Creating a highly engaged workplace begins with having a set of effective employee retention strategies. Employee retention is the organization’s goal to keep talented and skilled employees.
You need to nurture and engage your talent to stop them from leaving. Two out of three workers are planning to quit their jobs this year. What makes these employees quit? And what makes them remain with 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. Employees working together usually share a common purpose. They 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, are motivated. They are motivated to work, are satisfied with their work life 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.”
These efforts taken by the employer to retain employees results in employee turnover.
Employee turnover is the number of employees who replace a departing employee(s). 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. Other elements are lack of exposure, low salaries, etc.
This turnover can be reduced by fostering a positive work atmosphere to promote engagement, and providing competitive pay and benefits and a healthy work-life balance.
To manage and avoid high employee turnover, retaining key employees becomes important.
Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory
Frederick Herzberg’s “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.
The first is called hygiene factor and refers to factors which enable motivation at a workplace. The absence of these factors leads to employee dissatisfaction. Hygiene factors are the physiological needs that the employees expect to be fulfilled. 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.
The second factor is motivators. Herzberg says employee motivation is dependent on the conditions of the job itself. These factors motivate the employees to perform better. Factors for satisfaction include 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. They don’t receive the job satisfaction they expected in the beginning.
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
To retain employees, the first step is to 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.
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. A workplace where they can freely question their leaders and voice their concerns. This can be practiced effectively by creating an “open-door policy.” An “open door policy” shows that you’re always available to listen to their opinions and concerns.
Similarly, they expect you to guide them on the areas that need to be improved and review their progress.
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. 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 be acknowledged 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. Encouraging team members to share the workload and taking 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. Help employees understand how they can contribute and excel with great orientation programs.
Rewarding & Recognising 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, etc are some ways.
Maintaining Work and Life
Another factor associated with overburdening is maintaining the work-life balance. This can be done by not assigning work to employees on weekends, allowing work from home, practicing flextime, etc.
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 with innovative ideas.
When people work as a team, they produce more and are more successful. Creating a culture of collaboration allowing employees to 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. Bonding with employees outside work is more important. This can be done 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 they were promised 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. 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 throws 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. This will eventually lead to employee retention.
Altering Work Responsibilities
Doing the same work becomes boring and tedious. 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 the employees 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 most of the times, 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? You may use these strategies as a checklist to survey the things you’re already doing and those you really need to do. It’s time to step up your employee retention game!