Three Ways You Can Start Improving Employee Retention Right Now

Employees Celebrating

While commesurate salary and benefit options were enough to attract and retain their parents and grandparents, younger jobseekers and employees are more focused on skill-building and experience-gathering to prepare their next opportunities. That means the good old days of earning an employee’s undying loyalty to a single employer, and assuming that an employee’s career will last until retirement within the walls of any single organization, are long gone.

Factoring in a few outliers, it’s safe to say that most of an organization’s top employees will leave for a better opportunity down the road. But you might have more control of when they do than you might think.

Devoting organizational resources dedicated to improving employee retention is a critical step to keeping your people as long as possible, and has emerged as a competitive necessity for two specific reasons. If retaining current employees seems like a difficult concept, then sorting through jobseekers in the available employment pool who fit your company’s culture, excel at the job, and consistently contribute at a high level to the organization, will be even harder. Additionally, the investment required to recruit, hire, train, and engage quality employees deserves a suitable return – and watching a hire walk out the door after spotting a better opportunity can be crushing to a company, it’s resources, and it’s recruitment team.

A 2017 Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD) study on employee retention found that 78% of employers experience difficulty retaining their employees. So unless you’re one of the lucky 22%, when it comes to retention, where should you start?

Begin with working to understand, appreciate, and more importantly, act, on the needs and expectations of current and potential employees, especially younger talent you’ll want to attract and keep within your organization for as long as possible.

  1. Consider Work/Life Balance: More and more employees expect flexibility in their work schedules. The new idea of “work” does not fit comfortably with a traditional 9-5 mentality, but that can work to a company’s advantage. Offering flexible schedules, remote work opportunities, and giving more control to employees about when, where, and how they work, are key factors to long-term employee satisfaction and retention.
  2. Review Current Benefits: What are you offering employees beyond the standard healthcare and life insurance benefits? Do you have programs that encourage employees to attain a strong work/life balance, or to help manage stress they may incur on the job? Think about ways that you can address concerns and conundrums that fall into both the personal and professional spheres of an employee’s life. A typical worker spends almost 60% or more of their waking hours at work, so by offering stress management programs, on-site or nearby gym memberships and wellness programs, you can ensure your employees feel healthy, supported, and committed to doing their best work.
  3. Recognize and Reward Employees: Top performing employees expect to be recognized and rewarded for their contributions, not patted on the back and thrown back into the mix of their average or under-perfoming peers. Consider how employees are currently rewarded and recognized throughout your organization and think about where you can invest resources and improve. Monetary compensation is always well-received, but look outside the box for ideas that set your company apart. Consider a mentorship program with senior leadership, one that aims at developing a sense of company loyalty and demonstrating an investment in an employee’s potential and career growth.

If employers are stuck in a rut of thinking a job offer is enough to earn long-term loyalty, they’re going to spend more time and resources addressing constant turnover within their organization. By investing in retention efforts, employees may be more willing to stay in organizations that reflect their values and expectations, especially when they encounter an employer that is dedicated to giving back to them as much as they’re willing to give to the company.