Guide to employee retention: how to keep your best talent

No business can grow if the people growing it don’t stick around

Just because you know how to identify great candidates and hire global employees doesn’t mean you know how to keep them. Fortunately, there’s nothing today’s employees love more than flexibility — and if you play your cards right, your remote team members will stay with you for years to come.


What you'll learn

In this guide, we’ll provide practical advice and tactical insight, designed to help business leaders make a real and lasting impact on employee retention rates. We want to give you the practical advice you need, not just to retain your best performers – but to sustain their motivation and productivity for years into the future.

We’ll be looking at how you create a strong and supportive remote work culture and at the localized benefits that help you to protect talent from competitor poaching. 

We’ll also introduce the guiding principles of successful, sustainable remote teams: 

  1. Flexible and asynchronous work
  2. Communication and documentation
  3. Connection and belonging

Ready to improve remote retention for your company? Bookmark this guide right now, then work through implementing the tactics we’re about to share with you below.

Why does retention rate matter?

Retaining people — and implementing programs to measure and support that retention — is non-negotiable if you want your business to grow and thrive. In the era of remote work, many companies are struggling to identify what makes them unique, and as a result, what makes them the best place to be for current and future employees.

Employee turnover has risen 8.7% since 2019.

By maintaining a strong retention rate, you’ll enjoy:

Increased productivity

Better customer experiences

Reduced recruitment and onboarding costs

Improved team morale

Great word-of-mouth about working for your company

And, ultimately, a massive boost to your bottom line. Building a business with a great retention rate inevitably means building a business that can weather any storm and grow in any economic climate. When good people want to work for you, there’s nothing you can’t do.

In a world in which we always strive to be more inclusive, being intentional about including all genders, parental leave covers all aspects of becoming a parent, without referencing a specific gender. It also implies that any parent with a child under the age of one can take parental leave, without making assumptions of who will be taking care of the child. The flexibility and choice matters most to employees.

Amanda Day
Director of People Enablement @ Remote

How do you calculate your retention rate?

Why does top talent choose to leave?

The role of equitable global compensation in staff retention

Staff are more likely to stick with your company if they feel valued and fairly treated. As evidence and common sense both suggest, providing equitable compensation is perhaps the most straightforward way to get started.

Why is equitable compensation so important?

When employees feel that they are compensated fairly for their work — in relation to their skills and in comparison to the remuneration received by their colleagues — they tend to be happier and more motivated.

Equitable compensation is really one of the cornerstones when it comes to retention in any organization. An equitable compensation philosophy instills trust and confidence in employees, who in turn feel incentivized to perform better and remain with a company.

Pavania Naidu
Senior Total Rewards Specialist @ Remote

Compensating your team members appropriately is essential, but making those calculations can get difficult. To make sure you’re getting it right, check out our guide to remote worker compensation.

Developing an equitable compensation package for your employees

You need to consider more than an employee’s skill and seniority level when deciding what a fair compensation package looks like. If your employees work in different countries, there are lots of factors involved. Consider the following on a country-specific level:

Mandatory employer-provided benefits

The cost of living (and what that means for salary expectations)

Mandatory salary deductions

Employee expectations with regards salary and benefits

By taking all of the above into account, you can develop a total rewards policy — that is, a compensation package with value and fairness baked in. Your total rewards policy takes into account the bonuses, benefits, and additional incentives that you offer to employees.

Remember that equitable compensation is a powerful mechanism.

Modern professionals expect to be able to impact the success of their company and see a real-world return. Today’s best compensation strategies are future-thinking where employee success is intrinsically connected to company success. Bob has found that compensation has to go well beyond a market-rate salary to be a competitive advantage. A progressive approach to compensation can be distilled down into six essential components that include salary, bonuses, pension, and equity, but also, and equally important, “professional” benefits and “lifestyle” benefits. Designing the perfect compensation cocktail can get complicated, so it’s crucial to lean on modern HR tech tools to help validate the impact of chosen strategies on candidates, team members, and leadership.

Annie Rosencrans
U.S. People & Culture Director @ HiBob

When your compensation strategy ticks all the boxes for your employees, you’ll motivate staff and promote long-term engagement with your company.

