: Tenure has a very small impact on performance, but when all the 3 key ingredients are present in an employee; they perform 18% higher than the average employee and 35% higher than a worker who lacks all three elements.


Do you have any more tips on how to retain top talent? Leave a comment below and let me know. I’d love to hear from you.


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