Retaining employees is more complex than ever in the age of quiet quitting and the Great Resignation. Yet it’s critically important, as the cost of keeping good employees is far more economical than rehiring and training new ones. This leads companies to search for the secret recipe that entices employees to stay.
There are many factors that lead to increased employee retention. So where should an organization start? Read on to discover seven ways to increase employee retention in your business.
1. Up Your Management Game
The most common reason employees leave a job is because of a manager who didn’t know how to lead. An effective management team does much more than enforce corporate policies and conduct performance reviews. Creating strategic alignment with leadership models that foster trust between employees and managers is a foundation for high retention.
Trust is a critical component of employee satisfaction. An employee who feels trusted isn’t afraid to innovate, knowing they’ll be supported even if one of their efforts fails. This psychological safety enables them to grow and encourages them to stay with the organization.
2. Engage in Conversation, Not Just Communication
Many corporate situations require messages to be delivered in a top-down communication model. However, it is important to complete the process with a feedback loop that includes employees throughout the organization.
The simple act of engaging in two-way communication through conversations builds and strengthens long-term connections. Conversations with employees about corporate decisions and changes that affect them are the difference between someone feeling invested or like a number. Stay interviews can be even more valuable discussions than exit interviews, providing opportunities to address problems before employees leave.
3. Offer a Career, Not Just a Job
Previous generations had a sense of employer loyalty, with many retiring from the organization where they began their career. By 2022, however, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that median employee tenure with the same employer had dropped to 4.1 years.
This number points up the importance of professional growth opportunities within an organization. If an employee sees no way to advance in an organization, they’ll move on. Company-paid continuing education, leadership training, and job shadowing are ways to invest in an employee’s future. Corporate ladders don’t look the same everywhere, but they all give workers a way to grow and thrive long-term.
4. Don’t Neglect Pay, Benefits, and Perks
Salary and wages have always been important drivers of both employee recruitment and retention, especially when inflation is high. The best places to work understand the importance of competitive pay and going the extra mile. When higher salaries aren’t an option, many employers provide additional income opportunities through incremental bonuses.
Today’s employees look for the most robust overall compensation package, including insurance, retirement contributions, and wellness benefits. The rising costs of healthcare, groceries, and gym expenses make additional offerings even more attractive. Additional perks can include health saving account contributions, meals provided on-site, and fitness programs with rewards.
5. Support Flexibility and Balance
Employees have unique needs and desires for a life that is about much more than work. It is no longer considered rare to provide workers with job flexibility that allows for a more balanced life.
Companies can meet their employees where they are in their life and career journeys in a number of ways. A few examples include remote work arrangements, sabbaticals, four-day workweeks, and nontraditional work hours. Many companies also offer flex-time for attending school events, going to doctor appointments, taking mental health days, or caring for ill family members.
6. Provide Work With a Purpose
Employment is a requirement for most adults, but unfortunately, most don’t feel connected to the work they do on a daily basis. Many job seekers today look for potential employers partially based on their mission, vision, values, and sense of social responsibility. A lack of purpose at work often turns into a job search for a workplace where individuals can see themselves making a difference.
Employees are more likely to stay with organizations that demonstrate the importance of their contributions in connection to a larger picture. An insurance company can emphasize how it protects customers from life’s unexpected blows; a marketing company could highlight how it helps worthy startups succeed. Higher retention, emotional investment, increased focus, and innovation all result when employees are convinced of the meaningfulness of their work.
7. Facilitate Change
Change is inevitable. Whether it is due to internal or external circumstances, the way an organization handles it says a lot. Virtually every employer experiences the need to pivot due to internal restructuring, market conditions, or new product development. Unfortunately, companies often lose employees during times of change, even when those changes are in the workers’ best interests.
People are naturally resistant to change, but organizations that invest in change management can create safe environments. Employees stay when leadership personally communicates the changes, why they are important, and how the company will support everyone.
Workplaces With Staying Power
It is not an easy task keeping workers in different stages of their life and career satisfied with their employer over time. Yet while every company and its employees are different, effective employee retention is built on common foundational pillars.
Providing workers with competitive salaries, job stability, retirement options, and affordable insurance fulfills their financial needs. Creating a culture of trust, listening to employees, and fostering their professional development will meet their emotional needs. When employees find all this in one place, co-workers become family, and the organization feels like home.