Want an easy-to-follow guide to calculating global compensation?

Check out our webinar on the topic: Calculating Global Compensation

How to construct a benefits program to retain top global talent

Companies that allow employees to work remotely have lower turnover rates than office-only companies. Remote’s research found this difference is estimated to grow to 4.4% in 2023.

If you want to attract and retain a global team, you must offer a locally customized, globally competitive benefits plan.

While it’s easy to fall into a ‘one size fits all’ trap, offering all employees the same benefits package wherever they are in the world, it’s very unlikely that this solution will address their needs. Benefits design should account for local needs and cultural differences as much as possible. This doesn’t just enable you to attract top talent. The best benefits programs are critical for talent retention.

Joana Viana
Senior Global Benefits Design & Strategy Expert

To customize benefits packages and compete with local employers who know the local workforce inside and out, you need in-depth local insight.

Let’s look at an example:

In the UK

Offer a medical plan with maternity cover to your employees in the UK, and they’re unlikely to be wowed by the prospect. That’s because they already have access to free healthcare, including maternity care, through the National Health Service (NHS).

In Singapore

Offer a medical plan with maternity cover to employees in Singapore, however, and it is much more likely to affect their opinion of an employer.
In Singapore, maternity healthcare can end up costing thousands of dollars, so anyone considering parenthood would feel reassured to have this type of cover as part of their benefits package.

When it comes to benefits, nothing beats local insight. However, gathering this information yourself can be tricky and time-consuming. That’s why we created the Global Benefits Report. This resource helps businesses quickly and easily compare preferred benefits across countries and continents.




Want a little extra help with your global benefits strategy?

Here at Remote, we give businesses access to local benefits experts, so you know exactly which benefits you legally have to offer and which are optional extras. We also offer curated benefits plans for every country around the world, saving companies the time and money involved in doing the legwork for themselves.

Sign Up

Remote helped us build loyalty with employees by providing world-class benefits and the rights that come with being employed locally.

Heather Miki
People Operations Manager @ kWh Analytics

We wanted to quickly grow our Mexico presence without navigating the intricacies of incorporation, payroll, and benefits management ourselves. Remote allowed us to do exactly that.

Greg Kefer
CMO @ Lifelink Systems

Build a remote-first culture to manage global teams effectively

Remote-first companies are not just for remote workers. It may sound strange, but it’s true. But adopting remote-first practices, you create a more equal working environment for everyone, regardless of where they work. Leaning into documentation, asynchronous work practices, and a culture that values results over hours is better for all. Let’s take a look at how to create a remote-first environment of your own.

What do we mean by remote-first?

Essential elements of a remote-first culture

How supportive remote-first management boosts retention

Replacing staff costs
43% more

In the U.S., it costs about 43.7% of an employee’s salary to replace that employee with a new hire.

The most skilled and experienced employees have plentiful options, so businesses looking to attract and retain those workers need to provide them with the flexibility they crave. And that means creating management practices that nurture an environment where flexibility can flourish

Job van der Voort
CEO of Remote

shares his expert tips in this guide on how to manage remote employees.

Read more

Why remote-first management is so powerful

Employees today value flexibility above all else. In the Remote Global Benefits Report, we found that workers around the world want flexibility in their workdays more than they want any other benefit, including four-day workweeks and retirement plans.

What does that mean for managers of remote teams? 

Employees today are looking for workplaces where they can fit their work into their lives, not the other way around. They still want to do great work for great companies, but they are no longer willing to put their lives on hold in the process. 

Prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion to keep employees connected

Employees increasingly want to work within diverse, equitable, and inclusive organizations. Remote-first organizations are uniquely positioned to accelerate the adoption of better DEI practices.

How a more diverse and inclusive culture benefits retention rates

DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) is one of the most powerful multipliers for employee retention. By building DEI into your organizational culture, you get:

  1. An equitable work environment
    You build a strong employer brand, which helps with talent acquisition and retention.
  2. Higher employee satisfaction
    Employees want to work in places where everyone is welcome.
  3. An improved sense of belonging
    Everyone feels appreciated and accepted for who they are.

