The level of trust between employees and employers has decreased dramatically in recent years. With 51% of employees actively looking for other job opportunities, organizations stand to lose $11 billion annually due to employee turnover.

To thrive, an organization needs to be able to attract, hire, and retain top talent. Employee happiness can make or break a company's success. This reliance on employee happiness for positive company performance translates to a need for employees to be valued accordingly by their employers.

We take pride in the fact that Rocketrip has been named one of Crain's Best Places to Work for two consecutive years. Our employees' happiness and the culture we foster are paramount to us--we celebrate birthdays in the office with gusto, volunteer together to give back to the community, bond during employee outings, and welcome dogs in the office on Fridays.

Characteristics like these put companies on the map. They create an environment where employees thrive and feel excited to come to work, and in turn motivate employees to stay with the company long-term. This employee-centric culture that fosters autonomy and camaraderie is essential to our success, and there's a lot that goes into hiring and retaining the best talent to contribute to it.

Here are a few key elements I find successful when it comes to finding and retaining the incredible people that make up Rocketrip:

Look for intellectually curious individuals

As a company, we are defining a category in our industry, which means the answers aren't always there. Hiring employees who have an innate drive to take ownership of their role, regardless of level, is essential to our success. We want people who are going to go above and beyond merely solving immediate issues by seeking out the "why" and "how" of a problem to find long-term solutions.

For our team to be the best it can be, we need people who can balance being a collaborator in a supporting role but aren't afraid to step into the driver's seat on a project. We want our employees to feel empowered and part of a team, like they own a part of the company. As owners, when we identify an opportunity to enhance the business we have an obligation to speak up, whether it's pointing out a weakness of a peer or in a process.

Find top talent through referral networks

We rely heavily on our employees to be ambassadors and refer quality talent within their networks. We encourage referrals through a referral bonus program, which has produced a significant amount of internal referrals.

Once we attract the attention of potential candidates, it's important to give them the opportunity to connect with our company on an internal level. To build our employer brand, we spent a day with The Daily Muse, which gave candidates a feel for life at Rocketrip by featuring our company and several employees. Through this initiative, several candidates reached out and were able to connect with our featured employees ahead of their interviews.

Be transparent during salary negotiations

Salary expectations can be a dicey topic for both employer and employee. At Rocketrip, we are clear early on in our conversations with job candidates regarding their salary expectations. We don't let salary expectations come up halfway through the interview process.

When a potential candidate is hired, we have already established a benchmark for our relationship with them that aligns with our culture of building trust and open communication.

Promote from within, but not without exceptions

Is it better to promote from within, or bring in outside talent? Ideally, we love promoting from within. It's always important for managers to keep a strong pulse on up-and-coming internal talent and open up those conversations when opportunities arise.

However, forcing a fit where one doesn't exist isn't productive for the employee or the business. As we continue to grow, we know that hiring specialists who are experts in their respective fields is advantageous. If we can't find that match in-house, we will look to outside talent.

Prevent turnover with a meaningful company culture

We ensure that our employees have access to the right opportunities at Rocketrip and support their individual goals. If an employee is thinking about making a career change, we encourage them to communicate openly with their direct manager, HR, or myself.

If an employee expresses the desire to leave the company, I meet with them to understand the root of the problem, if there's anything we could be doing better, and if there's anything that would change or sway their decision.

We believe our employees value a company culture of autonomy and empowerment more than they do the novelty of perks. Our culture plays a vital role in the way the way we are able to recruit, hire, and retain our employees.