Have you ever quit a job because of bad management? Or because your talent and efforts weren’t recognized? Because there was no room to grow within the company? Your onboarding or training was virtually nonexistent? I’m willing to bet that yes, you have. I know I have!
Most employers think that their employees and new hires leave because of low compensation. And yes, that is the case sometimes. But it is NOT the number one reason employees quit.
And when your employees leave, that turnover costs you big time. We don’t just mean monetary either. Turnover, especially high turnover, can directly impact the entire office and workforce. Whether it’s a new hire who just joined or a lifetime employee with buckets of knowledge.
Not to mention, around 3 million Americans will leave a company in search of a better company and 31% quit before they even make it to the half-year mark. With numbers like that, it’s clear that employee retention is critical to your business.
Employee retention is especially important when you’re a small business. Why? For starters, you probably have limited resources therefore retaining top talent is key to business success. With effective employee retention strategies in place, you improve office morale and help ensure that your best workers continue to work only for you and not your competition. And no, you don’t need to spend a fortune on employee retention strategies either.
Managers who are serious about employee retention strategies know that they need to do more than just the bare minimum. It makes no difference how big your business is, anytime an employee leaves, it’s bad for business.
The Wall Street Journal also found that “a high employee turnover rate can cost twice an employee’s salary to find and train a replacement.” It isn’t just about the financial repercussions, but without great employee retention strategies, you’ll also lower the knowledge base, lower morale, and decrease performance. By following the retention strategies we dive into below, you can avoid a high turnover rate.
What are some clever employee retention strategies for 2021? That’s exactly what this blog answers.
From The Off, Hire Right
Glassdoor reported that 35% of employers who hire new employees do so expecting that more employees will quit in the year. If you’re already expected one-third of your new hires to leave, that’s not a good way to start the hiring process!
So make sure that you are hiring the right employees and that you don’t fall into that negative mindset. Many new hires admit that they would stay at a job longer if they were better informed about their role during the hiring process. Therefore be honest about what you expect from the new hire. Whatever you do, don’t omit details of the job just because you are desperate to fill an empty position. Being transparent is crucial in finding the right employee for your company.
The Wall Street Journal suggests you “Interview and vet candidates carefully, not just to ensure they have the right skills but also that they fit well with the company culture, managers, and co-workers.”
Smart Onboarding Process
From the first day, your new hires should be set for success, and that all rely on the onboarding process. Make sure that you aren’t just teaching the new hire about their job role and responsibilities, it is just as important to teach them about the company culture and how they can thrive every single day. Layout goals for them, for their first week, first month, first three months, first six months, and their first year. Make sure they have every opportunity to talk with you about questions or issues they have, consider setting them up with a mentor if your plate is full.
Speaking of mentors, pair a new hire with a seasoned employee to ensure the greatest chance of employee retention. Your veteran employee will act as their best resource and vice-versa, the new hire can offer fresh eyes and a new perspective on how things are done.
However, make sure the mentor doesn’t act like a supervisor, instead, they are there for new hires to lean on, to be a sounding board, and to welcome them to the company culture.
Provide Employees With The Tools They Need
Anything you can do to simplify and automate tasks that are low value and repetitive, like filling out a piece of paper, will free up the power of HR to do something else. There’s so much space for automation to play a bigger role in making the employee experience better.
When certain aspects of your managers and HR personnel tasks are automated, such as manual time tracking or record-keeping, then they can focus on more strategic initiatives, for example, employee engagement, employee experience, morale boosts, and so on. Basically, they can focus on what really matters, your employees.
This is why so many HR personnel are turning to Connecteam’s all-in-one employee management app.
When you manage deskless and mobile employees, Connecteam is the solution that gets you where your employees are. Reinvent communication and engagement in your company with Connecteam’s complete set of robust tools so that employee retention comes more naturally as an employee-first mentality is woven into your company culture.
- Surveys, Suggestion Box, and Live Polls: every team member should have their voice heard so make company decisions based on the results pulled from organizational surveys and live-polls, launch a suggestion box to gather feedback, and send structured channels to query or approach HR and senior management.
- Announcements, Newsletters, and Updates: whether you communicate with an individual, a group, or the entire organization, Connecteam is there to ensure you deliver visual, rich, and engaging content and can measure its reach and impact in real-time. Advanced features include pre-scheduled updates, social engagement support for likes, comments, etc. and automated follow-up capabilities.
- Employee Recognition and Acknowledgment: recognize star employees, share employee ‘spotlights’, and allow your employees to nominate coworkers for awards. Celebrate with your employees by sharing birthday wishes, anniversaries, personal milestones, and organizational achievements. Let your team take part by engaging with every recognition and appreciation celebration, and improve the sense of belonging.
