You may have heard of the phrase ‘the Great Resignation’, which basically refers to a trend in today's job market that is seeing more and more employees quit their jobs. In fact, research has shown that nearly 60% of employees are already looking for a new job, or will be soon. So, what can you do to keep your employees happy and stop them from leaving? In this article, we'll outline some key employee retention strategies to reduce employee turnover and keep your team motivated. And we aren’t just talking about offering competitive compensation or social opportunities!
What is employee retention?
Employee retention is defined as the ability of an organisation to keep its employees. It is a strategic human resource management practice that aims to create and maintain a positive work environment that encourages employees to stay with the company for the long term.
Why employee retention is important
There are many reasons why employee retention is important. For one, it costs a lot of money to replace an employee. It can cost up to 150% of that person's salary to find and train a replacement. In addition, losing employees can negatively impact morale, and it can disrupt the workflow as other employees have to pick up the slack. Plus, think about the message it sends to your clients. If they can see that you can’t retain the same employees they’ve been communicating with, it may make them question your ability to handle their accounts properly.
Tips for putting together an employee retention strategy
Now you're probably wondering, how do I put together an employee retention strategy? Here are a few tips:
1. Conduct exit interviews
If you find yourselves struggling to retain employees, the first place to start would be to conduct exit interviews. This can be a short meeting in which you discuss with your departing employees, the reasons they are leaving and if they can offer you any feedback. This will give you some insight into why your employees are leaving and what, if anything, you can do to prevent it from happening in the future. For example, if you find that employees are leaving because they feel overworked, you might consider hiring additional staff to help lighten the load. Once you have an idea of what is leading to employee turnover, you can put strategies in place to address these issues and in turn, improve employee retention.
2. Work on company culture
Lack of company culture is often one of the leading reasons for high turnover. If employees don't feel like they belong or fit in, they're much more likely to leave. It's important to build a company culture that makes employees feel comfortable and valued. Start by ensuring that your values are clear and communicated to everyone in the company. Whilst everyone likes company benefits and social events, these things do not define good culture. Instead, focus on creating an environment where people feel like they can be themselves, where they are challenged and where they feel supported by colleagues, management and key stakeholders.
3. Foster a team environment
When people feel like they are working towards a common goal, they are more likely to be engaged and motivated. Encourage collaboration between departments and teams, and make sure everyone knows how their work contributes to the company's success. You can also create opportunities for employees to interact with each other, whether that's through team-building exercises, social activities, or even collaborative projects. Finally, another way to emphasise the importance of teamwork is with uniforms, such as branded caps, jumpers or even t-shirts. When staff are given company apparel or corporate gifts, they are made to feel part of the team, and this sense of togetherness can go a long way.
4. Give your staff added responsibility
Giving your staff added responsibilities shows that you trust their abilities and that you value their contribution to the company. It also helps to keep them engaged in their work. Encouraging your staff to grow their abilities demonstrates that you value them and their future with the company, which helps with employee retention. When staff are not given enough responsibility, they can become bored and disinterested in their work. If you want engaged employees who want to show up to work every day, you need to provide enough opportunities for extra responsibility.
Many employers are afraid to give their staff too much responsibility because they think it will lead to mistakes being made. However, if you trust your staff and give them the opportunity to make mistakes, they will learn from them and become better employees as a result. Plus, you’ll likely boost employee engagement and job satisfaction in the process.
5. Don't forget about professional development
If your employees feel like they're stuck in a rut at work, it's only natural that they will start to look for other job opportunities. By offering professional development opportunities, you can show your staff that you value their future in the company, which can help boost employee retention. This will also help staff feel more engaged with their work and less likely to look for other jobs with more professional development opportunities. You can do this by providing ongoing education relevant to their field, offering mentorship programs, and even giving them opportunities to network and attend conferences or industry events.
6. Encourage work/life balance
A healthy work/life balance is important for all employees, but it can be especially difficult to maintain when working in a high-pressure environment. Encourage your staff to take time off when they need it and to use their vacation days. You might also consider offering flexible work hours which is something many companies now offer as standard. When work/life balance is low, it can lead to burnout which is one of the main reasons why employees leave their jobs. So when researching employee retention strategies, it’s important to incorporate work/life balance.
7. Make sure you show your employees appreciation
It's important to show your employees that you appreciate their hard work. For example, if your team put in extra hours of overtime, let them know that you noticed and are grateful. This can be done in a number of ways, such as providing bonuses or raises, giving them paid time off, or simply thanking them for their efforts. When employees feel appreciated, they are more likely to be loyal to the company and less likely to look elsewhere for employment. Therefore, if employee retention is an issue, reflect on whether your employees are being shown the recognition they deserve.
8. Allow your employees to contribute ideas
In order to keep your employees engaged, you need to allow them to contribute their ideas and give them a voice within the company. When employees feel like they are valued and their opinions are heard, they are more likely to be satisfied with their job and less likely to look for other opportunities. Some examples of how you can do this are by holding regular meetings where employees can brainstorm and share their ideas, setting up an anonymous suggestion box, or even just encouraging employees to speak up and share their ideas with you or their managers during one-on-one meetings. If it is quite evident employee retention is an issue perhaps your employees may be able to provide some insight into this pain point?
9. Always provide feedback
Allow time for providing feedback to your employees, whether it is positive or negative. Employees need to know what they are doing well and what areas need improvement. Feedback shows that you are paying attention and that you care about their personal growth. It is also important to be clear and concise when giving feedback so that employees can understand what they need to work on, instead of holding high expectations without advice on how to improve. When openly communicating about job performance amongst your team, you are more likely to reduce employee turnover.
10. Review your onboarding process
When aiming to improve employee retention, you need to consider every step of the employee experience. The onboarding process is critical for setting new employees up for success. Make sure your onboarding program is thorough and covers everything from the company culture to the expectations for their role. By taking the time to properly onboard new hires, you can ensure that your new employee is more likely to stay with the company for the long term. It also shows that you value them earlier on, which can help create a strong bond between employer and employee.
Don’t lose your valuable employees
Employees are the backbone of any organisation, so it is important to keep them happy and engaged. By using some or all of the employee retention tips mentioned above and tailoring a strategy to your organisation, you can create a positive work environment that will help you retain your employees and improve job satisfaction. For more workplace tips, be sure to check out our blog section on our website.