Employee Retention Strategies That'll Save Your Most Valuable Resources

December 4, 2023
Employee Retention Strategies

Voluntary employee turnover is incredibly expensive, costing businesses in the U.S. some $1 trillion per year, according to a Gallup report. Businesses are much better off if they take steps to retain their current employees rather than replace them. Those who understand this tend to focus on employee retention strategies for preventative measure.

A conservative cost estimate for replacing an employee is between one-half and twice the amount of the employee’s annual salary. However, the harm done to companies by excessive turnover goes beyond the expenses directly related to recruiting and training replacements. With every departing employee, the company may lose valuable skills, historic knowledge and a reliable source on which it depended.

Company culture, employee morale and team cohesiveness all take a hit when employees leave. There’s a loss of productivity while new replacements learn their jobs. Work quality drops. One study found a direct relationship between higher turnover and an increased rate of defective products.

A company’s reputation can also suffer when word gets out that it has high attrition rates. And, whatever unaddressed issues made employees want to quit can affect their performance long before they actually go.

If high turnover rates were an inevitable part of doing business, you could just shrug your shoulders and do nothing. But that’s not the case. Gallup found that more than half of the employees who left their jobs said their employers could have done something to prevent them from leaving. There’s a lot you can do to help your company hold on to your good employees. This article will show you how.

Why do good employees quit?

Today’s competitive job market makes it easier for employees to leave their companies. Factors include:

  • Expanding opportunities. Workers used to be limited to jobs physically close to where they lived. Opportunities have expanded with the rise in remote work, telecommuting and online communications.
  • Easily available education options. Learning new skills is more convenient than it used to be, thanks to the many options for remote learning.
  • Social justice perception. Employees who don’t feel valued are more likely now to leave than they used to be.

Top reasons employees stay with a company long-term

Even though it's become easier for employees to leave their companies, there are still many reasons employees choose to stay. Your employee retention efforts should be focused on the following objectives:

  • Culture and work environment. A Glassdoor survey found that 77% of workers say that they consider a company's workplace culture before applying there. Younger workers, especially, make workplace culture a priority.
  • Purpose and meaning. Workers who feel they are part of something bigger than themselves are more likely to stay.
  • Recognition and appreciation. Employees whose managers provide frequent and meaningful recognition and appreciation feel pride and ownership in their work. Feeling like a most valuable asset to the company, they're more likely to stay and be highly productive.
  • Training and development. Companies that give employees opportunities to learn and develop their skills keep employees from leaving to seek opportunities elsewhere.
  • Pay, benefits and internal promotions. Comprehensive benefits packages are of particular interest to today’s employees. Providing clear avenues for internal advancement helps companies retain employees.
  • Work-life balance. In an American Psychological Association survey, 67% of workers reporting a lack of work-life balance said their work environment had a negative impact on their mental health. Companies that address this issue can strengthen employee satisfaction.

Strategies for employee retention

Now, let's look at techniques companies can use to boost retention. Effective employee retention strategies include:

Stay interviews

Stay interviews are an instrument HR and management professionals use to retain talent. The opposite of an exit interview, a stay interview involves talking to current employees to discuss their job satisfaction. Stay interviews can uncover issues that may be corrected before an employee decides to jump ship. In the short term, stay interviews reduce churn. In the long term, they underscore the value you place on workers.

As you plan your stay interviews, start with your top performers. Then look at the staff members who will be most difficult to replace. Structured interviews with predetermined questions help managers remain on topic. That way they can discover and enhance areas of satisfaction and uncover areas where issues exist.

Sample questions include:

  • Are you happy here?
  • What are the best and worst parts of your job?
  • Do you see yourself here for the next few years? Why or why not?
  • How can we help you achieve your career goals?
  • What can the company do to make you feel more valued?

After a stay interview, you should act on the information you collected. If employees have raised honest, legitimate concerns that are actionable, take steps to correct them immediately. If they ask for something outside your power to implement, tell them you’ll discuss issues with higher levels of management to try to resolve them.

