There are always employees joining and leaving organisations – it is part of the normal proceedings. However, suppose the rate of employees leaving is constantly high, and there is always a rush to fill vacancies. In that case, an organisation needs to dig deeper to find out the root cause, as it can negatively affect the company in multiple ways.
Every company needs a stable environment and employee base to grow and profit, which means retaining employees. However, a constant turnover of employees negatively impacts productivity and drains resources, as new hires can take up to 1-2 years to reach the productivity levels of existing employees.
But this is not all. A company with a reputation of constant high turnover will find it difficult to attract fresh good talent as it portrays a dysfunctional image of the company culture.
Yes, employee retention can be a tricky thing. However, one way of learning a few tricks of the trade is by understanding successful employee retention strategies from companies who have done it right.
But first, let us understand what conditions companies have to fulfil to create an environment that increases employee loyalty.
Core Factors That Enable Employee Retention
To be able to retain its employees, a company needs to balance out many factors. Here are some of the main things that a company needs to get right:
- Good work culture
- Employee recognition
- Opportunities for learning, development and growth
- Work flexibility
- Competitive compensation packages and benefits
Let’s look at how some large, successful companies have applied the above to their organisations to keep employees happy and loyal.
1. Good work culture
At Zappos, we really view culture as our No. 1 priority. We decided that if we get the culture right, most of the stuff, like building a brand around delivering the very best customer service, will just take care of itself.” -Tony Hsieh
Most companies have great core values, but often these are documented and then ignored- they are rarely integrated into the daily running of the company.
At Zappos, it is quite the opposite. Its core values are integrated into everything the company does.
One such example is its great work environment and positive culture, which is a reflection of two of its core values.
- Create fun and a little weirdness, and
- Be adventurous, creative, and open-minded.
The formality of the workplace can be quite stifling for employees spending long hours at their desks. By allowing them to customise their workspace with almost no restrictions, Zappos has made their work environment more fun, inspirational, and positive.
Even as Zappos started to grow, they maintained their core values, contributing to their business success. The company has come to be well known for its weirdness (in a fun way), family spirit, and exciting culture, resulting in employee happiness.
So, it is evident that happy employees drive higher engagement and profitability and result in low turnover.
Here are three ways to create a better work culture
- Organise team activities and outings
- Allow or create fun workspaces
- Allow opportunities/activities for stress relief and light-heartedness
Walt Disney World
The more you are in the state of gratitude, the more you will attract things to be grateful for. -Walt Disney
Most companies take their employees’ hard work and dedication for granted, often rewarding them with even more work and no recognition for fear of employees asking for pay hikes.
But this is detrimental to both employee morale and employer-employee relationships.
However, taking the time to thank and appreciate employees, co-workers, teammates, etc., creates a positive environment of gratitude and increases employee satisfaction, fulfilment and retention. In fact, 83% of employees find recognition more fulfilling than a reward.
It is also a well-known fact that employees who feel like they are contributing positively and are an integral part of the company are likely to stay loyal.
However, having employee recognition programmes like bonuses and awards as a formality does not always mean that they will be effective. Some of the best recognition programmes are grounded in the company’s values and culture. They are not just for the sake of a reward programme – they actually create a bond between the employee and the company.
Disney is one such company that believes in recognising its employees in a more touching, expressive and creative way.
One example is their crowdsourcing employee recognition programme. Instead of only the team leaders constantly appreciating their achievements, the company enables co-workers, managers and even customers to play a role in recognition. This makes it more meaningful and special to the employee.
Their most prestigious award for their employees, the Walt Disney Legacy Award, is crowdsourced. This award is given based on peer recognition and is a nomination for outstanding performance. It is handed out at an annual red-carpet event after the employees are honoured within their teams. In addition, award winners receive a special blue name tag inscribed with their name, hometown, and the words – dream, create & inspire – for as long as they work at Disney.
The same goes for #CastCompliment. The company created this hashtag for customers to appreciate employees. When an employee receives a compliment from a customer, the supervisor retweets the compliment with a picture of the employee. This goes a long way in acknowledging good performance in a public way.
Hence, we see that recognising the efforts put in by employees helps keep employees satisfied and fulfilled and motivates them to keep giving their best to their jobs and stay loyal to the company.
Here are three ways to recognise employees
- Show gratitude regularly
- Celebrate the small wins with non-cash rewards
- Encourage peer-to-peer recognition
3. Opportunities for learning, development and growth
“We’ve made the leap from an idea-centred business to a people-centred business. Instead of developing ideas, we develop people. Instead of investing in ideas, we invest in people. We’re trying to create a culture of learning, filled with lifelong learners.” – Randy Nelson
Many companies tend to give learning and development little or no importance and are almost always at the bottom of their to-do list.
They forget that a company is the sum total of individual employee achievements; organisations should do everything in their power to ensure that employees are enabled to perform to the best of their abilities.
