How to Retain Employees (and Avoid Attrition) in a Remote Work Environment

  • August 19, 2022

If you’re a business owner or HR manager, you probably already recognize the importance of employee retention. On average, employee turnover costs businesses roughly 33% of the lost employee’s salary. That means that a $60,000 per year employee could cost you $20,000 in recruitment and onboarding on top of the $60,000 salary of his or her replacement. That’s assuming that the new hire agrees to the original wage – replacing an employee often comes with salary increases too.

It doesn’t matter if you’re running a brick-and-mortar retail business with 5 staff or a financial services firm with remote employees all over the globe, retention is incredibly important to your bottom line.

Though many factors, such as employee engagement, competitive pay, and team culture, apply equally to in-office and remote work environments, the actionable strategies for retaining employees can be quite different. You can’t exactly throw a pizza party when one employee is in Seattle, another is in Seoul, and a third is in Sydney.

This is one of the main reasons why, despite a Harvard Business Review study suggesting that 62% of employees believe remote work helps with engagement, only around 5% of remote employees stick with their jobs long-term. The recent COVID-19-influenced explosion in the popularity of remote work contributes to this, as the remote work environment is relatively new to employers and employees alike. It’s also worth noting that many remote positions are outsourced or contract-based by nature and not necessarily conducive to long-term collaboration.

Still, organizations that are looking to switch to a completely remote work environment need to figure out a way to retain their most productive employees and avoid attrition. Last year, 55% of workers in the United States believed that they would switch jobs within 12 months and only 47% cited job security as a priority. The era of 40+ year careers with single employers being the default is over.

Here are a few tips for retaining high-performing remote employees in 2022:

  • Clearly outline roles and responsibilities from day 1

Though a clearly defined onboarding process is key to keeping an employee engaged during the early stages of their employment, many businesses don’t have a repeatable strategy for explaining the roles and responsibilities of the position. In a remote environment, this can easily lead to confusion – help new hires get established and give your firm a clear competitive advantage.

  • Promote collaboration and team culture

You might not have a watercooler for your employees to gather around or a conference room for them to share ideas in, but thanks to recent developments in cloud infrastructure and other collaborative technologies, virtual communication between remote teams has never been easier.

  • Check in often (but not too often!)

Employee burnout is a real thing. A whopping 95% of HR professionals cite employee burnout as a key retention factor. One of the best ways to offset this is by routinely checking in with your team and maintaining an open line of communication. With that said, you don’t want to overdo it – most remote workers appreciate a degree of autonomy and few are at their most productive when management is breathing down their neck.

  • Provide direction and praise good work

Employees thrive when they have a clear sense of purpose and are praised for performing their tasks and hitting their targets. This type of positive engagement is also key to keeping them engaged with your company and preventing attrition. By contrast, vague instructions and a lack of respect from management will nudge skilled employees towards the exit.

  • Be flexible with the schedule and PTO

Work life balance is important to remote workers. A few years back, Gallup published a study that said 54% of employees would switch jobs if the new position offered more flexible scheduling. Being flexible with your employees is a relatively inexpensive way to keep job satisfaction high.


One of the best ways to boost employee engagement is by implementing the right technology.


In the modern remote workplace environment, tech adoption is not an optional bonus, it’s a foundational component to your success. Everything, from the way you store and share data to the software you use to communicate and track projects, impacts the performance of your team. Cumbersome, outdated tech adds a degree of difficulty to everything listed above, while streamlined, user-friendly implementations have the opposite effect.

At Flugel, our experienced team of IT specialists knows what it takes to implement a cost-effective solution that works for remote employees and key company stakeholders alike. Schedule a free consultation and discover what’s possible for your team today.


Written by: Ximena Tarazona
General corrections and edition: Diego Woitasen