The hiring process is only the start of creating a strong workforce. Once acquired, you have to keep them. High employee turnover costs businesses in time and productivity. Try the following tactics to retain your employees.

1. Mentorship programs that pair a new employee with a mentor is a great way for on-boarding. New team members can learn the ropes from a veteran with a wealth of resources, and the new hire offers a fresh viewpoint to experienced staff. Mentors shouldn’t be working supervisors, but they can offer guidance and be a sounding board for newcomers.

2. Your employees have needs, it is your responsibility to try to meet those needs. Offer a competitive benefits package that fits your employees’ needs. Some examples include providing health insurance, life insurance and a retirement-savings plan. Other perks, such as flextime and the option of telecommuting, go a long way to show employees you are willing to accommodate their outside lives.

3. Perks need not be extraordinary. Small perks such as free bagels on Fridays or dry-cleaning pickup and delivery may seem insignificant to some, but if they help the employee better manage his/her life, they’ll appreciate it and may be more likely to remain on the job.

4. Contests and similar incentives help keep workers motivated and feeling rewarded. Done right, these kinds of programs can keep employees focused and excited about their jobs.

5. Performing exit interviews help to identify areas of improvement to consider to identify why employees are leaving. Changes in these areas might prevent employees from leaving. Why wait? Conducting “stay interviews” can give insight into what is being done correctly. This knowledge can lead to convincing employees to at least getting employees to open up and discuss staying as opposed to leaving. Ask questions such as: Why did you come to work here? Why have you stayed? What would make you leave? And what are your nonnegotiable issues? What about your managers? It’s been said that employees leave managers and not jobs. What would you change or improve management? Use that information to strengthen your employee-retention strategies.

6. Promotions from within demonstrate what is possible if an employee stays on the job. Show employees a clear path of advancement. Without being shown the way, employees will become frustrated and may stop trying if they see no clear future for themselves at your company.

7. Provide employee development. Provide training employees on the job to learn a new job skill or offer tuition assistance to help further their education.

8. Promote open communication between management and employees. Hold regular meetings in which employees can offer ideas and ask questions. Have a REAL open-door policy. One that encourages employees to speak frankly with their managers without fear of reprisal.

9. Get your managers involved. Assign requisites for your managers to spend time coaching employees, helping good performers move to new and more responsible positions and increase good performance.

10. Assure that your employees know and understand your business’s mission. With that “inside information”, an employee will feel more connected to the organization’s goals. This is one way to keep your employees mentally and emotionally tied to your company.

11. Consider offering stock options or other financial awards for employees who meet performance goals and stay for a predetermined time; three to five years or more. Provide meaningful annual raises. Nothing discourages an employee more than a paltry raise. If affordable, you might consider awarding more to your top performers. This might create competition among the population. If large permanent increases are too much of a burden, create a bonus structure. Employees can earn an annual bonus if they meet pre-specified performance goals.

12. As basic as it may seem, set expectations so that employees won’t have to guess what their deliverables are. Make sure employees know what you expect of them. If they don’t know exactly what their jobs entail and what you need from them, they can’t perform up to standard.

13. If your company is nearing 100 employees, consider hiring a human-resources director to oversee and streamline your employee structure and processes. Putting one person in charge of managing employee benefits, perks, reviews and related tasks takes a huge load off of management and makes sure employees are treated fairly.