By: Caitlin Gibson
It’s never been more imperative to address employee retention. Job openings in the U.S. have reached a record high of 7.4 million, far outweighing the 5.9 million people who are unemployed. Job-hopping has become the preferred career trajectory of almost half the U.S. workforce, and, right now, more than 50% of U.S. employees are actively searching for a new job. In short, it’s a candidate’s market.
Employers must develop retention strategies that suit their company and industry, and what those plans should include isn’t mysterious. When employees are asked what would keep them loyal to a company, their answers are consistent: increased pay, better benefits, flexible working hours, and perks that serve a healthy work-life blend.
For employers, it’s easy to identify these in-demand elements; it’s funding them that poses a challenge.
For employees, assessing whether their company is a good fit doesn’t stop at weighing the value of their take-home pay or the ability to work from home; it extends to an analysis of the company’s culture and core values communication.
Put simply, employees are frustrated. They feel unappreciated, unseen, and devalued at work. Paths to advancement are unclear, if they’re documented at all. Months go by without receiving meaningful feedback on their performance, leaving them to question the purpose of their role, where the company is going, and how they fit into the bigger picture.
The daily grind is cluttered with too many emails and meetings. Despite that influx of information, communication about organizational changes is inconsistent and unclear. Plans, actions, and programs seem to launch without an accountability structure or transparency.
Effective Employee Retention Strategies
So, how can employers quell this frustration and reduce the national 20% turnover rate without straining the budget?
1. Prioritize transparency.
This idea gets tossed around a lot, void of actionable steps that make it possible, but it can be achieved. Employers need to share information consistently and clearly, reporting how the organization’s doing and highlighting metrics that capture what’s going well and where there’s room to improve.
All employees should know where the company’s headed, how it’ll get there, and which goals and objectives guide the journey.
Practically, it starts by training managers to cascade information effectively, so everyone’s on the same page, even as the company navigates change, making employees 23% more likely to stay.
2. Provide tools for success.
Skill-building and career development programs are not only some of the most cost-effective ways to reduce turnover; they have the highest impact on employee retention.
Employees who feel they’re progressing in their career are 20% more likely to still be working at their company in one year’s time, and 94% of employees will stay at a company longer if it invests in their careers.
In the more immediate future, employees deserve clear processes for escalating issues and requests. Employers are responsible for establishing and communicating policies that outline which steps to take and what to expect along the way.
Matching each job to the appropriate technology is essential, but that doesn’t mean a company-wide upgrade is in order. Simply reducing inefficiencies within existing processes with the right system makes employees more productive.
3. Focus on employee satisfaction.
Pay attention to quarterly or annual feedback surveys. After telling employees they’ve been heard, implement changes based on their ratings, showing you value their feedback.
Revisit policies around flexible working hours and remote work. These arrangements impel 80% of employees to stay, knowing their company values a healthy work-life blend.
Determine which employee-requested perks could be realized. Commuter benefits like subsidized transportation are considered beneficial by 86% of the workforce and help a perks package stand out.
Find or create a forum to spotlight individual achievements. Enabling managers and colleagues to laud accomplishments doesn’t come with a price tag, and it makes a noticeable impact on retention. When employees feel valued, they’re much less likely to leave.
4. Fine-tune your onboarding process.
20% of turnover happens in the first 45 days on the job, so onboarding should be more than a one-week orientation. Provide new hires with a designated mentor, team building opportunities, and regular check-ins. An extended program motivates high performance and inspires new employees to help the company achieve its goals.
Companies that implement these strategies see results. Organizations that strengthened their onboarding process improved retention by 82% and productivity by over 70%. Employees who were given the tools to know and understand their company’s mission and values are now 51 times more likely to be engaged in their work.
For each barrier to employee retention, there are actionable steps employers can carry out. Internal policies can shift. Company culture can be transformed. Benefits can be updated and onboarding practices refreshed. Employers can also ensure that the proper employee benefits communication is in place, so employees understand what they have access to. It all starts by crafting an employee retention strategy that matches each retention challenge to a specific solution.