The Most Effective Employee Retention Strategies

With the aftershocks of the Great Resignation still in play, many organizations have struggled to replace those lost workers. As worker wants and desires change, we’ll continue to see a shuffling as potential employees flock to places that can meet those desires. Smart organizations need a retention plan to keep their best employees engaged, satisfied, and willing to stay with the company.

Training a new employee can be an expensive affair—roughly twice their salary according to Visier. While you can’t prevent all employees from seeking greener pastures, creating a work culture people want to be a part of can limit the risk and help keep your best employees around. Embrace these modern strategies to encourage your top talent to stick around!

Have a good hiring process

Keeping your employees around starts before they even become your employees. Your hiring process sets the tone for the employee’s future with you, so the more transparent and accurate it is, the better.

Visier says to start with an accurate job preview and clear employee expectations. This means being honest about your culture and your potential employee’s role. Not every work environment and employee work style complement each other, and that’s okay. But if you’re dishonest, you’re setting yourself up for a messy breakup down the road.

A good onboarding process is likewise important to set the tone for a new hire’s early days.

Create a culture of value

Ultimately, an employee wants to feel like they fit in with the organization and that they matter to the parent company. A Pew study found that while low pay was the main reason people left their jobs (63% of respondents), feeling disrespected was a close second. 57% of respondents cited disrespect as a reason they left their job, with 35% claiming it was a primary reason.

“Your company likely has clear values and ideals in the handbook. Do you work on them to create a company that makes your employees proud? Maybe your company values equality, charitable acts or protecting the environment. Demonstrate those values through the work you do.” –Indeed

Take a deep look at your culture and how it treats its employees. Do your day-to-day operations align with the company mission statement? Are you recognizing employees for their accomplishments? This self-scouting is vital when asking why employees are leaving.

Focus on work-life balance

To create that culture, the work-life balance needs to not only be respected but prioritized. Pew found that 40% of respondents quit their job due to burnout—often caused by a lack of work-life balance. Combating burnout is an important step in maintaining employees.

Forbes’ Chauncey Crail lists remote work, flexible scheduling, and a reduced workweek as ways the modern organization can foster a healthy work-life balance. We’ve talked at length about how rejuvenating spirit that comes with remote work and how it can lead to better productivity. If you fear these concessions will be bad for your business, not only is that incorrect but you’ll be left in the dust as your competitors evolve.

Offer competitive benefits and invest in careers

Of course, even the happiest employees want to be paid what they are worth—no one is going to work for free.

The cost of living is high and grows at an exponential rate, and at the bare minimum, a company needs to keep up. But that’s not the only way to stay competitive. Ellie Taylor writes that as an employee takes on new roles and projects, they should be compensated for it. Taylor also adds that beyond base pay, retention bonuses, sales commissions, and additional bonuses after big projects will keep employees invested.

In addition to financial investment, investing in an employee’s career growth will keep them around. LinkedIn found that 94% of respondents would stay with a company longer if it assisted with their career growth. Emeritus lists mentorship programs and educational courses as ways to do so. We live in a skill-based career culture, and helping your employees gain the skills they need for a long and rewarding career will create skilled employees that can better help your organization.

“Today’s workforce wants to know what’s in store for their future and whether they can see themselves working with you long term. Stagnation can lead to disengagement, quiet quitting and eventually, actual quitting so provide your employees with opportunities to expand their skills and grow professionally.” –Lisa Shuster, Forbes

Learn from exit interviews

While these strategies are designed as a catch-all to help any organization, all companies are different and face different challenges. If you find you’re having trouble keeping people around, you need to pay closer attention to your exit interviews. Ellie Taylor mentions that many managers don’t see the workplace dynamic in action, especially if they’re busy. Exit interviews give you a better insight into how the employees view the organization. Taking these concerns seriously can lead to actionable results.

You may even learn what external factors are leading to turnovers. Your company may not be problematic, but if competitors are consistently offering higher salaries or benefits, it will give you something to think about.

Wrap up

Employees want more than money from their careers. They seek value and recognition and want to align with their employer’s vision. Keeping these simple ideas in mind is the core of any good retention strategy. Create a place of work that employees will want to stay with and make sure they’re invested in and rewarded properly and you’ll have an environment your top talent is happy to stay with.

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