Employee Retention Tools

Overall, increasing retention depends on building a culture of commitment. A big part of that is addressing the underlying problems causing regrettable turnover. An effective retention plan generally involves a number of programs, tools, and initiatives across many areas.


A reliable HR information system (HRIS) is table stakes once you reach about 25 employees. The effects of an organized HRIS are felt from day one, contributing to a positive experience at onboarding, pay periods, and vacation time.

Most HR software—i.e., HRIS, HR management systems (HRMS), or human capital management (HCM) systems—offer modules or integrations for every step the employee lifecycle.

The majority of employee complaints about HR tend to be about mistakes in HR processes and lack of responsiveness, so we recommend tools that automate straightforward stuff, deliver great user experience, and facilitate human interactions:

  • BambooHR is designed to make HR software—including recruitment, onboarding, and performance management - easy for small and medium businesses
  • Namely streamlines HR with payroll, benefits, and talent management in a centralized platform for mid-market companies
  • Sapling delivers HRIS and onboarding with custom workflows and reporting for fast-growing, mid-sized companies
  • UltiPro offers HCM, payroll, talent management, employee surveys, and more options, including analytics
  • HiBob is a quickly growing HCM platform because of its management perspective for core HR, talent management, and culture

Employee experience

An employee experience platform puts user experience first, making it easy and enjoyable for employees to interact with the systems that help them, when employees need them.

Global industry analyst Josh Bersin believes that it is the future of HR tech. When employees can interact with all applications through one employee experience platform, they don’t have to log in or learn all those different applications.

  • ServiceNow is a leader in this area with a platform of intelligent digital workflows
  • Watson is IBM’s artificial intelligence that powers chatting with their various solutions


The people that you want to retain will also likely be the people who care most about being able to do their job well. If they are not able to easily share information and communicate with their teams, then they may look for a work environment where they can better realize their potential.

Communication tools also play a major role in shaping the culture and employee experience, especially in growing and more dispersed companies. From a business standpoint, we recommend looking for technology that also supports productivity and innovation:

  • Slack is a popular platform intended to be a single place for messaging, tools, and files
  • Google Hangouts Chat offers secure direct messaging and group conversations
  • Igloo is a digital workspace that replaces traditional Intranet software

By the way, these communication tools, and others, integrate with Bonusly, the industry-leading recognition platform!

In addition, project management tools can be used for communication and collaboration. Some excellent free options include Asana and Trello.

There are a lot of cool things happening in the HR space. Consider the collaboration stacks that would best optimize different communication loops in your organization. If you’ve never heard of communication loops or collaboration stacks, don’t worry: we explain it all here.


Traditionally, employee satisfaction or engagement surveys may have been administered annually, however many organizations are moving to a more continuous feedback model. Here are some tools to consider once you determine your approach:

  • SurveyMonkey is a popular survey tool with a lot of functionality packed into their free plan
  • Typeform is a survey platform that also integrates with integrates with over 500 apps
  • Officevibe is a user-friendly employee engagement solution with a focus on insights direct to managers
  • WorkTango is an employee insights engine that makes collecting feedback fast, easy, and anonymous
  • Culture Amp makes it easy to collect and understand employee engagement data, including turnover forecasts powered by machine learning


When choosing a tool for employee recognition, look for a platform that:

  • Embeds in workflows
  • Provides rewards
  • Shares people analytics
  • Scales easily

Bonusly has all of these, and more. 👋

Bonusly also has a Dashboard feature that can help integrate recognition in the day-to-day to improve engagement and retention. If you have a screen set up in a main area like a lunch room or reception, it brings employee pride and belonging off the computer and into the office.

In addition to driving retention, Bonusly can help decide how else to address risks of turnover. Our Organization Graph feature shows team connections, which can inform how to engage team members who might need more attention.

Interested? Go ahead and explore the Bonusly platform yourself or join us for a demo.


We know that growth and development are major drivers of retention. It’s no coincidence that there is a lot of change in technology for those areas. As we adapt to the way that employees need and want to learn, we are seeing more self-directed, on-demand, and bite-sized options.

If you are considering or already have a core HR system, it may offer a learning management system (LMS). These do:

You could add to the LMS—or offer on its own—online learning like the following massive open online course (MOOC) platforms:

And while employees may not ask specifically for performance management, some want more feedback - and most want support from their manager. That can be where performance tools come in. If you have a core HR system, it may have a performance module. Another example is Small Improvements. Their focus on continuous feedback—through objectives, 1:1s, reviews—is designed for small to medium companies.


A wellness program can encompass efforts to build awareness, education, and access to tools that help employees manage their own well-being.

If you already have an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), then you may start by communicating and encouraging employees to take advantage of the EAP coaching and healthcare professionals.

You may also consider mindfulness tools like the meditation app, Headspace, to support stress management and focus. Their research found that just four sessions reduced burnout by 14%.

FitBit also has a program for employers, offering subsidized ownership of a FitBit device and internal company competitions and rewards.


Retention works hand-in-hand with recruitment. Candidate experience leads into employee experience, and if it’s not done well, you’re right back out there recruiting for the same role again.

A solid Applicant Tracking System (ATS) can help you stay on top of the recruitment process and candidate interactions:

  • TalentLyft is a popular recruiting and ATS solution tailored to recruiters looking to streamline their hiring process. It simplifies sourcing, allows for easy candidate communication, increases career site conversion, and improves selection processes.

Another valuable step in the recruitment stage is assessments. By assessing candidate abilities and fit, you can help select employees who will thrive in your work environment.

  • IBM offers a huge library of assessments, from cognitive ability to specialized skills for specific jobs or industries
  • Predictive Index provides behavioral and cognitive assessments for hiring and developing employees and teams


We wrote a step-by-step process for applying analytics to retention. Some tools to consider:

  • Microsoft Excel is likely already in your toolbox and may be all you need at this point, with capabilities like conditional formatting or a correlation matrix of variables to highlight trends
  • Visier is a leader in people analytics and workforce planning that brings together data from different sources to provide insights in an intuitive Q&A format, complete with interactive visualizations

“Instead of reporting single metrics, find out how resignations are affected by things such as compensation ratio, promotion wait time, pay increases, tenure, performance, and training opportunities. This insight supports better decisions around changes to pay, benefits, and learning and development in order to manage costs, while retaining the right people.”

- Ian Cook, VP People Solutions, Visier

You can also learn more about Bonusly’s employee recognition and rewards platform as a way to address high turnover by requesting a demo.

Looking for more concrete ideas of what a retention initiative actually looks like? Look no further than our last chapter!

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