Throughout 2021, about 47.4 million Americans voluntarily quit their jobs.1 This high quit rate has come to be known as “the Great Resignation.” The result of this mass exodus from several organizations have left companies struggling to pick up the slack, attract new talent and do what they can to boost employee retention. To help avoid falling victim to the negative impact of turnover, it’s important for businesses to put in extra effort to maximize employee experience and satisfaction.
The repercussions of ongoing employee turnover can have serious implications on your business’ longevity and overall success. Replacing employees can be expensive, time consuming and even damaging to your company’s reputation. To help you reduce the negative effects of turnover, consider the following effective employee retention strategies.
Try not to make assumptions about how your employees feel within their roles at your organization. Instead, conduct regular feedback conversations to gain insight into how you can retain employees by improving their experience. Soliciting feedback involves asking employees for their opinion in order to create a better workplace environment. You can get feedback using engagement surveys throughout the year, anytime an employee approaches management with an issue, through exit surveys and even during employee onboarding. Not only does this help increase organizational efficiency, it communicates to employees that you’re invested in their success and are willing to make changes to improve their work life. When employees feel their voices are heard, they tend to be happier, which may lead to an increase in productivity.
Your employees are one of your company’s greatest assets, which is why you need to be strategic about who you hire. Try to align your talent acquisition efforts with your long-term business strategy and find individuals who will thrive within your company culture. By identifying prospective employees who resonate with your company, you can increase the chances of building a team that will stay and commit to your organization as it continues to grow. Look for people who are aligned with your company’s mission, vision and values to further increase the likelihood of retention.
When looking at potential candidates, it’s also important to look at their longevity in previous roles. Research companies they’ve worked at to determine if the organization experienced both ups and downs during their employment. If so, you may be looking at a person who values loyalty. Employees who stay at one company for longer periods of time tend to do so because they’re happy within their role.2 This has the potential to increase productivity. Therefore, it’s important to consider your business strategy and long-term goals when hiring new talent.
While retention begins the moment an employee joins a new company, their first true interaction with the company is during the onboarding process. From this moment on, it’s important to take action to boost retention. Try to set new hires up for success from the very beginning by incorporating a people-centric onboarding approach. When making an offer, use the opportunity to once again discuss the role and benefits package and answer any questions. You might also consider sending company swag to help them feel welcomed and included in the organization. Before they even begin, new hires should know logistics, their agenda and a contact team for their first day on the job.
On an employee’s first day, their manager should make the proper introductions to their team and necessary colleagues. By holding a lunch or a virtual gathering, you can foster inclusion from the very beginning. HR teams may also want to designate new hires with a “buddy” to help them connect with teammates and answer any questions that come up. By the end of the first day, they should feel welcomed and comfortable interacting with their team, understand communication systems and have some knowledge on company activities.
Throughout the rest of the first week, new employees should understand the company business, their role within their team and how they contribute to the company’s success. They should also have a 1:1 check-in with their manager to provide and receive feedback. After the first month of onboarding, new employees should be immersed in their team’s work and feel confident that they can make valuable contributions. They should also feel comfortable enough within their role to ask for help. This type of people-centric onboarding can set employees up for success and boost retention rates for employees working on-site as well as those working remotely.
Organizational culture can have a large impact on employee retention rates. The more comfortable an individual feels within their environment, the more likely they are to stay and commit to their role. It’s important to foster an inclusive culture where people can bring their authentic selves to work every day. To achieve this, cultivate an environment where people can speak up about their challenges or struggles. This can help individuals feel less pressured to be perfect and more comfortable sharing their experiences with teammates, which can result in more effective solutions. Inclusive language should also be used to avoid unconscious bias and any type of potential discrimination within your organization should be promptly addressed in a compliant process and taken seriously. You should be an ally for diversity and amplify marginalized voices, even when it seems difficult.
Employee recognition is one of the easiest ways to help boost retention rates. When individuals feel their efforts are noticed, they may feel more motivated and productivity levels can increase. However, not all employees like to be recognized in the same way. By taking the time to ask employees how they prefer to be recognized for their hard work, you’ll provide customized feedback while showing each team member that you’re invested in their happiness at the company. This shows your employees that you’re paying attention to what they do and you appreciate their hard work. Employee recognition can be used for individuals who meet or exceed their goals, make suggestions for improvements or for any other behaviors you want to reinforce. It can be given publicly or privately, by high-level executives, direct managers or colleagues.
The benefits package you offer your employees should be competitive and comprehensive. Since almost six in 10 employees consider health benefits as the most important non-salary related factor when choosing a company3, it’s something you should give serious consideration. For smaller companies without deep resources, a professional employment organization (PEO) can help provide access to attractive benefits to your employees. This includes both traditional and non-traditional benefits, which are becoming increasingly important to employees, especially as the cost of living continues to rise. Some unique, voluntary benefits that you may want to explore include pre-job paid vacation, work/life balance programs, childcare, pet care, tutoring, tuition reimbursement, language courses and more.4
Companies should invest in their employees to help communicate their worth. This can help boost retention rates, employee satisfaction and long-term productivity. In fact, in a Workplace Learning Survey conducted by LinkedIn, 94% of employees said they would stay at a company longer if it invested in their learning and development.5
This should include programs that help boost employee development, additional educational material and time off for programs that support employee needs. Luckily, with advancements in technology, growth and development can happen from anywhere. This has led to a shift towards more self-directed and continuous learning opportunities that are unique and based off individual creativity or passion. Some ideas include offering various format types for educational materials to boost engagement and recall, utilizing one-on-one or group coaching, job shadowing, mentoring programs, social platforms, on-demand resources, networking groups and more. Company investment can also take the form of integrating a holiday calendar that recognizes diversity among their workforce.
Another way to invest in your employees is to cultivate pathways for internal job mobility. By providing the chance for upward growth, employees may be more likely to stay within their role and commit to their work. If there are no chances for internal advancement, it’s likely that employees will begin searching for the next step in their career in other organizations. To help cultivate these pathways, offer ongoing training, education, career pathing, skill building, mentorships, internships and plenty of opportunities to work cross-functionally.
When people feel connected, heard and engaged, they tend to be more committed to a long-term role. That’s why creating an optimal employee experience that considers what’s important to employees can drastically reduce turnover rates. Some ways to achieve this include offering remote work within the U.S. or hybrid work solutions, unique or differentiated perks that coincide with what employees want, initiatives that support mental health, an expansive wellness program and volunteer opportunities that bring colleagues together and coincide with the organization’s mission. To help improve company culture for remote workers, help your employees set up a home office with equipment that allows them to stay ergonomically healthy and in an inclusive environment with their colleagues.
Finally, consider offering your employees flexible work schedules. Workplace flexibility is the option for employees to work over the course of non-defined periods of time. This reduces the strict adherence to traditional business hours and instead, allows individuals to customize their working hours to better fit their schedules and other responsibilities. By allowing flexible start and stop times, organizations can improve work/life balance—and may even see an increase in productivity rates.
Retaining employees in today’s competitive market can be an uphill battle, but when you utilize some of the strategies above, you can help boost employee satisfaction and increase long-term loyalty. To help you create a stronger employee experience, TriNet offers full-service HR solutions to SMBs across various industries.