Creating a highly engaged workplace begins with having an effective employee retention strategy. Employee retention is the organization’s goal to keep talented and skilled employees. For a lower employee retention, you need to nurture and engage your talent to stop them from leaving.
Did you know, two out of three workers are planning to quit their jobs this year?
What makes these employees quit? And what makes them remain at the company? The answer to all these lies within the dynamics of employee retention.
But before we go deeper into the concepts of employee retention, let’s get some things straight.
Defining a Company
How do you define a company?
A company or an organization is an association of people who carry out tasks for that enterprise. Moreover, employees working together in a company usually share a common purpose. These people unite their skills and resources to achieve the desired goals.
And you don’t want to lose out on your people, do you?
Retention, motivation, growth are all terms interrelated to each other. Employees who receive the growth and exposure they expected, feel motivated. They feel motivated to work, are satisfied with their work and thus remain with the company.
Defining Employee Retention
Business Dictionary defines employee retention as
“an effort by a business to maintain a working environment which supports current staff in remaining with the company.”
So, employee retention is the effort taken by an organisation to hold on to their employees. Moreover, a low or high employee retention directly impacts the company’s employee turnover.
Employee turnover is the employee(s) replacing an employee who is leaving. A high employee turnover means that the average tenure of an employee in a company is less than others. It increases due to conflicts in the workplace, low employee morale. Some other elements are lack of exposure, low salaries, etc.
Knowing and managing your company’s employee turnover rate is essential if you want to stay in business for the long haul. If your turnover rate is higher than the average for your industry, it’s impossible to establish a positive atmosphere in the office.
Foster a positive work atmosphere by promoting engagement, providing competitive pay and benefits and a healthy work-life balance.
Therefore, to manage and avoid high employee turnover, retaining key employees becomes important.
Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory
Frederick Herzberg’s famous “Two-Factor theory” explains the relationship between employee retention and employee motivation.
According to him, two sets of factors influence motivation in the workplace. These factors either enhance employee satisfaction or hinder it.
First is the hygiene factor and refers to factors which enable motivation at a workplace. Hygiene factors are the physiological needs that the employees expect to be fulfilled. The absence of these factors leads to employee dissatisfaction.
The causes of employee dissatisfaction are lack of compensation, job security & working conditions. Other factors include the quality of leadership and relationships between supervisors and peers.
Second is motivators. Herzberg says employee motivation is dependent on the conditions of the job itself. These factors motivate the employees to perform better.
Some factors for satisfaction are responsibility, job satisfaction, recognition, achievement, opportunities for growth, etc.
These are also the factors for an employee to leave or stay at an organization.
Strategies to Improve Employee Retention
One4all says, 39% of workers would work harder if they are happy in their current role or organization. Certainly, employees won’t work at a place where they aren’t happy. At least, not the new generation employees.
So, what can you do to keep your employees happy and avoid job-hopping?
Listed below are 20 strategies that you can incorporate at your workplace :
Hiring the Right People
First of all, hire the right people. People who meet the organization’s expectations and whose expectations you can fulfill. One way to do this is to go beyond the textbook interview questions.
Shaping their Growth and Development
Helping employees achieve their short-term and long-term goals is crucial for employee retention.
Therefore, designing in-house training programs for employees can advance their professional development. Other methods include paying them to attend conferences, industry events, etc.
Encouraging Open Communication
You can create a workplace where employees aren’t afraid to express their opinions. In other words, a workplace where they can freely question their leaders and voice their concerns.
An “open door policy” is an effective way to establish a culture of open communication. It shows that you’re always available to listen to their opinions and concerns.
Providing out-of-the-box Benefits
Catering to the needs of your employees is important. Employers should provide benefits apart from the usual vacation leaves, sick leaves.
Moreover, employees favor benefits like financial incentives, retirement savings plan. Other benefits are sabbaticals, incentive stock options, life insurance, etc.
Appreciating your Employees
Every employee wants to acknowledgement and recognition for their work. Appreciating your employees for their efforts and achievements goes a long way.
Some meaningful ways are through handwritten thank you notes, social recognition programs, etc. These things motivate and encourage an employee to contribute and excel.
