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What are 5 Employee Retention Strategies?

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Employee retention is still top-of-mind for HR departments this year, as the Bureau of Labor Statistics confirmed that 2021’s “Great Resignation” trend is continuing into 2022. 4.25 million American employees left their jobs in January, upholding the massively high rates seen for the past 15 months.

What stands out about this trend, though, is that unemployment rates have been declining for the same length of time. In fact, while 6.3 million eligible citizens are counted as unemployed, there were approximately 11.3 million job openings posted as of the end of January. 

The “recently resigned” have plenty of options to choose from after they leave their positions, and as the low unemployment rates indicate, they are indeed making those choices. Let’s not think of this employee retention crisis as a loss of workers, but as a transition of workers. They’re making the switch from organizations they don’t want to work for to organizations they do.

So, the top priority of any organization that wants to stay ahead should be attracting and retaining team members, especially young talent. Low employee retention rates result in churn that can ruin any company’s productivity, and when the cost of replacing an employee can be 1.5x-2x their salary, it can ruin their budget as well.

If you’re looking for some of the most innovative employee retention strategies, then you’ve come to the right place. We’re experts at helping you create a talent destination that not only attracts skilled workers looking for a new start, but keeps, engages, and develops them. Here are some tips that’ll help you hit that employee turnover rate benchmark you’ve been striving for:

Onboarding/Learning Management

When you want your team members to stick through to the end, you have to start at the beginning. Research by Brandon Hall Group discovered that organizations with a strong onboarding process improve employee retention rates by 82% and overall productivity by 70%. 

A great onboarding experience is quick, informative, and teaches about more than just daily tasks and industry practices. They should also tell new hires about the company’s culture and how they can both contribute to it and thrive within it. We’ve all been through training procedures that made us question our job before it even started – make sure your organization’s onboarding process gets team members eager to represent the company as they learn more about it.

From there, you can continue your team’s education by supporting them with a Learning Management System. Learning Management Systems, or LMS’s, hold collections of educational material that teach information about countless different jobs and sectors. Whether your new hires need to learn more about sales strategies, financial tips, or OSHA rules, a good LMS will be flexible enough to cover your varied learning goals. 

The lessons will often be in video form, but you’ll sometimes find what you need in written format similar to a textbook, or as an interactive lesson. At its core, an LMS aims to thoroughly improve the old method of teaching employees skills without diverting too far from what works. Educating workers is critical to employee retention; young talent will leave in droves if they don’t feel like they’re being developed. 

The work-life balance

Over 25% of employees who work at organizations that don’t support a healthy work-life balance are planning to leave within the next two years, per Hay Group. Companies with the best employee retention programs tend to put that balance high on the list, which results in only 17% of employees planning to leave by the same metric.

Work/life means different things to different people. For some, the COVID pandemic meant they’d have an easier time balancing the two thanks to their new home office environment. For others, the balance tipped the opposite direction due to more hours and less vacation time. If you want to boost employee retention, you have to listen to what your team wants.

Giving extra vacation time to those who need it and remote days to those whose home situations would benefit from it goes a long way in lowering employee turnover rates. Speaking of listening to what your team wants…

Encouraging feedback

Communication and feedback are crucial in virtually every facet of professional life. If feedback within your workplace isn’t consistent and clear, it can cause misalignment, hurt productivity, and yes, increase turnover. Feedback from management to employee is constant in any workplace, but communication from employee to management is the subject here: there’s a 16% decrease in employee retention rates for workers who aren’t comfortable giving upwards feedback.

That ability to give feedback itself, while important, isn’t the sole employee retention plan template on its own – it’s the content of what your workers are telling you. Your team’s feedback, when honest, can key you into everything that needs fixing or reassessing within your workplace. Perhaps your employees have an issue with the flexibility of their positions, the company’s culture, or they feel that your performance review method isn’t as helpful as it could be. Learning about the issues your team cares about is by far the best way to tackle them, and you won’t hear about them without curating a culture of feedback.

Benefits and Compensation

To some incoming employees, benefits and compensation are far and away the top priority when job-hunting. Their decision between two similar jobs they see online may solely be money. Now of course, this is the eternal catch-22 when running a company: How much can I manage to pay my staff?

The disadvantages of providing great benefits and salaries are simple – it’s expensive, easily the most expensive part of this list. However, the advantages are not only plentiful, but can come back around to saving you money.

For one, you’d likely save money on recruiting given the fact that raising the salary for an open position will draw more applicants, letting you close empty positions more quickly. From there, over time, you’d see fewer positions open up at all thanks to the employee retention boost the organization would get from paying higher salaries. While it might be expensive, great compensation fixes employee retention issues, engages team members, and fosters a healthier culture with better experience. Not all compensation is strictly financial, however…

Perks & Recognition

To conclude, we have a two-part driver of employee retention. The first type of “perks” are simply the surface level reasons why new talent would want to work at your company and stick with it. Benefits and compensation aren’t the only offerings that make a company a talent destination for incoming workers. The kind of perks that do make a company a talent destination are upwards mobility, flexible work arrangements, a modern campus, maternity/paternity leave, generous vacation time, and finally… recognition.

For a lot of employees, the biggest perk you can offer is recognition. The #1 enemy of employee retention is a lack of recognition, according to Gallup. Recognition isn’t just a nice-to-have, it’s a necessity whose absence could damage your organization’s employee retention rates – and therefore, your profit.

Leaders must celebrate their team’s completed projects, personal milestones, little wins, and even birthdays/anniversaries in any way possible. Recognition builds a sense of community in even the hardest of times and motivates your employees to continue to strive for success. 

That’s why you should invest in employee incentive programs! These programs help managers reward their teams with the type of perks that reliably boost employee retention. Bonuses, gifts, and events should all be available for those that put in exceptional effort on the job. Whether given to one worker or a whole department, the presence of distinct incentives will motivate your staff to go above and beyond to both gain recognition and receive that “something special” that’s waiting for them.

Studies have shown that incentive programs boost productivity by 25-44% while simultaneously solidifying engagement and employee retention. Give your teams what they deserve while giving your company the high retention rates it deserves.

We’re not done yet!

We’ve got plenty more resources on building the best workforce from the bottom to the top. Take a look at our Employee Retention Strategies PDF, our article on Performance Reviews, or our 10 HR Strategies For the Retention Crisis piece, as told by experts from all sorts of industries. All of our resources can be found in our Library – check them out here! To see HelloTeam in action, click here — and to set up a meeting with us, go here!

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