- Accessible HR Resources: company policies and benefits are readily available at any time so employees can learn more about benefits, recommendations, company rules, policies, etc.
- Onboarding & Skill Enhancement: Employees have direct access to the latest company information and training materials. Plus, you can create custom training courses for various teams, track progress with visual insights, measure performance with quizzes, etc.
Increase Productivity, Retention and Performance
Connecteam helps you drive measurable improvements in employee engagement through surveys, live polls, a suggestion box, work chat, targeted announcements, real-time insights, and collaboration so employee retention is a targeted and fun experience across the aisle.
When you have an open and healthy line of communication, you make employee retention much easier. Employees should feel like they can come to you with any and all ideas, questions, and concerns. And on the flip side, they are expecting you to be honest and open with them about what’s going on in the company and their own performance. Make sure you’re communicating with them on a regular basis.
The Office Club found that by placing an emphasis on internal communication, you are able to equip your employees to “feel valued, satisfied, and motivated” which in turn, boosts their morale and increases their output in their job role.
Through an open dialogue, you not only strengthen your relationship with your current employees but potential, top candidates will be attracted by such an open company culture that values communication.
Whether it’s an individual or team success, make sure you acknowledge it. All major milestones should be celebrated! From an employee landing a massive $100,000 sale or setting a new record (sales, revenue, customers, etc.) or even if an employee just got married or had a baby. Seize the opportunity to celebrate together, opt for a team lunch or a company outing.
- Verbal Praise: Sometimes it’s enough to just say “Thank you, great work!” Offering verbal praise, but in a public setting, can boost the feeling of recognition an employee feels. Be specific and time, like “Great job with that customer the other day” is a nice thing to say. But what exactly are you talking about? Give more details. Try the following instead, “Remember the customer who complained about slow delivery times? You did amazing at helping us boost our delivery times and have made even more customers happy!”
- Written Praise: Sure, sending an email is nice but an email sent to every employee about an individual’s success does even better. By celebrating success company-wide, you influence the entire team to work harder and experience that same kind of recognition.
- Throw a Party: When a huge success occurs, sometimes an event or party is appropriate. For example, if a massive achievement happens then go for a huge party with a DJ and invite family and friends of each employee. For the smaller achievements, provide food at lunch or bring in some goodies to enjoy in the break room.
Relaxed & Casual Atmosphere
The atmosphere in the office should be relaxed and casual, while still demanding professionalism. You need a balance between the two. One simple way to ensure this is to offer a business casual dress code. Or a “dress down” day every week, like on a Friday. This is a unique employee retention strategy but it is an incentive that is highly appreciated and puts employees at ease so they are motivated to work harder.
Ask For Feedback and Act On It
As far as employee retention strategies go, this one is often overlooked. You need to get into the habit of encouraging and listening to all the feedback your employees give. So if you want to boost morale and employee happiness, it’s time you listened and acted on what your employees are saying.
Don’t wait for an annual review, send weekly or monthly feedback surveys to your employees on various things – from new office design to the new marketing strategy or a new product you’re pushing out. Make sure your employees have a platform where they can voice their thoughts. Consider a suggestion box that they can access at any time.
Work-life Balance Mentality
We’ve said it before and we will say it again, company culture is key! Especially when it pertains to an employee’s work-life balance. Do your employees have a lot of long nights? Or are expected to answer calls and emails at any time, even when at home? If that’s the case, your employees will burn out quicker than ice cream melting on a hot summer’s day. Creating a healthy work-life balance is essential for all your employees and they need to know that management gets it.
So, make sure your employees are taking vacation days and if they work late, let them come in later the next day or offer a day off. If possible, arrange for telecommuting or flexible schedules to ensure a healthy work-life balance is more than possible.
Team Outings or Lunches
Boost the atmosphere and employee morale in the office with a company outing or pay for everyone’s lunch. Or you can even hold some team-building games and exercises in the office. It’s an easy employee retention strategy that’s sure to work. Why? Because everyone loves to have fun! Your employees will be more productive and effective in their work when they are compensated, bonuses and pay raises aren’t the only option at your disposal.
Offer Training Opportunities
Forbes highlights that “you should offer skills enhancement to all your workers.” Why? “New technology, new selling techniques, changes in employment laws, and the huge impact of the internet are all compelling reasons to keep permanent employees in the loop.”
Keep your employees trained and professional with these methods:
- Outside seminars and classes
- Computerized training (especially relevant with remote employees)
- DVDs, audiotapes, books, articles, and pamphlets
- Mentoring programs
- Cross-department training
- Offer Learning Management System (LMS)
If you’re not sure what training opportunity suits your employees the best then involve them in the discussion! Ask them how they learn best and what appeals to them to excel in the company.
