As more professionals become disillusioned with their jobs, employee retention is more critical than ever. And it's not just being disengaged that can negatively impact retention; there are plenty of reasons for employees to hand in their resignations. Few employers are actively working to solve the problem, but if you prioritize employee retention strategies, you can motivate your team to stick around for the long haul.
Importance of employee retention
Employee retention influences many aspects of your business. A high retention rate speaks to your company's reputation and culture since employees stay longer in places where they feel valued and have confidence in their job stability. And a solid team that's in it for the long haul ensures high-quality output and continuous growth.
The impact of low employee retention
Low employee retention rates can lead to increased hiring costs, lower productivity, and negative impacts on morale. Imagine the constant cycle of onboarding new employees and bringing them up to speed, only to have them leave shortly after. Consistently low retention creates a revolving door of employees, leading to instability and a loss of talent. But prioritizing employee retention with effective strategies can be the key to creating a stable and engaged workforce that's positioned for long-term growth and success.
Performance and productivity aren't the only areas affected by low retention — budgets also take a hit. Low retention and high turnover require you to attract, hire, and onboard new staff to replace those who leave. The truth is that turnover can cost you up to 200% of an existing employee's salary. So, it's no surprise that more companies are prioritizing employee retention strategies to attract and keep top talent.
“If you prioritize employee retention strategies, you can motivate your team to stick around for the long haul.”
Employee retention strategies that work
Retention strategies that work ensure your top talent sticks around, while also bringing changes that have positive impacts on your company's operations, culture, and bottom line. Create a plan to achieve your goals with these proven employee retention strategies:
Competitive salary and total compensation
Offering a competitive salary above the average threshold can help you attract top candidates, but it can't help you keep them. Today's workforce cares more about company culture and employee well-being than a competitive pay rate. So, a competitive salary adds to the overall retention strategy, but it's only one part of it. As you set the salary level for specific roles, plan to include a total compensation package that covers health insurance, retirement, disability, time off, parental leave, and other benefits to fit employees' needs. The goal is to ensure your staff is fully supported so there's more incentive to stay.
If advancement isn't already part of your company's total compensation plan, consider developing a clear structure that outlines pathways to promotion for employees who want to advance in their careers. Create monetary compensation plans that align with these promotion opportunities. Advancement pathways with raises go beyond a short-term competitive salary to offer long-term stability and growth, which can be extremely effective in retaining top talent.
Professional development programs
Professional development isn't the same as offering advancement opportunities, but it goes a long way in improving retention. Invest in occasional industry workshops and conferences, company training initiatives, or professional certification courses. Employees who feel that their companies prioritize their skill development are much more likely to want to stay at their job, even if a promotion and raise aren't part of it.
Go beyond occasional praise and make employee recognition a formal incentive and part of the company culture. Promotion and advancement opportunities can be part of this strategy but don't have to be. Instead, you may implement weekly or monthly feedback loops to recognize performance and outstanding achievements. Employees who feel valued and know their companies recognize their contributions are 2.7 times more likely to stay productive and engaged at work.
Alternative work arrangements
If your company doesn't already, you may think about giving employees remote or hybrid options. The shift to remote work during the pandemic wasn't a temporary trend; a lot of professionals who work remotely at least some of the time would consider other job opportunities if they had to go back to the office full-time. This speaks volumes about the freedom and flexibility employees continue to demand. And adjusting for alternative work arrangements — such as flex hours or compressed workweeks — is one more way to hang onto top performers.
Coaching or mentorship programs
Like professional development, mentorship and career coaching help employees upskill and expand their scope of industry knowledge. Consider having a dedicated manager or team available for employees to get this support. Companies that invest in mentorship and career coaching are more likely to get long-term commitments from employees who feel supported in their roles.
Employee wellness programs
Investing in employee wellness programs is another retention strategy that can be a part of your benefits package or a separate plan. Either way, investing in your employees' well-being creates a happy, healthy, and engaged workforce. Programs and incentives such as fitness challenges, meditation sessions, wellness workshops, or even monetary rewards for meeting specific wellness goals promote work-life balance, help reduce stress, and enhance job satisfaction.
Diversity, equity, and inclusion policies
With company culture at the top of many employees' lists of priorities, when you make diversity, equity, and inclusion policies an integral part of your retention strategy, you create a welcoming environment for everyone. DEI isn't just about checking a box; it's a powerful core value that supports equity and satisfaction in the workplace. And this ensures employees feel valued, respected, and celebrated for their unique perspectives and backgrounds.
Onboarding and orientation
Companies that integrate solid onboarding and orientation practices can boost retention rates by as much as 82%. This shows how critical it is to prioritize introductions, engagement, and clear directions for new employees. Go beyond the paperwork and documentation and create an onboarding process that gives new hires the tools, resources, and development opportunities they'll need to be successful at work. Include processes for introductions, interaction, and Q&A sessions that support employees' transition to a new environment.
Collaboration and cross-functional projects
Make work meaningful for your team members by creating opportunities for collaboration and cross-functional activities. This encourages them to build relationships, learn new skills, and develop new approaches to achieving critical objectives. Employees who feel that their work has meaning and directly adds to their organization's success are more likely to stick around.
Integrating your employee retention strategies
Your employee retention strategies should align with your company's values, goals, and current HR practices. Here are some helpful tips that can help you integrate new retention strategies more effectively:
- Look closely at current challenges: Use employee surveys, turnover data, and feedback from managers and HR to identify specific areas where your organization needs improvement.
- Develop a plan: Set clear goals and objectives for the plan and outline the specific strategies you're going to use to address challenges.
- Establish communication protocols: Establish open lines of communication for employees to voice their concerns, provide suggestions, and actively participate in decision-making processes. This helps foster a sense of belonging and ownership, positively affecting overall retention.
- Review and adjust: Regularly assess the effectiveness of your strategies by monitoring retention rates, applying feedback from stay interviews, and adjusting when you need to.
Prioritizing retention strategies doesn't just benefit your employees. By focusing on the people that drive innovation and outcomes, your company saves on the costs of backfilling empty positions and adds to its overall bottom line.
Get more advice and tips on improving the employee experience:
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