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How to Improve Employee Retention

19 August 2021 by Sarah Connell
How to Improve Employee Retention

Improve Your Employee Retention

Employee retention should always be a key priority in any business. Talent is your biggest asset – this is vital to remember. For a company to succeed, employers need to keep their best employees on board, because retention is the single most important thing for growth.

With the new normal of remote and hybrid work, employees now have a wider range of potential employers to consider working for than ever before.

Business leaders need to develop a range of strategies to positively impact employee retention. By building a culture of recognition, open feedback channels, and other key techniques, you can boost your retention efforts this year and beyond.

Why do employees leave?

Before we look at ways to increase employee retention, it's best to look at some of the possible reasons why employees decide to leave a company in the first place.

Exit interviews can provide invaluable insight into the employee viewpoint of your company and help establish whether your employee retention strategies need improvement.

Employees resign for many different reasons. More than likely, you’ll hear the departing employee cite one or more of the following reasons for leaving their job:

  • Lack of flexible work options

  • Wanting to work remotely

  • Feeling burnt out

  • A need for better work-life balance

  • Lack of appreciation and recognition

  • Dissatisfaction with the company culture

  • Lack of engagement

  • Lack of career growth and development

  • Relationship with management

  • Lack of autonomy

Employee retention strategies

While the job market in some industries favours employers, candidates with in-demand skills likely won’t have to wait long to find a new opportunity. Many companies never stopped hiring during the pandemic, and a lot that did are now starting to increase staff levels again.

If you think your company is at any sort of risk of losing top talent, you should consider looking at and developing your employee retention strategies.

Here are some areas where deliberate action can help boost your employees’ job satisfaction and increase your ability to hold onto valued employees:

1. Work / Life Balance

Do you expect staff to be available around the clock? A healthy work-life balance is essential to job satisfaction and employee retention. At Mason Alexander, we recently conducted research into retention, where a massive 30% of our respondents see the lure of a proper work/life balance as the biggest attraction to move job.

Employees need to know their managers understand they have lives outside of work — and recognise that maintaining balance can be even more challenging when working from home. A work/life balance can involve offering flexible and remote working, encouraging employees to focus on productivity rather than hours, encouraging breaks from working, regularly reviewing workloads, providing employees time to volunteer, providing wellness activities, and so on. If late nights are necessary to wrap up a project, managers should consider giving those employees extra time off to compensate.

2. Recognition and Rewards Systems

Every person wants to feel appreciated for the work they do. And in today’s hybrid workforce an employer’s gratitude can make an especially big impact.

Recognition is free. So be sure to thank your staff who go the extra mile and explain how their hard work helps the business to succeed. Make them feel special and appreciated for their contributions. Make recognition part of your company culture so that you aren’t the only person doing it and the whole team will start to naturally recognise each other for their efforts and hard work.

Some companies set up formal rewards systems to incentivise great service, ideas, and innovation, but you can introduce compelling recognition programs even if you have a small team or limited budget.

3. Career Opportunity & Development

Make it a priority to invest in your workers’ professional development. Upskilling is especially important today as technology continues to change how we work. When employees upskill, they’re gaining new abilities and capabilities as business requirements continue to evolve.

26% of our respondents said that career opportunities are a driver to move jobs. So, by investing in your workforce, they will feel valued and more inclined to reinvest back into your organisation. Maximise opportunities for employees to develop their skills, where possible. Providing opportunity and encouragement to grow into new skills and roles is crucial for employee engagement and retention.

4. Communication

Communication right now is more important than ever. Communicate with your employees regularly with honesty, transparency, and empathy in group meetings but also during one-to-one discussions and check-ins. There is still a lot of stress caused by the uncertainty caused by COVID-19, along with a number of other personal factors, but as a leader, you can alleviate some of that anxiety by addressing these emotions. Be vulnerable and communicate regularly with care, empathy, compassion, and honesty. By acknowledging what people are going through, you are helping them be more resilient, confident, and optimistic. By showing you care about your employee’s well-being, you will be able to retain your staff better.

5. Flexible work arrangements

Managers should be having open conversations around flexibility with their team members, in order to identify what types of flexibility are most important to them based on their unique circumstances.

As offices begin to reopen after the pandemic forced their closures, many companies are preparing for the fact that some of their employees will still want to work remotely, at least part-time. If remote working on a permanent basis isn’t an option for your company, think about what you can offer employees instead. A compressed workweek? Flexitime? Dedicated days in the office and at home? All of these options can help relieve stress for your team — and boost employee retention.

6. Wellness offerings

Keeping your employees fit — mentally, physically, and financially — is just good business. The pandemic encouraged many leading employers to expand and improve their wellness offerings to help employees feel supported and prioritise their well-being. Establishing a wellness committee, providing stress management initiatives, retirement planning services, and reimbursement for fitness classes are just some examples of what your business could consider providing to your staff. Showing your employees that their mental and physical health is important to you, is essential to retain key staff for the long term. 

7. Additional Benefits 

Provide your employees with the benefits they need. Benefits are a big competitive advantage when recruiting and they also help drive your retention because a lot of employees won’t want to leave a company with good benefits. Some of the most important employee benefits include: full flexibility, paid leave, employee assistance programs, flexible working, healthcare cover, company pension schemes, maternity leave, and childcare support.

8. Team Building

It’s vital to plan fun team-building activities. To engage and retain staff, give them a sense of belonging – incorporate fun activities during the day and organise virtual happy hours every now and then. When employees share their interests outside of work, they form stronger bonds with each other than when they strictly talk about work. Fun team activities create meaningful connections, which gives team members a sense of well-being and also makes them feel more fulfilled at work.

Conclusion

The 8 employee retention strategies outlined above are just some ways to help increase your employees’ job satisfaction. However, be sure to reassess your efforts regularly. That includes staying up-to-date on market standards for salary and benefits, and best practices for developing an attractive workplace culture and strong manager-employee relations.

When you feel like you belong, and that you’re an important team member, you want to naturally work harder and stay longer in your role. Employees want to know that their employers will take care of them even more during a crisis when their lives are more challenging. They want to be at a company that is always being honest, communicating openly, and promoting the programs and benefits that will help solve their work and personal problems.

It’s unavoidable that some team members will leave your organisation sooner than you’d like. But you can at least make their decision a little harder. And if those employees leave your firm knowing they were valued and supported, they’ll likely say positive things about your business and, perhaps, even come back to work for you one day.

As we proceed through the pandemic and eventually navigate through the aftermath, one thing is very clear, the more we solve for human needs, the more we can create a highly engaged, healthy, and effective workforce. And, when workers are happy and productive, retention no longer becomes an issue.

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