SelectOne Blog

4 Companies with Great Retention Rates that We Can Learn From

For every entrepreneur worth their salt, part of the draw to the business world is the desire to innovate -- to creatively solve problems, and develop unique methods of improvement.

As many major corporations are beginning to realize the importance of employee retention in the workplace, they’re also realizing the relationship between the employer and employee is a great place to innovate. 

The corporate world is full of unique examples, from Charles Schwab’s 401k program that includes financial consultations and workshops, to Hyatt’s long-term training programs based on the Stanford School of Design that help retain the average housekeeping employee for over 12 years. 

We’ve talked previously about some ideas to boost employee retention and the unique challenges of retaining remote employees, but now let’s take a look at how some major players incorporated a few specific strategies in the real world. You never know, maybe one of these will inspire your own creative employee retention plan. 

You Can Be Yourself at Whole Foods

Most people draw a distinct curtain between who they are at home and work. On one side of the curtain is the professional self -- an actor, performing a slightly off-kilter representation of themselves to impress the customer. But when the customer is gone and the shift is over, the authentic self is allowed to come out. 

Whole Foods Market CEO John Mackey was frustrated with that social requirement. If you’ve ever been inside a Whole Foods Market, you may have guessed. Many of the employees have visible tattoos, or dress in “bohemian” or “hipster styles.” 

Employees are encouraged to comfortably display self-expression and identity, and Whole Foods famously has one of the best retention rates in the industry. A famous case study into the retention rates at Whole Foods by Kristin L. Pearson found this acceptance of personal autonomy to be an important factor in employee happiness. 

CarMax Protects Its Employees 

During the 2008 recession, CarMax decided to try something unprecedented. While a lot of companies were cutting jobs, benefits, and programs, CarMax CEO Tom Folliard decided it was the perfect time to invest in its employees. The company bolstered its training and development programs to help workers earn raises and promotions. As a result, not only is CarMax consistently rated as one of the best places to work in the nation, but sales are up 116% in eight years. 

Taking Ownership at Clif Bar

Clif Bar has a staggering 97% employee retention rate, and many attribute that to its five core company values: people, businesses, brands, community, and planet. By putting a focus on their core values, they’re able to share a mission with their employees in order to work toward a common goal. Their employees feel a shared sense of ownership in the objectives.

It was also, with that sense of ownership in mind, that CEO Gary Erikson and wife/co-owner Kit Crawford decided to offer the company up for employee ownership through an employee stock option in 2000. 

They had been considering using private equity to buy out a third partner to prevent a large corporation from taking hold of Clif Bar when they decided that private ownership just didn’t seem to fit with the five core values. It seems their decision paid off in spades. 

Giving Is Part of Business at The Mitten

We’ve talked a little about The Mitten Brewing Company in our previous articles. It’s a pizza and brewery restaurant that also runs a charity foundation which donates monthly to causes chosen by employees. Recently they paid off lunch debts for several entire schools so that students could return to class, and were given an award by the United States Congress for their efforts. 

Once again showing that shared values and objectives encourage employee retention, The Mitten Brewing Company boasts a retention rate 3x the national average.

These are just a handful of the retention strategies you could have at your fingertips. If you need help finding and retaining top-tier talent in your industry, reach out to SelectOne for a recruiting consultation so we can help you reach and surpass your goals.

Guide: How to Retain Your Best Workers

Comments (1)