The Virtual Workplace

5 ways to improve employee retention in virtual workplaces

Don’t know how to improve your employee retention strategy amidst the sudden shift to a virtual workplace? We’ve got you covered!


In 2018, the employee turnover rate was 27%, in 2019, 36%.

Today, it’s a whopping 57.3% and rising as employee retention and turnover experts predict a continuous increase in voluntary job-leaving throughout the rest of the year.

Many employees are resuming job searches they were forced to put off for the past year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, retaining top talent is quickly becoming a massive problem in the remote workspace.

improving employee retention in virtual workplace environments

Employee retention strategies in virtual offices

Employers need to find a way to improve employee retention in their workplace to stay competitive. With the economy opening up, every business needs its employees now more than ever to sustain its bottom line. 

Let's take a look at five fundamental strategies for improving remote employee retention.

1. Adopt a robust remote work culture

Fostering a successful remote work environment can be a rather daunting task for most organizations. For starters, you need to ensure location has significantly less weight on the prosperity of your organization. 

This adaptation only works when you redefine both your hiring and work processes. Prospects need to understand what is expected from them (including how to complete assignments) right from the start.

Ensure you’re always clearly outlining: 

  • Employee roles
  • Collaboration processes (Do your employees work across cloud solutions like Google Drive, HubSpot, etc.?)
  • Communication styles (Do employees communicate through Zoom, Slack, Email, Trello, or some combination of all of the above?)
  • Digital work management tools employees can leverage
  • Resource pools (like LastPass for passwords, Lingo for corporate images, and more)
  • Even remote social events, groups, and opportunities (the options are endless here)

2. Create a mentorship program for remote workers

Offering continuous learning and development is an integral part of retaining remote employees. This is why you should consider using your star talent to mentor new, recently promoted, or overwhelmed employees. 

Through these mentorship programs, you can ensure your employees engage in a dialogue of growth. Your employees can: 

  • Build strong relationships with their co-workers and managers
  • Recognize their wins
  • Define and strategize their short- and long-term goals
  • Discuss blockers and challenges they need support with
  • Evaluate any mistakes they’ve made and discuss what they can do differently in the future to achieve better results 

Not only does this help onboard new employees, it also gives your mentors the chance to receive a helping hand, prove themselves as managers, and even work their way up to a promotion. 

And in the future, these new employees will go on to lead in the mentorship programs as they grow with your organization, creating a community with a collective objective.

3. Offer opportunities for growth

Today's talent expects upward mobility from their employers. Therefore, frequently rewarding high-performing employees with growth opportunities, such as pay increases and title changes, boosts talent retention. Keep in mind that most workers are unwilling to wait around for more than five years to get promoted.

Prospective employees in the U.S. are looking for an opportunity for growth above everything else when applying for jobs. This tells us that, in a highly competitive economy, professional development is a massive deal for remote employees regardless of their gender, educational background, or age. The survey further states that both unemployed and employed workers are looking to land a job with a company that can help improve their skill sets.

Luckily, it’s rather easy to create room for horizontal or vertical growth in a virtual workplace. Start by learning of the roles your employees aspire for as they continue working for your organization.

From there, you can work together to determine a development plan and incrementally give them projects that will teach them the skills they’ll need. By doing this, you're helping them get the promotions they want, keeping them motivated and happy for years to come. 

You're also proactively making sure that you can consider your current pool of employees for new positions rather than always recruiting an outsider. And by avoiding onboarding someone new, you increase employee retention and productivity, as you reduce onboarding costs.

4. Provide relevant and creative compensation

When retaining top talent, ensure you offer a strong compensation package that aligns with your employee’s needs. The monetary reward needs to match your employees' hard work and value to your company. 

Remote workers value benefits as much as office employees. However, because you can’t rely on in-person offerings, take some time to come up with even more relevant, creative compensation. 

For instance, consider offering home office equipment or a gym membership rather than an office snack bar. Doing this showcases that you understand the needs of your virtual team and care for their wellbeing.

Millennials are also looking for benefits such as student loan repayment assistance and unlimited PTO plans. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) reports that, prior to COVID, only about 8% of employers offered loan repayment assistance for student loans. 

However, this could rise to one-third of organizations now that the government has passed the CARES Act, which allows organizations to avoid taxes on these payments until 2025 (and possibly permanently in the future). This means that offering this form of compensation is easier than ever, making it something you may want to consider to gain an edge. 

Because competition for top talent is high in virtual workspaces, it would help to consider what your competition is offering. In the long run, offering high compensation often pays off, as a well-compensated remote employee will help you turn your company vision into reality.

5. Offer personalized analytics-driven wellness assistance

Managing employee sentiment and promoting a healthy work-life blend can be challenging when you’re managing a remote workforce. Therefore, you need to implement processes and digital equipment that can help your employees:

  • Prioritize their workload and high-impact projects
  • Meet important deadlines
  • Determine trending challenges and blockers they experience
  • Get maximum use from their digital tools
  • Develop smarter, proactive work habits across their tools
  • Benchmark their performance
  • And more!

Next-generation human resource solutions can gather relevant cross-platform work analytics from across your organization’s tech stack. You maintain visibility of your organization’s virtual employee experience as you empower your employees to deliver quality work faster. You get to keep your top talent happy while increasing company productivity.

Develop a successful employee retention strategy with expert support

Retaining talented employees in the modern world can be difficult without the right tools and expert help. Luckily, WNDYR's human behavior and productivity specialists will provide a custom set of digital tools to empower your virtual team to deliver their best work. Through data-driven insights found in our solution, Pattyrn, your employees gain actionable recommendations to foster better work habits - allowing them to work smarter, not harder, and feel more engaged at work. 

Are you eager to learn more about how WNDYR and Pattyrn can help improve employee retention in your virtual workspace? Contact our experts today to get all the answers you need.

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