Glossary of HR Terms

Looking to brush up on all the latest HR acronyms, buzzwords, and common terms? This glossary is for you, sort of like the ABCs of HR. It's everything you need to know in the realm of employee experience and human connection, defined in easy-to-understand language.


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Employee Tenure

14 Innovative Approaches to Maximize Employee Tenure

A Closer Look at Employee Tenure

There was a time, not so long ago, in the era of Mad Men or Leave It to Beaver, when landing a job meant you were set until retirement. You put in your decades of dedicated service, years of employee tenure followed by a fond farewell, a pension, and a gold watch. 

Today, the concept of that kind of tenure seems as outdated as a typewriter in a TikTok world. Especially post-pandemic, the revolving door in today’s workplaces spins so fast, it wouldn’t be surprising if some folks think “tenure” is a trendy new app. According to a report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2022, the average male employee sticks around for just about 4.3 years — the average woman for only 3.9. Those days of lifelong loyalty? They’ve left the building. 

But that doesn’t mean companies shouldn’t be shooting to create the longest tenure they can. The cost of replacing an employee is so steep — in terms of money, brain drain and culture capital — that keeping employees around longer is just smart business.

What Is Employee Tenure?

In the simplest terms, employee tenure refers to the length of time an individual works for a particular employer. Tenure can be short-term, often less than two years, reflecting today’s gig economy and the rise of freelancing. On the flip side, long-term tenure, a rare gem, signifies a decade or more of service, evoking images of stability and deep-rooted company knowledge.

Why Is Employee Tenure Important for Organizational Success?

The days of gold watches may be long gone, but the value of tenure remains solid gold for organizational success. It’s not just about having a roster of veteran employees; it’s the wealth of institutional knowledge, the refined skills, and the cultivated relationships they bring to the table. 

As our turnover calculator shows, high employee turnover can be costly, with expenses ranging from recruitment and training to the less tangible losses in team cohesion and morale. Fostering longer tenure is like  nurturing a garden; it takes time and care, but the rewards are incredible.

Drivers of Employee Retention and Turnover

Diving into the dynamics of why employees stick around or bid adieu is like exploring the layers of an onion. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer, but a medley of factors comes into play. Compensation, work-life balance, recognition, and growth opportunities are the usual suspects. 

However, the plot thickens with modern twists, including the quest for meaningful work, the allure of remote work options, and the importance of a positive company culture. Understanding these drivers is the first step in turning the tide on turnover and steering the ship towards a future where tenure is treasured once more.

14 Ways to Improve Employee Tenure for Enhanced Productivity and Engagement

As we sail into an era where employee tenure is both a challenge and an opportunity, let’s explore how organizations can adapt, innovate, and perhaps even bring back a bit of that “Mad Men” era loyalty, albeit with a modern twist.

  1. Offer Competitive Compensation and Benefits

It’s probably a no-brainer, but let’s first acknowledge the elephant in the room. If you want to keep employees, you’ll need to pay them fairly and offer good benefits. Otherwise, they’re likely to keep looking for a better place to land. Research consistently shows that competitive compensation and benefits packages are key to retaining employees. According to the 2022 Employee Benefits Survey by SHRM goes into detail on US employee expectations for a robust benefits package, including health, dental, vision, and retirement plans. Great benefits will always be a top strategy for attracting and retaining talent.

  1. Create Growth and Career Development Opportunities

Employee tenure isn’t built on comp alone. You also need to show employees you’re invested in their long-term growth.  LinkedIn’s 2021 Workplace Learning Report revealed that 94% of employees would stay at a company longer if it invested in their career development. And Betterworks research in 2023 found that while 75% of employees don’t want to leave their employers, more than half of employees don’t see a path for advancement in their current company. In that survey, career advancement and

professional growth are the No. 2 and No. 3 reasons for employees to be looking for work. Providing opportunities for professional growth, such as training, workshops, and clear paths for advancement, encourages employees to envision a long-term future with the organization.

  1. Practice Comprehensive Onboarding

A well-structured onboarding process is clutch when it comes to an employee’s decision to stay or leave a company — especially in the early days. A thoughtful approach to improve onboarding experience through design is critical. Research from SHRM shows that employees with a positive onboarding experience are 58% more likely to remain with the organization for a longer period. Similarly, Paychex research from 2022 showed that 80% of employees who feel undertrained during onboarding are planning to leave their employer soon. Effective onboarding — which you can create with the  Enboarder platform– should include clear job expectations, integration into company culture, and socialization opportunities.

  1. Promote Work-Life Balance and Flexibility

The importance of work-life balance and flexibility has been highlighted in numerous studies as a critical factor in employee retention. Offering flexible work arrangements, like remote or hybrid work options and flexible schedules, can improve employee satisfaction and tenure.  A study by Owl Labs in 2022 showed if the ability to work from home was taken away, two-thirds (66%) of workers would immediately start looking for a job that offered flexibility, and 39% would simply quit. By embracing policies that respect personal time and family commitments, companies signal to employees that their well-being is a priority. This, in turn, fosters loyalty and a reluctance to leave a supportive work environment.

  1. Facilitate a Recognition and Reward Program

Recognition for hard work and achievements can significantly impact employee retention. Gallup’s research indicates that regular recognition and rewards lead to higher employee engagement, productivity, and loyalty to the company — and research by Gallup has found that making recognition an important part of company culture, a 10,000-person organization with an already engaged workforce can save up to $16.1 million USD annually due simply to reduced employee turnover.

