Replacing employees is expensive, plain and simple. Regardless of business size, industry studies show the total cost of losing an employee can range from 1.5-2X the employee’s annual salary.
And while there may not be a silver bullet to fight employee turnover, we’ve put together a list of nine sure-fire employee retention strategies that will help you re-engage and keep your top performers.
1. Find why people are leaving (and then fix it)
When it comes to retention, the details matter. Has more than one employee quit because they weren’t being treated fairly? Is your company being priced out by a competitor? Have the majority of those lost been low performers? This type of information can be obtained through exit interviews and honest conversations with current employees.
Beyond exit interviews, businesses must be proactive in their efforts to retain top talent. Engagement surveys allow companies to measure employee sentiment and get ahead of turnover by keeping a pulse on its warning signs. One caveat? If you’re going to solicit feedback, you have to act on it.
2. Create a world-class onboarding process
Make sure there’s a solid plan in place for new hire’s first 30 days, especially day one. Whether it’s a small gift, team breakfast, or personal note from the company founder, do whatever it takes to make a new employee feel welcomed and part of the team as early as possible.
Considering the tie between employee loneliness and turnover, these small acts of kindness and inclusion will pay dividends in the long run.
3. Tie employee work to greater company initiatives
With 93% of employees unable to tie their day-to-day work to organizational goals, it’s no surprise disengagement and turnover are on the rise.
When employees can’t see their impact on a business, it reduces meaning, and productivity, among other things. To re-connect employee’s to their sense of purpose, try re-imagining your goal-setting process using the Google-approved OKR method, goal management software, or both.
4. Ensure managers are giving positive feedback
Even the best managers forget to verbalize what their direct reports are doing well. This simple act boosts employee confidence and builds the trust needed for when negative feedback is necessary.
To increase recognition-driven engagement, try enhancing your recognition and rewards program. Investing in tools like employee recognition software can help foster a real-time positive feedback culture where employees feel valued for wins both big and small.
5. Communicate the shared vision
People feel engaged, valued, and loyal when they’re in the know. As much as possible, allow employees from all levels in your company to know where you’re going, and how you’ll get there.
This is how Zingerman’s — a company based in Ann Arbor, MI with crazy high retention numbers — teaches their entire staff to think like an owner.
6. Perform regular compensation analyses
Pay is not #1 on the job candidate’s priority lists, but we’d be lying if we said it didn’t matter. In order to retain quality employees, compensation plans need to not only be fair, but competitive. If you’re not already doing annual compensation analyses, now is a good time to start. You can find one step-by-step guide to creating a compensation analysis here.
7. Offer learning and development opportunities
Access to growth opportunities is the fastest-growing reason people leave jobs. In 2018, 61% of job seekers ranked career growth as most important when looking for new opportunities. (For younger workers, it’s 65%.)
But don’t worry, if you’re unable to offer promotions, many employees consider a lateral move just as valuable as an upward one. When given opportunities to develop new skills, quality employees jump at the chance.
8. Stay on top of trends
There are environmental factors at play that we have absolutely no control over, and unfortunately, they affect our retention anyway. To execute successful employee retention strategies, it’s important to be aware of the ways in which the world of work is changing, and to adapt accordingly.
Current trends include (but are not limited to): the rise of the gig economy, intentional job-hopping, and increased flexibility.
9. Say farewell, well
Even for the best places to work, it’s unrealistic to expect people to stay at the same company for decades anymore. In fact, the current median number that employees stay put hovers around 4.2 years.
If someone gets a better opportunity, be happy for them! Then get to work on fixing the problem of why you weren’t the better opportunity.