It is always cheaper to keep an employee than to hire a replacement. Your employees are the backbone of your organization and carry institutional knowledge that helps your company thrive. Improving retention should be the goal of any business to nourish organizational growth and develop a lasting enterprise.
Why Workers Are Leaving
It is currently something of a "sellers' market" for employees. Good talent can often find work elsewhere quickly and, as a result, increasingly hold companies to a higher standard. Failing to meet these standards can leave you with vacant positions or, worse, a team full of "warm bodies."
So, why do they leave? Primary reasons include inadequate salary, not feeling supported, a desire for advancement (and the feeling they can't get it with you), or management issues. These have increased over the typical reasons, such as wanting a change or getting a better offer.
Retention is hard right now, especially for smaller companies that may struggle to provide the resources employees want and need.
However, there are some things you can do.
Tips to Improve Your Employee Retention
1. Improve Your Hiring and Onboarding Process
Employee retention starts the moment you begin interviewing. An efficient hiring process leaves a great first impression and demonstrates your organization’s structure. It makes your employees feel supported and shows that your company is organized and competent. Remote onboarding that allows an employee to start working immediately on their first day rather than wasting time waiting for, say, IT to finish setting up their account can go a long way.
Companies have further reason to develop a quality interview process since poorly conducted interviews also often result in choosing candidates who are unsuited to the position or not a great fit. That results in higher turnover as 66% of workers have found they started a role at some point they found was a bad fit, half of which quit within six months.
When conducting interviews, it’s crucial to formulate questions that determine if candidates have the necessary skills and competence to perform the necessary job duties. You want the questions to target the desired skills and competencies to determine whether they have the skills or capacity to learn them. Your questions should also target the candidate’s values, as you can teach skills, but you cannot teach work ethic and integrity.
2. Offer Better Health Care and Retirement Benefits
Many small companies don't offer benefits or offer insufficient benefits. Employees may have no choice but to leave to find better benefits, especially if they are part of a growing family. Retirement is also critical. Offering better benefits shows that you care for them and their family and have values that put employees first.
3. Create Better Communication Channels
Communication keeps your team and staff working together. Make sure you streamline your processes to keep employees informed and create unified guidance. That might include good collaboration tools and a well-written employee handbook that ensures everyone knows how things work.
4. Provide Employees With Relevant Support
New employees, in particular, need to be able to ask questions and get help where they need it. A mentorship program can go a long way toward providing this support. It gives them a point-person for asking questions, helping them feel assured that support is near.
For more experienced employees, peer support is vital, and supervisors should always be willing to answer any questions.
5. Support Employees With Regular Feedback
When the only time an employee hears from their manager or supervisor is for negative criticism, you have a problem. Resentment tends to build, not to mention issues going uncorrected until they become serious.
Regular one-on-ones are the best way to provide the feedback employees need, and criticism should always be tempered, as much as possible, with comments about what the employee did well. You should always mention excellence and give praise as needed.
6. Offer Training and Development Programs
Many younger employees believe they need to change jobs every few years to advance—meaning they are always looking for the next opportunity.
Providing ongoing training and development programs shows employees that you invest in their future. Promoting from within and nurturing potential leaders as you find them is often better. Not only does this encourage employees to stick around, but it is easier and cheaper to fill the vacant lower positions when they move up.
7. Recognize Employees for Their Achievements
Both managers and peers should recognize employees for their achievements. Furthermore, you should link these to your company's core values. They should not just be, for example, related to sales volume or any numerical value. Commending staff for their behavior and living up to company values makes them feel appreciated and reinforces a positive work culture by leading through example.
8. Allow for Better Work-Life Balance
Demanding a 24/7 work culture is a quick way to have all your employees heading for the door. Flexible work arrangements have become expected and allow you to retain talent who may be going through life changes, such as caring for young children or elderly parents. More employees expect or seek hybrid or remote work situations to help them achieve this balance.
Offering these scheduling options helps, as does setting a good example in terms of leaders not working excessive hours. When leaders go home and take a break, everyone else does too, and productivity generally improves.
9. Invest in a Culture of Teamwork
Finally, you invest in developing a culture of teamwork that instills positive habits and a sense of care. When your employees work as a team, nobody becomes overburdened, and people develop relationships that encourage them to stay around.
Let a PEO Help You Focus on Your Team
A professional employer organization can help with many of these things. They can provide better benefits at a more affordable rate, give advice on training and recognition programs and, above all, take routine tasks away from you and your HR team. That helps free your staff to focus on improving culture and other things which increase retention in both the short and long term.