In one of our recent Remote Connect sessions, we brought together the Remote People Team to get their thoughts on building a remote culture that offers a sense of belonging for all.

Find out what they had to say

How to develop a diverse, equitable, and inclusive global workforce

Developing a diverse, equitable, and inclusive global workforce requires real and sustained commitment.

  • Create a remote DEI committee to help you understand your challenges and opportunities.
  • Solicit honest opinions on your DEI performance from your team.
  • Create a formal DEI policy, updating it regularly in collaboration with all team members.
  • Build DEI into your recruitment strategy by employing inclusive hiring practices.
  • Support inclusion of underrepresented groups, including women, ethnic minority, LGBTQ, and neurodivergent employees

Want to become a globally inclusive employer? Get up to speed with the help of our webinar: Building a globally inclusive recruitment strategy.


Life Work Balance Guide


5 pillars to motivate and retain 
a high-performing remote team

When a team feels motivated and productive, they feel much happier logging onto work each day.

It is important that leaders strive to maintain motivation and performance levels across their global team. This means nurturing the employee experience, from recruitment through onboarding and beyond.

Intelligent recruitment

Get off on the right foot by employing valued-based, remote-first recruitment practices.

  • Communicate clearly and transparently
  • Adapt the interview process to fit candidate time zones
  • Share insights into what a remote-first culture is like for employees

These practices will help you to find talented employees who share your values, gel with your team, and understand what to expect as a member of your workplace.

Seamless communication

Good communication and employee experience go hand in hand. To maximize your communication, follow our communication guidelines for remote teams:

  • Prevent notification burnout. Encourage employees to turn off notifications when they need to concentrate on the task at hand. 
  • Make updates transparent and searchable. Document important meetings and progress reports, then save these documents publicly so they’re accessible to all employees.
  • Establish communication norms. Ensure employees know communication best practice for all of the communication platforms your company uses.
  • Never sacrifice 1-1s. Get to know your employees and give them space to raise issues by regularly scheduling one on one calls.

Comprehensive onboarding

Onboarding is another lever for remote-worker retention.
Employee turnover can be as high as 50% in the first 18 months of employment. To avoid being part of this statistic, the ideal remote onboarding program includes:

  • Engaging, self-serve resources
  • Assigned onboarding buddies
  • Introduction to company values and culture
  • Info on company communication norms
  • Expectations and targets for their first weeks at work
  • Regular manager check-ins

Opportunities for progression and clearly communicated career paths are the most effective way to improve retention (63%) — even above increasing salaries!

Smart meetings

Meetings can be highly disruptive. Too many meetings will decrease employee productivity without always providing value. What’s more, poor meeting formats can leave employees feeling frustrated and bored.

So what can you do about it? Perhaps you need to rethink the way you do meetings as a remote-first organization. Here are our tips:

  • Create an agenda, then cancel the meeting if it can be addressed async
  • Set shorter time limits to keep things productive and fast
  • Rotate essential calls to suit different employee time zones
  • Make it acceptable for people who are not active contributors to leave meetings
  • Schedule time for bonding and fun facetime to keep work meetings shorter and less frequent

Run remote meetings with these tips in mind, and they’ll become effective forums for communication rather than a drain on your employees’ time.

Supportive management

When you are not spending face-to-face time with your team, it is hard to recognize signs of stress and burnout. Managers of remote teams in particular should be keenly aware of how quickly burnout can affect teams and work to prevent it.

That might mean:

  • Keeping up-to-date with employee workloads
  • Creating realistic deadlines
  • Making time for team activities that aren’t related to work
  • Encouraging employees to take breaks and book vacations
  • Modeling good work-life balance so employees don’t feel pressure not to take breaks

Support employees to keep them from burning out, and not only will they be more productive, but they will be more likely to stay with your company for longer.

How flexible work practices can help you retain top global talent

Employees love flexibility, remote work, asynchronous hours, and freedom. If you run your operations with a remote-first mindset, you can provide employees with all of those things while reaching new heights on productivity, responsiveness to customer needs, and accountability.