Build A Culture Of Respect
Aretha Franklin meant business singing about “R-E-S-P-E-C-T”. And so should your business.
A study by Georgetown University reported that being and feeling respected by their direct managers (and other superiors) ranked at the top of the list as what matters most in the workplace. And yet, more and more employees say that they get increasingly disrespectful behavior from the higher-ups.
The big question here is does your business and workplace honor and value respect as much as your employees do?
So, how can you build a culture of trust into your employee retention strategy? We have already recommended a number of these retention strategies here’s another quick list – collaboration, recognition, encourage creativity, listen, offer and receive feedback, encourage workplace democracy, etc.
Respect can also be broken down into two categories: owed and earned.
Owed respect is given to a group of employees.
Earned respect is given to an individual.
You can even create an employee of the month program to recognize individual stars.
Ensure that you can balance both respect categories so that employees aren’t frustrated.
Earn Your Employees’ Trust
Respect and trust go hand in hand.
Your employees will work harder when they trust upper management and anyone who is assigning them work slash overseeing them. If they believe in you, they will go above and beyond in their job role.
How does this fall into your employee retention strategy? Start by implementing an employee engagement program, build a personal connection with them with regular 1:1’s, motivate them, avoid favoritism, recognize their efforts, be there for them, and so on.
Challenge Your Employees
But in a good way!
We don’t mean giving them impossible tasks or setting unrealistic goals.
Forbes recommends the following four employee retention strategies when it comes to challenging your team:
- Show belief in your employee(s).
- Push employees outside of their comfort zone and let them take risks.
- Show that failure is a learning opportunity.
- Reward their efforts and not just their talent.
Don’t Make Sudden, Unexpected Changes
If you are looking to make changes in the workplace, that’s fine! It’s totally encouraged. But it shouldn’t take your employees by surprise.
You probably assume that your employees can adapt to change without issue or questions, but it will only cause them to be afraid of their place in the company.
Instead, if you are keen to introduce new policies, initiatives, and the like, do so gradually. A broad, sweeping change may seem easier because it’s done in one go, but it can only cause more stress and uncertainty to your employees.
Consider looping them in well in advance so that way they know it’s coming and invite them to share ideas they have to improve whatever change you want to make. Additionally, it can help to introduce smaller, bite-sized changes.
Retention Strategies Are Key During Crisis Management
A crisis here refers to cyber-attacks, man-made disasters, workplace violence, or a global pandemic like COVID-19, managers must get ahead to effectively manage the situation. Your employees are hit hard during disruptive times, from high levels of uncertainty to time urgency and negative morale, the strain only leads to lower productivity, poor employee retention, and higher financial problems – all of which can lead to organizational failure.
However, there are companies that come back stronger than ever. What’s the secret? Effective leadership.
A 2016 study published in Group Organization Management examined the leadership in organizations that had survived a crisis. They found that transformational leaders were instrumental in helping employees stay positive during a crisis, which was critical to the organization’s outcome.
Even when an employee’s personal and professional life at teetering on the edge, it’s the best leaders who can help their team experience positive emotions. This is the key to keeping your team mentally strong. When you have resilient employees then you have a more resilient organization.
Top Retention Strategies During A Crisis
- Ask for your employee’s ideas and feedback so they can take ownership of the disruption. This will create more loyal employees who are devoted to beating the chaos and are motivated to help.
- Empathize with the stress, don’t hide because you’re also anxious and stressed out. Acknowledge that everyone, yourself included, feels some form of distress. Be authentic in your communication as this will provide genuine reassurance and your team members won’t feel like they’re alone in the chaos. “This is tough, but we’re in this together,” is something you should emphasize and your employees will band together.
- Encourage your team to ask for help. During a crisis, your employees may think that asking for help is a sign of weakness but that couldn’t be further from the truth – tell them that. Just saying, “If you need any help, let us know what we can do” can really go a long way.
A crisis can either make or break your business but the difference here is based on leadership.
Moving Forward With Your Retention Strategies
When looking at employee retention strategies, you don’t need to break the bank to make it happen. When you are clever in your execution, you save on general cost and on employee turnover costs – now that sounds like a win-win situation.
Be sure to review your employee retention strategies on a regular basis to ensure your strategies and company culture are working efficiently and effectively.
And, one final thing. Yes, we just shared a handful of employee retention strategies but we aren’t saying you need to adopt every single one and all at once. Remember what we said for tip 15 – introduce small changes that are manageable for you and your employees in bite-sized pieces. Some of the retention strategies that you want to roll out can be a big initiative. So, work at your own pace!