Employee surveys

Competitive salary and employee benefits are certainly powerful motivators. Compensation ranks high among retention strategies that prevent employees from looking for a new job. But don’t forget about their emotional needs. The satisfaction that someone derives from their work has an enormous impact on whether they stay or leave a company.

The challenge for the employer is to determine the kind of emotional rewards that will resonate with the employee base. Because these will vary depending on the job function of employees and their industries, confidential employee surveys provide actionable company-specific insights.

Feedback conversations and engagement surveys can also be used throughout the year. They should be conducted any time an employee approaches management with an issue. Also incorporate them into the onboarding process.

Aligning talent acquisition with business strategy

When embarking on the hiring process, think beyond the immediate needs of the role you are trying to fill. Focus instead on finding new employees who will help your company fulfill its mission long-term. Understand your company’s goals, and convey them clearly in your job descriptions. Broaden your search for job candidates, and don't overlook your current team. Encourage employees to apply within and to make referrals as well.

People-centric onboarding program

It's never too early to focus on fostering employee engagement. Start with your job offer, when you can discuss the role and benefits package and answer any questions. Providing company swag can help new hires feel welcome and included in the organization. Make sure they understand logistics and their agenda and that they have a contact before their first day. When they start, their manager should introduce them to their team, perhaps over lunch or at a virtual gathering. Also, pair new hires with a “buddy” to help them connect with teammates and acclimate to the workplace.

Inclusive culture

To improve morale and boost employee retention, pay attention to organizational culture. Cultivate an environment where people can voice their challenges or struggles. Use inclusive language to avoid the perception of unconscious bias. Any potential discrimination within your organization should be promptly addressed and taken seriously. Be an ally for diversity.

Employee recognition

Not all employees like to be recognized in the same way. Take the time to learn how they prefer to be recognized for their hard work. That way, you can provide customized feedback while showing team members that you’re invested in their happiness at the company.

Recognition programs should be tailored to your workforce to reward achievements and behaviors you want to reinforce. You can deploy company-wide recognition initiatives and also make individual gestures in one-on-one meetings.

Competitive benefits package

Offering competitive benefits of both the traditional and non-traditional type is a highly effective employee retention strategy. Do your best to align with or surpass industry compensation standards. Dress up the traditional package with non-traditional benefits such as work-life balance programs, childcare, pet care, tutoring and tuition reimbursement.

Employee growth and development

To attract top talent, your organization's ability to offer different formats for educational and leadership skills programs is imperative. These could include one-on-one or group coaching, job shadowing, mentoring programs, social platforms, on-demand resources or networking groups. Cultivate pathways for internal job mobility, such as ongoing training, education, skill building, mentorships, internships and opportunities to work cross-functionally.

Employee experience

Many employees prefer to work on-site. For others, the option to work remotely or in hybrid work arrangements is a key factor in their employee experience.

Other ways to improve employee experience include providing benefits that promote physical and mental well-being. Also consider volunteer opportunities that bring colleagues together and align with the organization’s mission.

To improve the employee experience of remote workers, help them set up their home offices with ergonomic equipment. Take advantage of technology to facilitate a more inclusive environment among colleagues.

Flexible work arrangements

Flexible scheduling is high on the wish list for employees seeking better work-life balance. To make flexible hours work for everyone, be clear about what is expected. Provide ways for employees, managers and direct reports to communicate despite shifty schedules. Try to arrange company meetings at mutually agreeable times so that employees feel included in the company's culture.

Help with employee retention

Improving your company’s ability to retain good employees is crucial. It can also be a challenge.

TriNet can help with human resource management, expertise and solutions for increased employee retention and more. For example:

  • Performance management tools to help align employee and company goals and provide real-time feedback.
  • Learning management to provide targeted and efficient online professional development.
  • Leadership skills training to build motivation and encourage best HR practices.

You don’t have to take on this important challenge alone. Speak with a TriNet representative today to learn more about HR support to suit your business goals.

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