Flexible working: a top priority for remote workers

Flexible working — the freedom to work where, how, and when you choose — is a top consideration for a large proportion of employees.

Remote’s Global Benefits Report found flexible working to be important for everyone, but especially so for women and young workers. Women often hold more responsibilities at home and with their families, which means flexibility can be a lifesaver as they juggle more responsibilities. Young people tend to be more mobile, which means flexibility can help them design the lives they want while growing with your organization.

Our Global Benefits Report underlined the importance of flexible working conditions for those working in remote roles and globally distributed teams.

This data shouldn’t just inform your recruitment strategy and compensation structure. You need to proactively adapt and consider how you can prevent your best team members from seeking another role. Find out what your top performers value most and make proactive improvements internally to boost retention and demonstrate care and loyalty to your team.

Offering clearer paths to promotion, performance-based compensation increases, and more flexible working conditions to retain your best talent will almost always be less cost and time intensive than the alternative of losing key team members and being forced into recruiting replacements.

Flexible work is top priority for 29% of employees

Offer work conditions that top talent is seeking

How to improve your flexible working benefits

Hidden retention benefits of offering autonomy

How to foster transparency and trust for remote and global teams

Remote teams work best when everyone knows what’s happening. The best way to create that cohesion is through transparency, which comes before, during, and after the work is performed.

Create clear project outlines and set expectations

If anyone wants to know the latest on a project, they should be able to visit the public documentation to see for themselves. And, if they want to see how something is performing, that data should be available as well.

Let employees design their workdays

Some people are night owls. Others prefer to work early. Some people work all day in short bursts, saving their energy for the times that suit them best. As long as everyone documents and communicates, everything works in harmony.

Record, write, and inform

Keep everyone, in every time zone, up to speed by recording videos of meetings and writing regular updates in public places, like open Slack channels. Tag people frequently and create a culture where people can read notifications when they choose instead of constantly staying glued to the screen.

Communicate in public forums

Communication should be transparent, searchable, available, and accessible. Instead of sending a direct message, write in a public Slack channel or Notion page and tag the person you want to talk to. This way, anyone who wants to be informed about the project can see the public information easily.

Build connections by using face time to bond

Why spend valuable time together doing work you could do asynchronously? Of course, you should always provide space for team members to share their problems, challenges, and feedback in a psychologically safe space. Otherwise, you should use 1:1 meetings and team time to bond, play games, and catch up. Save the hard work for documentation, which allows people to collaborate without having to be online at the same time.

Demonstrate respect

Respect time zones, preferred working hours, and remote work feedback from employees. Stay open to improvements and iterations. Responsive leaders make all team members feel empowered to deliver their best while maintaining strong life-work balance.

Getting timely feedback from remote employees is extremely important. This will ensure they don’t lose motivation. A consistent, bi-directional feedback mechanism between the manager and the employees will improve transparency and eliminate potential chances of quiet quitting. Managers/team leaders should come up with a dedicated feedback bi-weekly or once a month to hear out their employees and act upon their feedback

Senthil Kanthaswamy
Business & Product Head @ Freshteam

Are you building a remote-first or a remote-forced work environment? Ensure it is the former by checking out this Remote Connect session to learn how to create a remote-first work culture.

Building a remote-first culture
Watch now

Start implementing these retention tactics to keep star performers

Retaining remote talent in the current climate is not without its challenges, but we hope this guide has provided you with plenty of actionable advice.

With this guide at your hands, you now know:

  • Why remote staff retention is important
  • How to calculate your staff retention rate
  • What makes a remote employee want to stay at your company
  • Actionable tactics to improve retention for your remote workforce

The tips in this guide will help you, but there’s always more to learn! If you’re hiring globally, you can always contact Remote to make it easy to onboard, pay, and manage your remote workforce. We can even help you to prepare and structure competitive offers in new places, so your global compensation plan is always effective and compliant.

Ready to put this
all into action?

If you’d like help putting a global staff retention plan into action, Remote can help. Download our Global Benefits Report to discover the personalized perks you should be offering to attract and retain global talent.