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Rick Blabolil

17 Effective Employee Retention Strategies

In the spring of 2021, we entered what’s been termed the “Great Resignation,” with employees leaving their jobs in droves. This has been hard on employers, especially since replacing an employee can be costly. It’s estimated that losing an employee can cost an average of six to nine months of that employee’s salary.

With 41 percent of respondents in a recent survey currently looking or planning to look for a new job, it’s clear that something needs to be done. Businesses with effective employee retention strategies in place will be the ones to succeed in the coming years. Here, we offer some strategies for employee retention, to help you formulate a plan.

Before we talk about employee retention strategies, let’s pinpoint the reasons your employees might leave. Typically, when a worker leaves a job it’s because the compensation is inadequate, there’s limited room to advance, or there is a lack of recognition. He or she may feel overworked, unsupported, bored, or unhappy with management, or may be looking for a better work-life balance or even a more compelling job.

With these things in mind, employ the following tactics to hold onto your employees.

1.      Provide onboarding and orientation. Once you’ve chosen the right candidates, smooth their way by providing new hires with important information, not only about the job but also about the company culture. Give them information in manageable bites, making it easy for them to process. Tweak your onboarding process as you receive feedback from new employees, to continually make it better.

2.      Start mentorship programs. Build a mentor component into your onboarding, providing new employees with an experienced guide to smooth their way into the company. However, don’t end the mentorship once your new hires are acclimated. Pairing existing employees with mentors can be beneficial to everyone on an ongoing basis.

3.      Make room for two-way feedback. Employees who can communicate openly with management, discussing problems and concerns and receiving feedback, report higher job satisfaction. Give your employees continual encouragement and feedback and take the time to listen to them, and you’ll create a cooperative culture with engaged employees.  

4.      Keep communication positive. A Harvard Business Review study recently determined that the ideal proportion of positive to negative feedback in the workplace is 5.6 to 1.Speaking positively to employees motivates them to reach further and achieve more, and it promotes job satisfaction.

5.      Build a culture of connection. If you want your employees to connect to your company’s goals, they need to connect to the people in the company. Promote relationships between co-workers, providing employee outings, events, and down time. Take the time to connect with your team personally, getting to know them as individuals.

6.      Foster creativity and reward innovative thinking. Put policies in place that encourage employees to think creatively. Offer rewards for suggestions, provide outlets for both public and private feedback, give people the opportunity to take on interesting side projects, and set up teams to come up with ideas on specific topics. Encourage your people to take risks, put diverse people together so that they can use their individual strengths for a common cause, and create an environment in which working together is fun and spontaneity is supported.

7.      Make sure you’re providing competitive compensation. It’s easy to understand that employees are likely to leave a position where they don’t feel appropriately compensated. Salary, health care benefits, retirement plans, and bonuses are all important pieces of that puzzle. Research what others are paying for similar positions, and pay your employees enough that they feel valued and supported, and can cover their cost of living.

8.      Offer some extras. Provide additional perks, too, like paid parental leave, flexible schedules, tuition reimbursement, stress management programs, and retirement planning services. You can also offer paid time off to rest and recharge, allow employees to choose their projects, and provide managers with a budget to schedule fun events.

9.      Encourage work-life balance. Of course, you should have high expectations for your employees, but don’t let that get in the way of encouraging them to have a personal life. A well-balanced life includes time for personal care, leisure activities, and relationships, and when employees have time for these things, they will also be more effective at work. Resist calling on your staff after work hours, establish policies about regular work hours, working remotely, and working on weekends that benefit your employees. Don’t neglect your own work-life balance, and urge your team members to set boundaries and take vacations. When extra time at the office is required, compensate with extra time off.

10.  Invest in your employees’ professional development. Provide reimbursement for continuing education and certifications, and encourage participation in industry events and conferences. Host internal sharing sessions so that they can teach each other new skills, and gather input from employees about what they want to learn. When an employee expresses interest in a side project, encourage management to allow it. Promote from within the company, giving your employees opportunities to pursue career goals without leaving your organization.

11.  Recognize achievements and celebrate milestones. When employees feel appreciated, they feel more connected to the company. Acknowledge anything you notice that’s worthy of recognition, and create a plan for celebrating milestones at work. Beyond that, create a system for frequent, specific acknowledgement, with both social recognition and tangible rewards.

12.  Embrace health and wellness. Keep your office safe, well-maintained, well-organized, and free from clutter. Provide wellness offerings to help your employees stay healthy. Make wellness a part of your corporate culture and prioritize the physical and mental health of your team members.

13.  Promote teamwork. Encourage collaboration, creating cooperative opportunities that accommodate different work styles and give everyone a chance to contribute.

14.  Create clear objectives. Employees need to fully understand their responsibilities in order to live up to your expectations; when they’re confusing, employee morale takes a dip. Set goals and objectives for your employees and regularly discuss the progress that’s being made.

15.  Set your employees up for success. To reach the goals you’ve set, your team will need the right tools, resources, and information. Keep up communication about ongoing progress, ask your team members what they need to be successful, and pay attention so that you’ll notice if anyone is struggling.

16.  Manage your managers. Relationships with management have a major impact on employee engagement. When employees feel that they’re not receiving effective management, they’re more inclined to leave the company. Good managers help make the most of their team’s talents by acting as coaches, while bad managers are likely to lose your company employees. Train your managers to be optimistic and assertive, recognizing the value of your employees while providing them with actionable goals and offering constructive feedback. Managers should be trained to look for signs of burnout so that they can reach out to employees who may be struggling.

17.  Create a climate of mutual respect. Above all, people want to be respected. Treat your employees as people of worth, valuable to your organization, an asset to your company and you’ll be more likely to retain them. When you treat them with courtesy and they know they can trust you, employees are happier, more engaged, and less likely to leave.

When you’re looking for innovative employee retention strategies, contact Marketing Innovators, where we believe that connecting to people on a human level is the best way to build a great business. That’s why for over 40 years our family-owned, employee driven company has been working to build and strengthen that connection between businesses and their employees, customers, and partners.

We work hard to help our clients motivate, incentivize, and reward their workforce. Our commitment to our core values of integrity, trust, collaboration, empowerment, and the kind of results-oriented attitude that promotes customer success has made us a leader in the engagement marketplace. To learn more about how we can help solve your business challenges, call 800-453-7373 or contact us through our website.