Hence, learning and development is an important element both for the company as well as the employees. Training enables employees to acquire new skills, sharpen existing ones, perform better, increase productivity, and be better leaders.
In addition, a company that invests in training and development tends typically to have satisfied and loyal employees.
Pixar, the animation giant and one of the most respected creative companies globally, supports continuous learning in different forms.
All employees (from the doormen to the management) are invited to spend up to 4 hours a week taking classes at Pixar University on different subjects like drawing, sculpting, painting, juggling and even belly dancing. These classes serve as a welcome break, a way to impart new skills and knowledge and also a way to get creative juices flowing.
But the classes also serve another significant purpose. It encourages employees to work and fail side by side, free from judgement, which is what learning is all about. This attitude then carries on to their daily work, where they have a safe environment to succeed or fail together as a team.
Employee education, training and professional development is Pixar’s secret weapon for staying ahead of its competitors.
Hence, as we see, a company is only as strong as its employees, and so if the employees do not learn and grow, the company cannot grow.
Here are three ways in which organisations can implement learning and development
- Set small learning goals and short timelines.
- Encourage employees to try out new things and move out of their comfort zones.
- Give employees time out to attend courses and classes.
4. Flexible schedules
Flexible schedules are no longer considered a perk or only eligible for freelancers. On the contrary, they are very much a reality. Many employees have discovered the benefits of flexible schedules and remote working after the pandemic and are now demanding a less rigid way of working.
But flexibility benefits not just employees. It also benefits the organisation and can actually help to stay ahead of the competition.
From the context of an employee, working from home helps to do better work, limits the number of unnecessary interruptions, and allows for a better work-life balance. For an employer, flexible work schedules increase employee retention, reduce hiring costs, widen the available talent pool, and reduce the company’s overheads and carbon footprint.
According to a study by Qualtrics and Accel Partners, about 76% of millennial employees said they would be willing to take a pay cut for flexible working hours. Also, according to a FlexJobs survey, 80% of respondents said they would be more loyal to their employer if they had flexible schedules.
Colgate-Palmolive is one such example. The company maintains that the workplace should be rewarding, exciting, motivating, and supportive. Hence, they urge their employees to have a healthy work-life balance.
A few of the flexible benefits Colgate-Palmolive offer their employees in many of their global locations are:
- Telecommuting options
- Flexible work hours
- Childcare centres
- Employees who adopt or foster a child or become surrogate parents can take seven fully paid weeks off from work.
But more importantly, by placing their trust in their employees, they have created an organisational environment that is effective and supportive.
Hence, it becomes very apparent that flexible work schedules have clear implications for employee retention.
Three ways to offer flexible schedules
- Allow employees to structure their work hours
- Try longer hours and shorter work weeks
- Allow remote working on some days
5. Competitive compensation and benefits
Not always the most critical factors, compensation and benefits are still essential aspects of employee retention.
These help keep the workforce motivated and bring out the best in them. These are also the most significant factors that people consider before joining an organisation (apart from the company’s reputation). Hence, compensation is pivotal in attracting good talent to work for the organisation.
Companies that offer lower salaries usually see high attrition rates and lower productivity, so compensation and benefits are important in managing a workforce.
Let us take Google as an example. It is often touted to have one of the best compensation strategies. So, yes, the company does have the financial clout and confidence to implement innovative compensation approaches.
However, it does not randomly pay large salaries. Instead, it bases its compensation plans on actual data and research conducted with its employees. Then, it studies which aspects of its compensation plan produce the best results. By doing this, the company can tweak its plans to enable greater employee motivation – an extremely clever approach.
The company is also committed to paying its employees as competitively as possible and staying a step ahead of the market. It regularly conducts assessments to find out how its competitors pay their employees. This ensures that it was always among the top ten best paying companies and that their competitors cannot poach their talent using better pay as bait.
Hence, compensation and benefits are crucial factors in attracting and retaining good talent.
How to keep compensation and benefits competitive
- Understand what your competitors pay and try and match it
- Constantly update salaries based on the market rates
- Keep benefits and incentives competitive
Although reimbursement plays an important role when it comes to loyalty, employee retention is so much more. Keeping employees fulfilled and satisfied with their work is a much better route to retention.
Your employees need a work environment where they are appreciated, heard, and constantly given opportunities to learn and grow.
Employees care more about their work culture and who they work with than just what reimbursement they receive. Therefore, keeping employees happy should be the primary focus of any organisation.
In addition, when employees are satisfied in their roles and the environment and feel valued, they automatically become company ambassadors. Consequently, they stay loyal, forming a stable base for the company to grow and profit.
And now it is your turn. What are your employee retention strategies? Do you have one that is incredibly effective? Tell us! You could leave us a comment or get in touch with us. We would love to hear from you.