10 Effective Employee Retention Strategies

Employee turnover is on the rise. A recent survey found that over 40% of employees are considering leaving their employer this year, and business leaders are getting a wakeup call that if they don’t act, they will pay a cost to their culture and to their bottom line.

Hiring, training, and replacing talent takes time and resources. It costs employers an average of 33% of an employee’s yearly salary for their exit. When budgets are tight, it can feel challenging to institute changes that address retention, but that’s all the more reason to act. Because the truth is, people are your most expensive line item — but that line item only gets more expensive if you don’t invest in their growth and wellbeing.

Are you working to improve your retention? Keep reading to discover our top 10 employee retention strategies that companies of every size can adopt today.

1. Start from the top

Culture starts at the top. Every leader and member of the management team must act as role models to create change. Enacting policies on paper are only valuable if leaders put policies into action. When you make changes, whatever they are, embrace them and your employees will follow suit.

2. Be transparent

Things are changing all the time, especially now. It’s critical to be open and honest with employees about why changes are made. Companies that are transparent with their employees tend to have:

  • Increased employee engagement
  • Improved communication
  • An increased bottom line

Transparency begins before your employee even starts the job; it begins during the hiring process. Being transparent with candidates shows them what they can expect from you as an employer.

3. Be flexible

“Work life balance” is cited as a top reason people are leaving their jobs in 2021, with “health and family” right behind it. Employees have an increased desire to have flexible schedules and work-from-home options. Be willing to work with your people to ensure they feel they can commit to both their career and their home life. A work-from-home option isn’t possible for everyone, but some other ways to offer more support in this area include:

  • Flexible hours
  • Compressed work week
  • Desirable PTO policies
  • Childcare assistance
  • Email curfews to prevent burnout

4. Make employees feel appreciated

“Thank you” and “you’re doing a great job” are simple phrases that go a long way. If employees feel unappreciated, 66% say they would quit. Celebrate individual and team achievements and regularly give accolades. Like other cultural shifts, this starts at the top!

5. Create opportunities for growth

People desire growth, and employees want to see that there’s a clear path to achievement and advancement. Stagnation leads to termination. Some ways to present growth opportunities include:

  • Internal promotions
  • Pay incentives tied to goals
  • Training/educational opportunities

6. Invest in training

Training and education is a growth opportunity, but it deserves its own spot on this list, especially because one survey found 94% would stay at their current employer if they invested in their long term learning. Invest in educational opportunities that help employees develop their knowledge and skills. They will feel more valued and will also become stronger employees.

7. Give pay raises

We know this one can be challenging, but the high cost of turnover must be taken into consideration, especially now that many companies are offering sign-on bonuses again. To keep employees, pay them fairly and pay them well.

8. Check in with “stay interviews”

Exit interviews can provide a lot of insights (more on that next), but “stay interviews” can help bring issues to light before they lead to an exit. One-on-ones with managers, reviews, and check-ins can often be the first meetings to cancel when schedules get full. Don’t underestimate their value. Keep these meetings a priority and be receptive to feedback.

9. Manage your brand

People want to feel heard. Take exit interviews seriously to help ensure the relationship ends on better footing. Word travels fast, and disgruntled ex-employees can discourage potential new job candidates. Even if they don’t know them personally, they can reach them online through social media and websites like Glassdoor.

Speaking of Glassdoor, have you checked your company’s profile lately? It’s important to keep tabs on activity and respond to critical feedback. Potential employees read these reviews, and if they see that you’re being considerate of the feedback — or better yet, you’re making or have made changes because of it — it will reflect well on your brand.

10. Listen and act

The previous nine strategies provide ideas, but ultimately the best source is your people — the very ones you are trying to retain. Create opportunities for them to provide feedback, and take it in. Identify themes, do what you can to solve problems, and be transparent throughout the entire process.

The past several months have taught us that employees want their work to be meaningful, and desire employers who are invested in their people. They crave purpose and connection — connection to their colleagues, their managers, and the leaders at the top. As the workforce undergoes major transition, employers must change or risk losing their most valuable asset: their people.

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