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June 6th 2022

Employee retention: 12 effective strategies

When a top performer resigns out to the blue, you’re at a loss. You may lean on your remaining team members to take on more responsibility while you search for their colleague’s replacement. That becomes the tipping point that pushes them to think about leaving. At the very least, it may affect employee morale, which could undermine work performance and engagement.

So, now’s the time to confirm your business is doing the right things to drive job satisfaction and, ultimately, employee retention.

Why are employees leaving?

Exit interviews can provide invaluable insights into the employee perspective of your company and help determine whether your employee retention strategies need improvement.

More than likely, you’ll hear the departing employee cite one or more of the following reasons for leaving their job:

  • Inadequate salary and benefits.
  • Feeling overworked and/ or unsupported.
  • Limited career advancement.
  • A need for better work-life balance.
  • Lack of recognition.
  • Boredom.
  • Unhappiness with management.
  • Concerns about the company’s direction or financial health.
  • Dissatisfaction with the company culture.
  • The desire to make a change.
  • More desirable opportunities at other companies.

If you sense your business is at risk of losing top talent, you need to move fast to shore up your employee retention strategies. Here are 12 areas where deliberate action can help boost employees’ job satisfaction and increase your ability to hold onto valued workers:

1. Onboarding and orientation

Every new hire should be set up for success from the start. Your onboarding process should teach new employees not only about the job but also about the company culture and how they can contribute and thrive in it. The training and support you provide from day one, whether in person or virtually, can set the tone for the employee’s entire tenure at your firm.

2. Mentorship programs

Pairing a new employee with a mentor is a great component to add to your extended onboarding process, especially in a remote work environment. Mentors can welcome newcomers into the company, offer guidance and be a sounding board. And it’s a win-win: New team members learn the ropes from experienced employees, and, in return, they offer a fresh viewpoint to their mentors.

3. Employee compensation

It’s essential for companies to pay their employees competitive compensation, which means employers need to evaluate and adjust salaries regularly. Even if your business can’t increase pay right now, consider whether you could provide other forms of compensation, such as bonuses. Don’t forget about improving health care benefits and retirement plans, which can help raise employees’ job satisfaction.

4. Perks

Perks can make your workplace stand out to potential new hires and re-engage current staff, all while boosting employee morale, flexible schedules and remote work options are the perks many professionals value most.

5. Wellness offerings

Keeping employees fit – mentally, physically and financially – is just good business. The pandemic prompted many leading employers to expand and improve their wellness offerings to help employees feel supported and prioritize their well-being. Stress management programs, retirement planning services and reimbursement for fitness classes are just some examples of what your business might consider providing to employees.

6. Communication

The pandemic helped underscore the importance of good workplace communication. Your direct reports should feel they can come to you with ideas, questions and concerns at any time. And as a leader, you need to make sure you’re doing your part to help promote timely, constructive and positive communication across the entire team, including on-site and remote employees. Make sure you proactively connect with each team member on a regular basis, to get a sense of their workload and job satisfaction.

7. Continuous feedback on performance

Many employers are abandoning the annual performance review in favour of more frequent meetings with team members. In these one-on-one meetings, talk with your employees about their short and long-term professional goals and help them visualize their future with the company. While you should never make promises you can’t keep, talk through potential career advancement scenarios together and lay out a realistic plan for reaching these goals.

8. Training and development

As part of providing continuous feedback on performance, you can help employees identify areas for professional growth, such as the need to learn new skills. Upskilling is especially important today as technology continues to change how we work. When people upskill, they’re gaining new abilities and competencies as business requirements continue to evolve.

Make it a priority to invest in your workers’ professional development. Give them time to attend virtual conferences, provide tuition reimbursement or pay for continuing education. Also, don’t forget about succession planning, which can be a highly effective method for advancing professional development and building leadership skills.

9. Recognition and rewards system

Every person wants to feel appreciated for the work they do. And in today’s “anywhere workforce” an employer’s gratitude can make an especially big impact. So, make sure to thank your employees who go the extra mile and explain how their hard work helps the organisation.

10. Work Life Balance

What message is your time management sending to employees? Do you expect staff to be available around the clock? A healthy work-life balance is essential to job satisfaction. People need to know their managers understand they have lives outside of work – and recognise that maintain balance can be even more challenging when working from home. Encourage employees to set boundaries and take their vacation time. And if late nights are necessary to wrap up a project, consider giving them extra time off to compensate.

11. Flexible work arrangements

As business offices reopen after the pandemic forced their closures, many companies are preparing from the fact that some of their employees will still want to work remotely, at least part of the time. So, think sooner than later about what you can offer employees if remote work on a permanent basis isn’t an option. A compressed workweek? Flexitime? Or maybe a partial telecommuting option? All the above can help relieve stress for your team -a and boost employee retention.

12. An emphasis on teamwork

You should encourage all your employees, not just star players, to contribute ideas and solutions. Promote teamwork by creating opportunities for collaboration, accommodating individuals’ work styles and giving everyone the latitude to help make decisions.

A final tip for promoting employee retention is to shine a light on notable achievements. Whether your team finishes ahead of the deadline on a major project, or a worker reaches a five-year anniversary, seize the opportunity to mark the milestone together.

These 12 employee retention strategies outlined above are just some ways to help increase your team members’ job satisfaction. Be sure to re-evaluate your efforts regularly. That includes staying current on market standards for salary and benefits, and best practices for developing an attractive workplace culture and strong manager-employee relations.

It’s inevitable that some team members will leave your organisation sooner that you’d like. But you can at least make the decision a little tougher. And if those employees leave your firm knowing they were valued and supported, they’ll likely say good things about your business and, perhaps, even come back to work for you one day.

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