7 Actionable Employee Retention Strategies to Start Using From Today 0

7-Actionable-Employee-Retention-Strategies

Employee turnover, particularly in the tailwinds of COVID-19, has become a core concern. By conservative estimates, the cost of replacing one employee can range from 1.5 to 2x the person’s annual salary. Because turnover is prohibitively expensive,  actionable employee retention strategies are imperative.

Key Employee Retention Strategies to Use

Retention strategies that give real results focus on two key ingredients: engagement and job satisfaction. When you address them, retention is automatic. However, chasing engagement takes time, so a better approach to retaining employees is to focus on factors that contribute to job satisfaction.

1. Provide Clear, Constructive Feedback

Annual performance reviews don’t cut it anymore. A more effective way is frequent one-on-one meetings where you provide the employee with constructive feedback and suggestions. Regular sessions not only help managers stay connected to their team but also alleviate stress and anxiety related to work.

During the meeting, be vocal about both short and long-term goals. Chalk down a plan that helps the employee achieve those goals. By visualising career advancement (more on this in a moment), you lay the groundwork for retention.

Communication works best when it’s two-way. So, build a workplace where any employee can confidently walk up and express their thoughts, opinions or concerns.

Salesforce reports that employees who feel their voices are heard are 4.6x more likely to perform their best. Encouraging an open-door policy will create dialogue between employer and employee. It will help keep your finger on the pulse of the workforce. Moreover, it will increase the trust in leadership, and build loyalty.

2. Boost Employee Creativity

Saying you value creativity and suiting action to words are two different ball games. Ways to encourage creativity include setting up an innovation team for specific ideas, enabling risk-taking, and providing an outlet that cooks opportunities for creativity. Something as simple as 30 minutes a week for spontaneous brainstorming can become a font of creativity.

Take, for instance, the 20% Project, where an employee is free to set 20% of their work time for personal projects. A lot of companies have used it over the years. Google implemented it (until 2013) and credits it for enabling Gmail. 3M used a variation of it called 15% Culture.

3. Promote Diversity and Inclusion

Improving diversity and inclusion are critical employee retention strategies. A survey by Deloitte states that 39% of employees are happy to leave their current job in favour of a more inclusive company. 47% of employees believe the most important element when choosing a workplace is “an atmosphere where I feel comfortable being myself.”

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Ways to be more diverse include training the workforce on unconscious bias and implementing policies that unlock the growth of employees from all backgrounds.

The ROI in being diverse is proven by a McKinsey study that found “companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35 % more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians.”

On top of it, creativity is directly linked to diversity. So, by promoting diversity and inclusion, you also work on the previous retention strategy.

4. Ensure Work-Life Balance

If an employee wants to work remotely, be sensitive to that request. Keep in mind that 1 in 3 professionals who are working from home would look for a new job if required to return to the office. When completely remote working is not possible, find an alternative such as partial telecommuting, flexi-time, or compressed week. Each one helps with employee retention.

Before the pandemic, work-life balance meant not expecting the workforce to be available 24×7. After it, that definition has expanded. Yes, as managers, you need to accept people have lives beyond work borders. But you must also understand that work from home has made it more challenging.

Therefore, to retain employees, set boundaries, be supportive of time off or when projects run deep into the night, offer comp-offs. These steps will increase job satisfaction. Additionally, provide flexible work arrangements.

If an employee wants to work remotely, be sensitive to that request. Keep in mind that 1 in 3 professionals who are working from home would look for a new job if required to return to the office. When completely remote working is not possible, find an alternative such as partial telecommuting, flexi-time, or compressed week. Each one helps with employee retention.

5. Help Them Learn And Grow

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Employees who don’t get opportunities to update their skills are more disposed to leaving an organisation. Inversely, proving that you’re invested in an employee’s future works as a pivotal employee retention strategy.

Millennials and Gen-Z workers, in particular, are constantly looking for skill development. So, by investing in training programs, you can keep the top talent in-house.

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One way to shape employee growth and development is through development programs. IBM does it with SkillsBuild, a platform that offers online courses to workers. Google uses virtual platforms that help with education and skill-building. Another option is to promote conference and industry event attendance among employees.

Check out these upskilling resources for your team.

6. Create a Path to Advancement

The kernel of motivation in every individual is a desire to succeed. Employees want to know that their skills and talent make a difference to the organisation. That means providing clear feedback, the first retention strategy we mentioned, is not sufficient. You need to offer solid evidence of what an employee’s work has achieved.

When they see it for themselves, it evokes pride, and that breeds loyalty, leading to retention. Furthermore, the concrete results act as proof of their efforts, turning into a path that helps them advance.

7. Begin with Recruitment

You can teach an employee, build their expertise and even develop better skills. But you can seldom change cultural values. That’s why all employee retention strategies should begin with recruitment.

80% of employee turnover is due to bad hiring decisions, says Harvard Business Review. So, when interviewing prospects, keep cultural fit in mind. Ask out-of-the-box questions that help assess if their values align with the companies.

Onboarding people who have similar values results in more engaged employees. They blend with the team faster and contribute sooner because they are comfortable. Besides, they are more loyal.

You can teach an employee, build their expertise and even develop better skills. But you can seldom change cultural values. That’s why all employee retention strategies should begin with recruitment. Click To Tweet

Employee Retention, an Ongoing Effort

Employee retention is not a one-and-done thing. Yes, strategies like the ones above help, but true retention necessitates constant and deeper effort. For that, you need to find out the root causes of employee disengagement and discover what motivates them.

When you’re able to differentiate why some employees merely clock in while others care and stick around, you’ll be able to effortlessly retain the majority of the workforce.

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