By the time your top talent is in an exit interview, it's too late to determine what could have been done differently. But, how you react to the situation can make all the difference.

A new survey by the Society for Human Resource Management and Globoforce discovered that 40 percent of human resource professionals cite employee turnover/retention as their top organizational challenge. Employee retention does not rely solely on recognition and engagement, but requires an assortment of key elements.

Apply these four strategies to jump-start your employee retention plan today.

1. Hiring strategy — think culture

An organization's hiring strategy should be at the forefront of its retention plan, and company culture is a vital piece of the equation. During the hiring process, be transparent on what the company values are and how the company operates, so you can decide if the candidate is a good fit. Determining this information now will save you time and money in the future.

"Now more than ever, companies are focusing on culture as a competitive differentiator," said Eric Mosley, CEO of Globoforce.

2. Career path

It's easy to fall into the trap of believing more money equals happy employees. However, a new survey by Randstand US cites a lack of career path is the No. 1 reason employees left their jobs in the past 12 months.

Employees want and feed off direction — especially millennials. Once employees are hired, establish a definitive career path for them early on. Encourage goal setting and regular follow-ups.

3. Create a learning environment

Large companies spend millions on employee training programs. However, not investing in the development of employees can cost even more.

Provide employees the opportunity to learn beyond the skills they have acquired themselves. Showing interest in their success will provide purpose and empower them in their roles.

Not sure where to begin? Ask these questions:

  • Where is improvement needed?
  • What do employees want offered?
  • What can be taught to improve skill and productivity?

4. Recognition

Just as employees crave direction, they thrive when recognized. It's no secret recognition improves employee engagement, which leads to happier employees who stick around longer.

"Appreciate everything your associates do for the business," Sam Walton, the founder of Wal-Mart, once said. "Nothing else can quite substitute for a few well-chosen, well-timed, sincere words of praise. They're absolutely free and worth a fortune."

Open your eyes to the talent of your team, and unlock a new level of engagement. Keep these guidelines top of mind when implementing a recognition program:

  • Set criteria for recognition: Reward based on specific results.
  • Use peer-to-peer recognition: Recognition must not always come from top-down.
  • Get creative: Avoid stagnancy by changing up the program and reward system.
  • Remain unbiased: Reward all personality types, not just those who squeak the loudest.
  • Lead by example: This tried-and-true method delivers desired results.

As your business moves forward in 2015, take a moment and review your plan to reduce employee turnover. By incorporating the four strategies listed, you'll create loyal employees who contribute to the long-term success of the company.