  1. Effective Communication and Feedback

Clear and open communication channels between management and employees build trust and loyalty. Research in 2022 by Bridge showed that 41% of what they term “performance management leader organizations” experienced improved employee retention in 2023, compared to 15% of performance laggards. Research by Gallup continually highlights the importance of managers providing constructive feedback and engaging in regular communication with their team members to boost retention.

  1. Build a Strong Company Culture

A strong, positive company culture aligned with employees’ values fosters a sense of belonging and loyalty. Deloitte’s 2021 Global Human Capital Trends report emphasizes the role of organizational culture in driving employee retention, especially during times of change. A thoughtful approach to employee experience design will make all the difference. Find a few tips and ideas to create positive employee experience, here.

  1. Employee Wellness Programs

Wellness programs that support employees’ physical and mental health show a company’s commitment to its workforce’s well-being. According to the American Psychological Association’s 2021 Work and Well-being Survey, employees who feel their employer supports their well-being are more likely to want to stay with that employer — and those who felt tense or stressed out during the workday were more than three times as likely to say they intend to seek employment elsewhere in the next year (71% vs. 20%).

  1. Inclusive and Diverse Work Environment

Creating an inclusive work environment where diversity is celebrated can improve employee retention. McKinsey’s 2020 report, “Diversity wins: How inclusion matters,” found that companies with diverse and inclusive cultures are more likely to attract top talent and improve employee satisfaction and loyalty.

  1. Leadership and Management Training

Investing in leadership development is crucial for improving manager-employee relationships, which significantly impact retention, according to SHRM. Gallup research has shown that 70% of the variance in team engagement is determined solely by the manager. Research shared in Harvard Business Review in 2022 also suggests that when managers are given the right training and tools, their employees are significantly less likely to leave their jobs.

  1. Fostering Human Connection and Friendship

Building strong interpersonal connections and friendships at work can significantly improve employee retention. According to 2022 research from Gallup, having a “best friend” at work is associated with better performance and less likelihood of job searching. In environments where employees report strong personal ties, there’s a higher sense of belonging and loyalty, which naturally extends tenure. Encouraging team-building activities, social events, and collaborative projects can foster these important connections.  (This is a good place to encourage you to explore how Enboarder can help you to spark and maintain those critical human connections at work.)

  1. Aligning Work with Personal Purpose

Employees today seek more than just a paycheck; they want their work to align with their personal values and sense of purpose. Research from BetterUp has found that employees who feel their work is meaningful are 69% less likely to plan on quitting their jobs within the next 6 months. Organizations that articulate a clear mission and demonstrate social responsibility can attract and retain employees who are motivated by purpose, thereby extending employee tenure. According to the 2021 Edelman Trust Barometer, 86% of employees expect their employer to provide significant societal impact, highlighting the importance of purpose-driven work in employee retention strategies.

  1. Ensuring Psychological Safety and Trust

Creating a psychologically safe workplace where employees feel free to express their ideas, concerns, and mistakes without fear of punishment is crucial for retention. Research published in 2021 in the AMAR Journal found that psychological safety is linked to higher job satisfaction, engagement, and a willingness to stay with the company. When employees trust that their workplace is supportive and not threatening, they are more likely to commit long-term.  A 2024 survey by PwC indicated that 22% of employees have left a job if they didn’t trust their leaders, underscoring the importance of trust and safety in retaining talent.

  1. Prioritizing Learning and Skills Development  

Investing in employees’ skills development and career growth is a crucial strategy for enhancing employee tenure. 2021 research from Gloat showed that 34 percent of American workers feel underutilized at work, which is prompting many to look for greener pastures. According to LinkedIn’s 2020 Workplace Learning Report, 94% of employees stated they would stay at a company longer if it invested in their learning and development. This statistic underscores the significance of continuous learning opportunities and career progression paths as retention tools.  By providing clear career advancement opportunities, mentoring programs, and regular skills training, employers can create a workforce that not only excels in their current roles but also sees a future within the company.

Best Practices for Managing Employee Tenure

As we navigate the evolving workplace landscape, managing employee tenure becomes increasingly pivotal. While the strategies mentioned above lay a solid foundation, there are additional best practices that can further solidify employee retention and tenure. 

Three of these include:

  • Strategic Role Rotation: Role rotation isn’t just about shaking things up; it’s a deliberate move to keep your workforce engaged, motivated, and continuously learning. By strategically rotating employees through different roles or projects within the company, you’re not only preventing the staleness that can come from staying too long in one position but also broadening their skill set and understanding of the business.
  • Skill Diversification: Skill diversification goes hand-in-hand with role rotation, focusing on developing a wide range of skills in employees. This not only makes them more versatile and valuable to your organization but also boosts their confidence and job satisfaction by showing them a clear path for growth and advancement.
  • Proactively Addressing the Risk of Complacency: Complacency can be a tenure’s silent enemy, creeping in when employees feel too comfortable or unchallenged in their roles. Actively working to identify and address complacency not only reinvigorates employees’ drive but also reinforces their sense of belonging and purpose within the company.


Balancing and Managing Employee Tenure with Enboarder

Implementing these 14 strategies for employee tenure requires a committed effort from the organization’s leadership down to individual team managers. Tenure has the power to grow if carefully tended, and you may find yourself needing to buy those gold watches, after all. 

By prioritizing employee engagement, wellness, and development and enhancing employee experience, companies can significantly improve employee tenure — reducing turnover and fostering a competitive, vibrant workplace culture. One way to ramp up human connection and keep employees aligned and feeling valued from day one is by creating onboarding for engaged employees via the Enboarder platform. 

Discover how it can help increase your employee tenure by taking a tour of the Enboarder solution, today, and see how connected, experience-driven onboarding impacts retention rates!