Employee retention is a crucial issue for every HR department out there as companies’ competition for talent in today’s business environment grows. We reveal five methods to increase it.
Employee turnover is increasingly expensive for organisations thanks to the reduced workplace productivity, lower employee engagement, staff training costs and interruption of company culture.
Organisations have a lot to gain from paying adequate attention (in terms of time and investment) to employee retention: performance, productivity, employee morale and quality of work all improve.
An organisation that focuses on improving employee retention gets to keep highly talented and motivated employees who truly enjoy being part of it and are determined to help it achieve its mission and goals.
Keep in mind that employees are, and will always be, your organisation’s most valuable asset so it is they who have the power to make or break it. Here are the top 5 ways to improve employee retention.
Hire the right people in the first place
The first step to retaining employees is hiring the right ones from the get-go. Selecting the job candidates who have the right skills for your open position is a no-brainer but what most companies forget to pay enough attention to is how well these candidates fit in with the company culture.
Employees who don’t fit in with your company culture and workplace traditions won’t be happy, will fail to get along with their co-workers, and will soon feel lonely. No matter how skilled they are, it’s only a matter of time before they leave the job to find another that’s more comfortable for their personality.
This is why behaviour tests should be a core part of your screening process such that you only hire employees who are not only strong matches for the job but also great cultural fits for the company. Behaviour tests basically entail questions on how a candidate would react in certain circumstances.
It’s also important to show job candidates around your workplace during interviews and share with them as much as you can about your company culture such that those who don’t fit in have ample time and opportunity to eliminate themselves rather than having to find out later after committing to the job.
Give them great pay and benefits
Don’t forget the primary reason why people come to work: to make money. People have bills to pay and dreams to chase. If you don’t pay your employees well, best believe they will find another company will.
Doing ample market research on wages is key to figuring out the right compensation for your employees – what are your local competitors willing to pay for the same level of talent that you are employing?
However, healthy pay cheques are not enough – employees want great benefits, too. Once again, market research is important for determining what competitive benefits you should give your employees.
These should be based on what benefits your industry competitors and other businesses operating in your locality are offering.
Some of the most attractive benefits in Australia today include flexible working arrangements, extra superannuation, unlimited leave, professional development, insurance/finance discounts, lease car, additional paid parental leave, health/wellness programs and free food and coffee machines.
Recognise, praise and celebrate their efforts
As highly social creatures, we human beings love to be validated. This is why regular performance feedback along with encouragement and recognition for great efforts is very important to employees. People need to know that what they are doing matters, makes a difference and is not going unnoticed.
It doesn’t have to be fireworks and champagne all the time: a simple “thank you” will suffice for small, everyday tasks. When they finish a big, difficult project or beat a given deadline, you can go beyond that with a mention at the next meeting or perhaps a prize. The key is to show them that you see their effort.
Also remember to mark and celebrate employee milestones (both in their work and personal lives, such as job anniversaries and birthdays) in order to make them feel like they really belong at your company. The goal is to create a motivating work environment where employees feel valued, seen and wanted.
Make their career path clear and help them walk it
Most employees want to improve their job skills and push their career forward. When employees feel stagnant in a job, like their career is not going anywhere any time soon, they start to look for another job with more promise of advancement.
Showing employees a realistic, projected career path is so important for improving employee retention because it gives them a sense of direction and purpose.
You should show your employees how their career can progress from their current position, be it an upward or lateral move. There’s also the option of assigning more responsibility to their current position as they improve their skills. The key thing is for your employees to know exactly how they can advance.
You should help employees advance along their career path once you have made it clear. Provide them with coaching and training opportunities to learn and practice new skills, technologies and processes. You can also help them pay for outside courses and sponsor their attendance of industry workshops.
Investing in your employees’ education is a great way to improve employee retention because it makes them feel valued and earns their loyalty by showing them that you’re willing to invest in their growth.
You should also provide employees opportunities to share and sharpen their knowledge by training and mentoring their junior co-workers. This not only helps them also learn more as they teach others but also greatly improves the team spirit and camaraderie in the workplace which boosts performance.
Be transparent and open with them
Transparency is one of the most effective ways to improve employee retention even though many organisation leaders are afraid of. Be open with your employees about how well your company is performing compared to its goals and be clear with them about what needs to be improved.
Leaders who speak candidly to employees on such topics show their employees that they are deeply respected. Employees shouldn’t have to find out developments (good or bad) about the company from the news.
Whenever you can, involve employees in decisions that affect their jobs and the general direction of the company. Get their input on company vision, mission, values, and goals.
This way, they can really own them and believe in them rather than treating them as formalities they see hanging on the wall or mere email directives they receive from the top of the corporate ladder with no regard for their contributions.
Regular meetings (once or twice a month) with managers in which employees get to share ideas and ask questions are a great way to create transparent and open communication.
It’s also key to have an ”open-door policy” that empowers employees to speak honestly with their managers about whatever issues they may face in doing their job, without any fear of suffering retribution and/or ostracisation.
The modern business world is far too competitive for your company to not focus on employee retention because top talent is in great demand. If you aren’t making deliberate efforts to make your employees happy, they will soon get stolen away.
However, improving employee retention doesn’t have to be difficult – with the five steps discussed above, you can keep your best talent for a long period of time.