Posted on 28 August 2020 by Jane Theobald
10 ways to improve employee retention
Employee retention levels can make or break an organisation’s recruitment, employee development and employee contribution strategies. Businesses must differentiate between valuable staff members and those who fail to maximise their contribution. Sincere efforts must be made to deliver specific approaches for each of these groups in order to ensure that all employees are productive, happy and motivated, thereby reducing their desire for change.
What should your business do to improve employee retention? Here are 10 simple tips:
1. Create the right culture
Finding employees who will feel a strong affiliation with your company begins with creating an environment that attracts those employees to your brand in the first instance. Your company culture should mirror the type of individual you want to employ, whether you opt for a by-the-book, strict workplace or a more casual, laid-back atmosphere. Company culture has a deep influence on the type of staff within an organisation and whether they stay or leave. Create the right culture and find the right match.
2. Make the right hires
When interviewing applicants, try to uncover how interested or open they are in growing with your company rather than gaining experience for the sole purpose of career advancement through job-hopping. This requires the use of highly skilled interview techniques to ascertain true intentions; spotting these at this early stage is critical in avoiding disappointment further down the road. Partner with a professional search firm with expertise in your area of business to help you identify the right calibre of individual.
3. Offer excellent training and development
Companies expect their professionals to arrive fully trained and qualified. Yet not all are willing to make time or financial investment in helping them maintain or build upon those credentials. Providing comprehensive training demonstrates that you are taking their development and education seriously. Employees will view such investment favourably, which in turn helps improve employee satisfaction and buys loyalty, thereby improving retention. Ensure that you jointly reap the rewards of this training by identifying clear career development goals and pathways.
4. Provide feedback and guidance
Your employees should be fully aware of their roles and responsibilities and how they're performing against expectations. This is achieved by having a clear Job Description in place which includes SMART objectives against which performance can be evaluated. Regular performance reviews should encourage 360-degree dialogue and feedback. Minimising misunderstandings reduces confusion, disgruntlement and the risk of the employee embarking on a job search.
5. Offer Competitive rewards
It is important to competitively reward employees for achieving performance objectives. Attempting to minimise overall remuneration costs as a means to achieving budgetary targets could be a false economy, in particular when it results in top achievers seeking pastures new. The cost of replacing an employee can be as high as 50 per cent of annual salary which needs to be balanced against the prospect of a 10 to 20 per cent salary increase an employee could secure by jumping ship. A degree of commercial flex (within limits) is therefore required within an organisation’s overall HR and pay policies to retain top talent.
6. Balance your time
Managers often spend a disproportionate amount of time on employees who are struggling in their job roles, leaving the more able and talented ones feeling somewhat neglected and unsupported. Although many that fall into this latter group thrive on the autonomy this provides, the organisation must remain acutely aware that in the long term it can often lead to a build-up of resentment. Line managers must make an attempt to regularly let star employees know that their efforts aren't going unnoticed. Recognition comes in many forms; not just financial. Receiving acknowledgement and appreciation of achievement from key stakeholders within an organisation can be the key to ring-fencing its key business assets; its employees.
7. Have flexible expectations
Employees often express a preference for flexible working conditions. If you expect your star performers to answer their phones or complete work tasks after hours or at weekends, then you should be able to accommodate a degree of flexibility when it comes to working hours. The advantages of flexible working hours for employees include an improved work-life balance, greater autonomy and improved morale. But it’s important for employers to recognise the business benefits that flexible working programs offer too. It’s not just employees who stand to gain from such initiatives, as organisations can reduce costs, improve output and increase loyalty when schemes are implemented in the right way.
8. Offer flexible benefits
Businesses differ in size and employment budgets. Whilst you don't have to directly compete with larger companies with greater buying power on the likes of healthcare benefits, you could offer flexible benefits which do not require an extensive budget. This could, for example, include the ability to work from home on a flexible basis. A flexible benefits scheme can form an integral part of your reward strategy and should work in conjunction with your organisational goals and objectives. Introducing such a scheme will increase the perceived value of the reward package offered to employees, at no additional cost to the organisation.
9. Provide unique perks
The same applies for offering perks that don’t necessarily break the bank but set your company apart from competitors by being creative or unique. Some innovative companies offer perks such as free meals, resting pods, childcare vouchers, free or discounted VIP tickets to special events, subsidised transport or car parking, discounts at local retailers, restaurants, cinemas and gyms (the list is infinite). How can you develop and differentiate your benefits package to create real value for your employees?
10. Look in the mirror and be humble
Despite genuine efforts to make your company an attractive proposition to maximise employee retention, research indicates that employees tend to leave line managers, not companies. If you can cultivate an environment where employees feel they are being listened to, rewarded and gratified, you'll already be ahead of the game. Line managers need to be positive role models and directly connect with their employees in order to better understand their drivers and motivators. Are your line managers doing everything they can to improve employee retention?