Employee retention is one of the most important—and most overlooked—facets of running a successful company. Retaining your top talent is essential for maintaining organisational culture, high morale, satisfied customers, and even sales growth.
It’s every manager’s nightmare: One of your best employees quits out of the blue. There and then, you face a number of challenges to tackle on top of your daily responsibilities.
Not only do you have to find a replacement for such a talented team member — no small feat when talent is in high demand, as it is today — but you also have to consider how this departure will impact the rest of your staff.
Whenever someone walks out the door, people notice. Some will even start wondering if they too should start looking for a new job. That’s why employee retention and employee job satisfaction should be high on every organisation’s list of priorities, and why creating effective retention strategies to decrease turnover should be one of management’s most important jobs.
A staff retention strategy is necessary in any organisation in order to:
- keep employee turnover low;
- boost morale in the ranks, and;
- keep overall employee costs down.
Here is how you can go about creating an effective staff retention strategy.
Just as in private personal relationships, professional relationships benefit a lot from proper communication. In your interactions with your employees, let them know that they are valued and that their contributions are highly appreciated.
As a boss, you shouldn’t just pay lip service when your staff brings up any challenges they are facing. Tell them precisely what’s going on and what you are going to do about it. Being clear in your communication will ensure that your employees are more inclined to stay on with an honest boss.
Setting reasonable goals for the staff
Another excellent facet of a good staff retention strategy is setting goals for your employees —goals that they can achieve. What this does is give the staff a target to always aim for. Without these kinds of performance gauges, your employees will feel like they have lost direction.
Once that floating feeling sets in, they are likely to want a change of employment scenery just to see what else is there. However, with these set goals, there is always something to look forward to — a new challenge to tackle, and yet one not so big it overwhelms and crushes them.
One way to onboard your new hires effectively is pairing a new employee with a mentor. 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 work supervisors, but they can offer guidance and be a sounding board for newcomers, welcoming them into the company culture.
Recognition and rewards systems
Every person wants to feel appreciated for what they do. Make it a habit to thank your employees when they go the extra mile, whether it’s with a sincere email, a gift card or an extra day off.
Show your employees how much you appreciate them, and share how their hard work helps the organisation. It helps your staff retention strategy, and makes the team happier – a double win!
What message is your company culture sending? If staff are expected to regularly work long hours and be at your beck and call, you are likely to suffer employee retention issues. Burnout is real. A healthy work-life balance is essential, and people need to know that management understands its importance.
Encourage staff to take vacation time, and if late nights are necessary to wrap up a project, see if you can offer late arrivals or an extra day off to compensate and increase job satisfaction. Many companies offer telecommuting or flexible schedules to improve work-life balance for their employees.
Training and development
In any position and industry, professionals want the possibility for advancement. Smart managers invest in their workers’ professional development and seek opportunities for them to grow. Enable this in your staff retention strategy.
Ask each of your direct reports about both their short and long-term goals to determine how you can help achieve them. Some companies pay for employees to attend conferences or industry events each year, or provide tuition reimbursement or continuing education training.
Keep an eye on your managers
People leave managers, not companies. Ever ask people about the jobs they hate and the reasons they left? Chances are pretty good that one of the first things you’ll hear is griping about a manager or boss, not the products, the customers, or other co-workers.
People follow as they are led, and a bad manager creates a negative mess all around. Therefore, while you’re taking the time to train your manager to deal with the technical aspects of their positions, it’s in your best interest to include some soft skills as well.
This means teaching your managers how to encourage and motivate different types of people, personality traits, conflict management, stress management, crisis management, and so on.
Be a brand they can be proud of outside work
This is an age of activism, with millennials and Gen Z’s who want every aspect of their lives to be part of a solution instead of a problem.
This is why it’s essential to be a business known for the positives, and famous for your involvement and support of things like charities and social movements, the local community and global issues such as environment, education, or equality.
Find a way that your business can fit such a reputation. Employees who are passionate and care about the impact their lives have on the world will work harder and be more loyal to your organisation.
Your employees are the cornerstone of your business, being able to make or break your company. If you have a good set, it is vital that you keep them so that your business can continue to flourish.
You, therefore, need to be able to implement an effective staff retention strategy that will enable you to keep hold of one of — if not the — most important asset of your business.