The Great Resignation was not just a passing fad. Workers demand more—such as better work/life balance—from their employers. And they are heading out the door to find it if their current business won’t provide it. If you want to succeed, you need to increase your employee retention and engagement strategies.
Why Worry About Employee Retention?
Employee turnover is costly and disruptive to businesses. Turnover rates average from below 20% in sectors such as consulting, manufacturing, and financial services up to above 30% turnover for retail and eCommerce.
And all those exits can impact your bottom line. There are direct costs, such as recruiting and onboarding. These can cost employers several thousand dollars for an hourly employee, up to multiple times the full salary of executives. In addition, there are intangible costs, such as lost productivity from a new employee needing to learn or lost knowledge and training that leave with an employee.
Employee exits also demoralize remaining employees, change the work environment, and influence workplace culture. If you’re not actively retaining employees, then you could find yourself with a blank roster sooner than you realize.
Employee Retention Strategies
Let’s look at how to manage employee retention with these nine strategies proven to keep employees happy.
- Better Recruitment
There are two key words to remember when it comes to recruitment efforts that will find employees who stick around: intentional and inclusive. It’s easy to get sucked into the “let’s hire someone like us” mentality when really you should be looking for diversity of experience, thought, and character. Intentionally seeking out people different from us helps build a strong workforce. Hiring practices should also be inclusive of different demographics and neurodivergences. All this leads to a broader pool of candidates from which to find the perfect employee who will plan to stay engaged and make a career with your company.
- Competitive Salary
As you’re recruiting, sifting through, and interviewing candidates, be upfront about salary. Seventy-nine percent of US job seekers said they would be more likely to apply for a position with a clearly stated salary range. Don’t let the perfect employee slip away by skirting around this topic. Also, don’t forget that women make $0.82 for every $1 men make. Pay your workers fairly and equally and they’ll be more likely to stick around.
- Stress-free Onboarding
Once you’ve found the perfect candidate and made them an offer, it’s important to make the onboarding process clear and easy. A BambooHR survey found that workers who indicated they had effective onboarding we 18x more likely to have a strong loyalty to their company. Inducing stress and confusion in a brand-new employee might have them heading for the door immediately or getting off on the wrong foot in the long run.
- Work Environment
Employees these days are looking to be empowered and feel appreciated and confident at work. This requires building a work environment of psychological safety where employees feel comfortable speaking up with ideas and opinions. Feeling appreciated and being recognized is also a large part of the work environment. WorkHuman says that creating a culture of recognition can save a 10,000-employee company $16.1 million in annual turnover costs.
- Provide Flexible Work
Work environment can also refer to the literal place where work takes place. Employees value flexibility and remote or hybrid options. According to McKinsey, workplace flexibility was one of the main reasons workers searched for new jobs in 2021. Whether it’s flexibility of location, time, or method, having flexible work options can keep employees around.
- Employee Training
Companies must cultivate a positive and confident attitude among employees. And much of employees’ confidence at work comes from training. People who are thrown into the fire without proper introduction may quickly burn out and become frustrated by their lack of knowledge. Other employees who want to advance but never receive new training may become discouraged by their lack of advancement. Invest in employee training through learning programs or mentorships, or they will look for new opportunities elsewhere.
- Strong Managers
When it comes to keeping employees around, Dale Carnegie’s research says managers play a key role. This means choosing the best managerial candidates, training them, engaging them, and supporting them in their work is critical. Managers are more disengaged than their reports. Disengaged managers are prone to head toward the door at the soonest opportunity. And their bad attitude could have a ripple effect on their reports, which might follow them to greener pastures.
- Organizational Purpose
The desire to stick around with a company needs to come from deep within an employee. It isn’t something that can be bribed or forced. Employees need to be intrinsically motivated, and that starts with having a strong organizational purpose. Make sure your mission is clear and something employees can get behind. Communicate that purpose and connect it to daily worker activities. When employees find meaning in their work, they will continue their engagement with the company and stick around.
- Professional & Personal Development
Along with job-specific training should come opportunities for personal and professional growth. Sixty-five percent of employers recognize professional development as a critical employee benefit. Invest in courses and learning programs that help employees and managers grow. When employees are learning important skills, such as how to communicate effectively or manage to bring about change, then they will want to stick around and put those skills to work in the company.
Putting it into Practice
If you’re unsure which of the above areas your company is lacking, simply ask your employees and managers directly. Get honest, unbiased feedback and truly listen to what they are saying. Once you’ve addressed all these areas, you must ensure your efforts are working. Check in with managers and employees on a regular basis to ensure they are engaging with your efforts.
Now that you know how to manage employee retention, you must make organizational changes to put best practices into motion. This means real implementation of new ideas and company policy shifts. Without real change, you’ll continue to find employees running for the door.