Balancing their Workload
Tower Watson says stressing your employees can be unfavorable. 57% of employees who are very stressed at work feel less productive and disengaged. Thus, encouraging team members to share the workload and take time off can be effective.
Developing Orientation Programs
Good managers always keep their employees informed. They clearly explain the policies, expectations of the employee from the beginning. Furthermore, orientation programs help employees to understand how they can contribute and excel.
Rewarding & Recognizing Employees
Sometimes, your employees expect more than a thank you or a pat on the back. When they fulfill their goals, rewarding them to congratulate their efforts is important. Corporate gifts, point-based reward system, performance awards, are some ways.
Maintaining Work and Life
Another factor associated with overburdening is maintaining the work-life balance. To take pressure off employees, share the workload, allow work from home, practice flextime.
Initiating a Mentor/Buddy Culture
Assigning a mentor or a buddy to a new employee is a great onboarding idea. The newcomer can learn about their work and the existing techniques from his mentor. Moreover, a new employee can offer a fresh take on things. As a result, this will help generate creative and innovative ideas.
When people work as a team, they produce more and are more successful. Creating a culture of collaboration where employees work in their own way but as a team helps. You can assign tasks to all team members, clarify job responsibilities and encourage them to contribute.
Bonding with Employees
A good manager works continuously to nurture his relationship with his employees. Above all, bonding with employees outside work is as important as inside the office. You can do this by celebrating your employees’ major milestones.
Team lunches, group treks, excursions are some methods to celebrate employees. Celebrating even their personal achievements- a new house, marriage- will deepen your bond.
Living up to their Expectations
Many employees feel that they don’t get the growth and exposure promised to them during hiring. Develop innovative and challenging tasks to keep your top performers engaged.
Providing Monetary Benefits
One of the major reasons that make employees quit is lack of compensation. And hiring someone new can be quite costly. To avoid this, you can give fair and just appraisal to every deserving candidate. A salary hike is another way to retain top performers.
Gamification is another way. This includes rewarding employees for coming early, zero absenteeism, excellent performance.
Practicing a Feedback Culture
Regular feedback can reduce employee turnover. Feedbacks make it easier for employees to understand and track their goals, responsibilities.
Phelps says, “There’s feedback on the work, there’s feedback on the individual’s performance and there’s feedback on how the individual’s doing in their career.”
Conducting Exit interviews
Sometimes letting go of an employee is inevitable. Hence, conducting exit interviews just before an employee is about to leave is very crucial.
An exit interview is asking a departing employee about his experience at the company. This process can help throw light into things like toxic management practices, departmental conflicts, etc.
Building Health and Wellness Programs
You can give your employees more than just sick leaves and free health checkups.
Having a health plan which takes care of the overall wellness of your employees is important. Your health plan can include meal tracking, fitness tracking activities, etc.
Providing health insurance is another great way to take care of their wellness.
Providing Leadership Opportunities
Many employees feel they are capable of contributing a lot more than their current job roles. Assigning them with the right tasks, opportunities and responsibilities can increase employee satisfaction. Consequently, you will see an increase in the level of your employee retention.
Altering Work Responsibilities
Doing the same work becomes boring and tedious.
In that case, don’t make employees stick to their laid down responsibilities. Involve them in various tasks and a chance to work with other departments. This will help generate better ideas, improve co-worker relationships. It will also make them more skilled and advance their professional development.
Generating Peer-to-Peer Recognition
To reduce employee turnover, your employees should trust and believe in each other. When they will value each other, they will help each other and work as a team. This will lessen internal conflicts, and create a culture of peer-to-peer recognition.
The Bottom Line
It’s no secret that employees don’t leave jobs but their managers.
So, it all boils down to you. As a manager, are you doing the bare minimum of at least acknowledging your employees? Have you successfully created an environment where they feel safe to confide in you? Are you sharing their workload and helping to build their team spirit?
The answer to all these lies in the above mentioned strategies. The strategies can be used as a checklist to analyse the areas you need to develop.
With that being said, it’s really time to step up your employee retention game!