Effective Employee Retention Strategies

  • On October 19, 2021

While the job market in some industries and regions favors employers, candidates with in-demand skills likely won’t have to wait long to find a new opportunity. Many companies didn’t stop hiring during the pandemic, and more are beginning to expand teams again. If you feel your business might be at risk of losing its top talent, maybe it’s time to review your employee retention strategies. 

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 to 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. Pairing a new employee with a mentor is another 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. New team members learn the ropes from experienced employees and, in return, they offer a fresh viewpoint to their mentors.

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, too. Perks can make your team stand out to potential new hires and re-engage current staff, all while boosting employee morale. 

Maintaining employees’ mental, physical and financial abilities is considered good business practice. The pandemic prompted many 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. The pandemic also helped highlight the importance of good workplace communication. Make sure to proactively connect with team members on a regular basis to get a sense of their workload and job satisfaction.

Many employers are abandoning the annual performance review in favor of more frequent meetings with team members, also known as performance management. In those meetings, talk with 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 those goals. 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. Make it a priority to invest in your workers’ professional development. Also, don’t forget about succession planning, which can be a highly effective method for advancing professional development and building leadership skills.

Every individual wants to feel appreciated for the work they do. Be sure to thank your direct reports who go the extra mile and explain how their hard work helps the organization. Some companies set up formal rewards systems to incentivize great ideas and innovation, but you can institute recognition programs even if you have a small team or limited budget. A healthy work-life balance is essential to job satisfaction and is one of the key factors when talent leaves a position. 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.

As business offices reopen after the pandemic forced their closures, many companies are preparing for the fact that some of their employees will still want to work remotely, at least part-time. If remote work on a permanent basis isn’t an option, think of other solutions such as a more flexible schedule to offer. 

Employees look to leadership for insight and reassurance during times of change. If your organization is going through a big shift, keeping your team as informed as possible helps ease anxieties and manage the rumor mill. Make big announcements either individually or in a group call or meeting, and allow time for questions. Leaders should also encourage all of their 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 make decisions.

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