How to Keep Your Talent
What is employee retention, and why is it important for an organisation?
The talent market in 2021 has been challenging. An abundance of roles being advertised but a lack of candidates for businesses to choose from, has led to companies focusing on employee retention and development, rather than looking for external candidates who aren’t available or aren’t looking to move.
Employee retention is the practice of keeping talented employees and reducing staff turnover by offering a positive work atmosphere that promotes engagement and showing your employees that they are appreciated and valued. This can be achieved by providing competitive pay and benefits, and a healthy work-life balance.
Generally, but certainly, in the current climate, employee retention should be top of every HR and Management’s list of priorities.
Employee churn is expensive. If you consider the cost of hiring, onboarding, and training a new employee who will be less productive initially, the costs of losing an experienced employee are significant.
Additionally, high voluntary turnover affects team morale as interpersonal relationships between employees are an essential part of overall job satisfaction. However, if you can achieve long-term loyalty from your employees, it can pay dividends. Length of service is an appreciating asset – the longer employees are with your company, the more advantageous it is in terms of culture, finances and the benefits of increased efficiency and productivity.
Millennials are the generation that will make up the majority of the workforce over the coming years. Inconveniently, it is reported that over a quarter of millennials plan to leave their current employer in the coming year. So how do you reduce churn and prove you are an employer who is worth staying with?
What is an employee retention strategy?
Though a competitive salary is important, money alone isn’t the answer if you want to retain your employees and avoid them leaving to join the competition. A Global HR Trends study carried out by Mercer found that salary is actually one of the least considered factors when it comes to accepting and staying in a role. Providing a competitive salary is, of course, important, but with a little creativity, you can make a significant impact on your employee churn.
Among the most important aspects of improving your employee retention strategy are employee engagement and employee experience. One of the first steps is discovering how your employees’ feel about your organisation. If your HR team carries out pulse or instant surveys, you can better understand areas of concern for your employees and take steps to address any issues. As these surveys are anonymous and quick to take, employees should be happy to participate.
Your employees want to feel they belong and are heard by your organisation’s managers, and employees often cite having managers who support them as essential to their wellbeing.
Additionally, employers are adopting corporate wellness technology to improve employee retention strategies that can promote business-wide cohesion using various techniques, including fun competitions and group volunteer projects. A crucial aspect of corporate wellness is promoting physical and psychological well-being. Offering discounts or incentives on health insurance to employees who use wearable technology to track their physical activity can encourage your employees to take responsibility for their health and well-being.
What else can you do to discourage churn and promote employee loyalty?
Six employee retention strategies
Improve your onboarding process
When a new employee joins your organisation, the first experience they have of your company will be your onboarding process. This is a key transition period for them to settle into your company and absorb your values and culture. If you’ve planned and offer a consistent onboarding process, you’ll make a positive impression and ensure that they’ll want to stay with your business.
Here are some ideas on how to improve your onboarding process.
- Before your new hire starts working for you, send out their induction paperwork in advance, meaning there will be less to get through when they start. Some companies send welcome packs including a culture book, welcome card and even a small gift to show you are delighted to welcome them to your organisation.
- Be friendly and personable. Introducing them to the team and treating them to lunch or coffee on their first day can help to make them feel welcome and relieve any first-day anxiety.
- According to a survey by the business networking platform LinkedIn, understanding their performance goals is the second most important aspect of onboarding, behind one-on-one time with their direct line manager. New hires need to know what they have to do to be successful, and by explaining the departmental goals and their individual KPIs, they’ll have a good understanding of what is required.
Offer flexible working hours
Global surveys have found that flexibility in working hours was a larger incentive, especially for younger workers, than many other aspects of a job offer. In fact, Deloitte has reported that a lack of work flexibility is the most likely reason a millennial would leave a job.
Some businesses have reduced their working week, which has been beneficial in terms of productivity and the reduction of employee stress. If you go down this route, expect to see a positive impact on absenteeism rates, employee morale and productivity.
Introduce low-cost benefits
Low-cost and free benefits are popular and straightforward to implement benefits that are appreciated and don’t cost the earth. Popular benefits include local corporate discounts, birthday days off, fruit bowls and a relaxed dress code.
Reward and Recognition
Outstanding employee results deserve to be recognised. Some companies provide rewards and recognition in the form of quarterly or annual bonuses, while others use non-cash rewards like eCards to say thank you for a job well done.
Simple recognition in the form of shout-outs or additional days of leave is also extremely popular for hard work and above-average performance. The more creative you are, the more appreciated it will be by your employees and the better their performance could be.
Working from home
Stanford University carried a two-year study that found that allowing staff to work from home brought significant benefits for both employees and businesses. With fewer distractions, employee productivity increased by 13%, and attrition was halved. They also took shorter breaks when working from home and had fewer sick days.
As office space is expensive and the cost of technology continues to reduce and become more reliable and user friendly, it is becoming increasingly hard to justify not allowing working from home and risk your employees looking elsewhere.
Employee wellbeing initiatives
Numerous studies have shown the damage that a sedentary lifestyle can have on our health and wellbeing. Contributing to this, extended office hours and a passion for the latest boxsets have seen a rise in high cholesterol and blood pressure, which is a genuine concern.
Companies have realised that keeping their employees healthy must be a priority and have implemented wellness initiatives into their businesses. Common initiatives include free fruit, discounted or employer-paid gym membership, meditation, massage and social sports teams. Promoting these initiatives can reduce or prevent stress, improve employee morale, reduce sick days and improve employee engagement.
As an employee retention strategy, showing you care about your employees and their health must be high on the list and ensure a significant reduction in employee churn.
An employee retention strategy, including improving your onboarding processes, is essential, but during a time of talent scarcity, not doing everything you can to hold on to the employees you’ve spent time and resources training and developing could be considered foolhardy.
Employee retention strategies improve your employees experience at work, improve engagement and have been shown to increase morale and productivity while at the same time reducing employee churn. A win for employees and for the companies that employ them.