Employee Retention: 5 Strategies for Retaining Top Talent
How is your team retaining top talent at your organization? If you answer office snacks, Zoom happy hours, or annual superlatives…you’ll want to continue reading. 😬
Recruiting top talent and employee retention is no longer just a threat for understaffed industries—it’s something we are seeing across the board.
This is what your people ops team might feel at this exact moment: They fear losing crucial employees and being ghosted for interviews left and right. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 4 million people chose to leave their jobs in November of 2022. Whether we’re tired of the term or not, The Great Resignation continues to reveal new perspectives when it comes to work and personal fulfillment.
Why is keeping top talent so difficult?
Resignation records continue to be broken during the pandemic. Many economists and human resource experts are scratching their heads on the exact reasons why. A report from the Work Institute estimates that by 2023, up to 35% of employees may leave their jobs each year.
Individuals are wired differently, and it’s important to recognize the needs and wants of each employee. Those who decide to leave may not feel recognized enough for their efforts, are dealing with burnout, or could be seeking higher pay or more responsibility. The scary thing is you may not even know it unless you ask.
Robert Half, a national talent solutions organization, presented some of the most common reasons why individuals decide to leave their jobs.
Exit Interview Responses for Why Employees Leave
- Inadequate salary and benefits
- Feeling overworked and/or unsupported
- Limited career advancement
- A need for better work-life balance
- Lack of recognition
- 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
The costs associated with employee turnover present a continual challenge in addition to the damaging effects on company culture. While retention woes are currently the norm, they don’t have to define your outlook or results at your organization. Looking on the bright side can yield great rewards for companies who are ditching bad workplace habits.
Periodic manager check-ins centered around honest conversations will build trust and deliver empathy for your team. In this new era of work expectations, those who embrace and anticipate better ways to keep coworkers will certainly stand out.
If you check these boxes off the list, it’s a good sign you’re taking care of your people, which will also reduce turnover, boost productivity, and lead to stronger business outcomes as a result.
Strategies for Employee Retention
1. Make onboarding and training a priority 👋
You only get one shot at making a lasting impact with each new employee. Make an extra effort for coworkers to feel welcome, be aware of expectations, and not feel too overwhelmed. Create an onboarding plan that explains your company culture, recurring events, and opportunities to get involved throughout the organization.
Increased remote work has presented opportunities and challenges in the employee onboarding process. With up to 65% of remote workers who prefer not to return to an office anytime soon, operational teams and managers must get creative to keep up with new standards.
Consider adding digital ways of learning like an LMS or video training module. These can help you engage and understand each employee while keeping consistency across teams and the organization. Look for opportunities to incorporate your company values and culture in training sessions to add authenticity and purpose to each lesson.
Employee training will look different for various organization types and industries. Some positions or promotions require quite a bit of self-education. However, creating a framework for the tools, accountabilities, and objectives for each employee is critical for them to know how to achieve their goals.
It helps to have a buddy system for new employees to understand how teams operate, the ways in which they stay connected, and any norms to look out for on a daily basis. Without proper training, workers can feel lost, overwhelmed, or undervalued if they feel like they have to figure out most everything for themselves in the beginning stages.
Create a safe space in the onboarding process for employees to ask questions within a group or with their manager. That way, they’ll feel more confident and supported. The best-case scenario is a mutual commitment between the company and employees, helping you retain your top talent.
2. Build a culture of transparency and inclusion 🤝
Change is something we all expect in life and the workplace, no matter how uncomfortable it might feel. Change inspires growth, flexibility, and new challenges. However, some companies have some major issues in this department. If a boss is always changing your role or pivoting a huge strategy before seeing it through, it can damage trust and transparency, thus affecting employee retention.
There must be a healthy balance in your company culture where each person feels included. Everyone’s voice should matter and communication from the top down should occur frequently. Consistent and straightforward communication from every level of leadership promotes transparency and an inclusive understanding between individuals.
Millennials and Gen Z workers are very passionate about the authenticity and transparency displayed at their jobs. If younger individuals are not confident in the company’s values or ways they go about earning profit, it can be easy for them to drift away and look for something else.
How can companies be more transparent and inclusive? Try to have clear goals for each department and provide collaborative ways for employees to discuss how they can contribute. Feedback loops are important as well to assess morale and if anything is out of balance culture-wise.
Inclusive companies recognize the different learning and communication styles of each team member. Many organizations now take the time to invest in personality and compatibility tests or lunch-and-learns for their staff to uncover more about themselves and how they relate to each other. More conversations and acknowledgment of diversity, equity, and inclusion are crucial to growth and a healthy work environment that celebrates each employee's unique qualities.
3. Encourage personal development 🤜
Career paths and personal development should be top of mind for managers and HR leaders. If employees feel like this is a “nice to have” at their job, they might resent time spent without seeing any rewards. Or worse: they are not offered the opportunity to try something new, be promoted, or acquire a new skill.
As many work situations are now being altered, automated, or outsourced, it is crucial for employees to feel like they are becoming a better version of themselves and contributing. A study found that one-third of employer turnover was attributed to unsupportive management and a lack of development opportunities.
A good way to start encouraging personal development and retaining your top talent is to have recurring events to ask workers what they enjoy, what needs improvement, and how they can achieve their desires. Mentor programs are a great way to let interests and curiosities be explored with an expert. If you have some leaders willing to participate in these activities, it can dramatically improve morale and retention.
Wellness programs are also something that remains at the top of the list for what employees are craving. Whether individuals are looking to improve their physical wellbeing, learn about mental health, or find helpful ways to manage stress, these activities and opportunities provided by the employer can go a long way. Incorporate a holistic view of employee health so they know you are invested in them for more than what they can produce.
4. Offer competitive perks and benefits 👌
How long is the benefits section of your job postings? Well…you should probably consider growing it. Some of the key advantages of full-time employment in a traditional work setting are the security and benefits that come with the job—and they have to be fair and balanced.
Find ways to offer creative ways to address big challenges many employees face. These could include childcare options, workplace flexibility (remote, hybrid, non 9-5), financial literacy, and more. Try your best not to copy and paste your benefits and perks but consider your core values once again and how they relate to being a true employee partner.
5. Commit to an employee recognition program 👍
A recent survey by SHRM and Globoforce estimated that 80 percent of organizations reported having an employee recognition program. Are you actively giving your employees the tools to recognize good work? If not, you’re missing out in ways that may be leading to retention concerns.
Do you have a company-wide meeting every so often? Are there ways you are acknowledging exceptional work and performance from employees? Or, do you have ways to give recognition when it’s due for a project or achievement, big or small?
Boosting your employee engagement and recognition can go a long way in keeping your top talent. When peers have the ability to reward their coworkers with more than words, it gives appreciation a greater purpose.
Employee recognition will continue to be a high priority going forward, and we'd love for you to take a tour of Bonusly to see how we can support your team. 👀
Retention and turnover will continue to be on our minds as we tackle 2023. Take the time to invest in your employees, help them feel included, and provide ways for them to celebrate wins. In that way, they will be more apt to stick around and share their joy with other top talent in your industry. 💖
Looking for actionable tips to improve culture and engagement, recruitment and hiring, growth and development, performance and feedback, wellness, and recognition. Head here!👇