9 Ways to Improve Employee Retention

Cartoon man jumping with happinessWhen it comes to employee retention, maintaining a great team is a continual effort. We already know the cost of hiring is great: time, money and energy. Getting it wrong can be a huge detriment to the company, and losing a great team member is a real upset. According to a study by the Aberdeen Group, 86 percent of employees decide within the first six months of starting a new job whether or not they will stay with the company.

Because retaining employees just begins at hiring, there’s several specific stages at which to consider your retention goals. Here’s nine tips for building an engaged team and minimizing turnover;

#1 Hire right 

Great employers realize that combatting retention issues begins with a consistent hiring process that reflects company values and gives realistic job previews. This helps them hone in on those who are actually a great fit for the role, not just applicants generally interested in a company because of its glowing reputation or competitive job perks. Think about how many thousands of applicants a well-known company like Google gets. Not everyone that is excited about how cool it would be to work there would actually be a good fit for that environment and culture. Ask interview questions that speak to an applicant’s personal work style, values, and their longer-term career goals.

Related: Hiring and Working with Generation Z (aka Generation Mobile)

#2 Onboard

Congratulations, you’ve found the perfect fit for the job! Now you need to help your new hire get acquainted with the team and settle into their new role. Create an onboarding plan that helps provide a ‘ramp-up’, as well as, welcomes them.  They’ll feel great about this new journey and empowered to ‘hit the ground running’. Happy employees are productive employees, and most importantly they’re more likely to stay with the company.

Not sure where to start? Here’s our Onboarding Checklist!

#3 Check-in often

Touch base with your team regularly, and don’t wait for them to come to you. Be available and show your employees that you’re genuinely interested, concerned and invested in them and their role. Coach managers to follow this best practice as well. It shows you value employees but also helps keep lines of communication open.

Related: “I’M TOO BUSY.” Sometimes it’s not what you say – it’s how you say it.

#4 Don’t helicopter

Checking-in often doesn’t mean hover constantly. Trust your team and let them exercise freedom and creativity in their roles.  It comes back to empowering your employees.  You take away their autonomy in their role when you micro-manage. No one can be their best with another person breathing down their neck.

#5 Train your team

Make sure your entire team has the necessary leadership training required to keep the office running like a well-oiled machine. Supervisors, in particular, should be well trained as they are crucial to keeping the team together. You’ve heard it before: “Employees don’t quit jobs. They quit managers.” You’re the CEO or Founder? Lead by example. Company values must be upheld at the top and they’ll trickle down from there.

#6 Be flexible

Companies aiming to stay competitive and retain top talent look for ways to increase flexibility in their workplace. If flex time, working remotely, or extra vacation days are possible, let the team take advantage (within reason).  If you’ve got the go-ahead to implement some of these options but aren’t sure how, start with creating a written policy. Then, hold an info-session to inform employees so they are all given accurate details from the source, can ask questions, and can get excited at the news together. 

Look for ways to offer flexibility in how employees do their jobs, see #4. Their creative genius should never be suffocated. For more on how to support creative types at work, see this blog article by HR Expert, Pierre Battah.

#7 Ask, Listen, Re-evaluate

It can be hard to know what’s really going on when you only have a bird’s eye view. Find out if employees are happy – and if they’re not, look for possible solutions or compromises. Keep an open-door policy for hearing general feedback and concerns. Perhaps the benefits package isn’t meeting most of your team’s wants or needs. Maybe everyone would rather work 10 hour days and have three-day weekends all summer.

Communication problems or a toxic employee may be affecting the team morale. Listen to employees and find ways to deal with issues before they build up. Last thing you want is to find out in an exit interview with a top performer is that the problem could’ve been easily addressed months before.

Using Officevibe engagement software is an example of an easy way to keep tabs on morale, concerns, and productivity, even when you’re on the road.

5 Reasons Small Companies Need a People Strategy, by Sarah Mullins of UptreeHR

#8 Reward and recognize often

Top talent won’t stay long in a thankless job. Positive feedback inspires, engages, and encourages employees in knowing that their efforts are successful and noticed. Be innovative about how you recognize employee accomplishments. Our friends at Blueboard offer a way for employers to reward employees with ways to check items off their bucket lists. You can send employees on spa days, sky-diving trips, pay for private music lessons, and much more! Giving hand-picked experiential rewards shows you care and know enough about them to offer them the opportunity to do something they’ve been dreaming of.

Small budget? Here’s 35 other meaningful ways to show your appreciation.

#9 Offer a path to better pay and more responsibility.

Believe it or not, some members of your team want responsibility. Not everyone wants to climb the corporate ladder to the top- for various reasons. There are ways to challenge employees and help them grow laterally instead. Perhaps they’d like to take on an upcoming company volunteering or design project, or deliver a workshop. Maybe their goal is to move into another department or role. Have career-planning conversations with your employees to get a sense of their goals and interests.  Stay competitive with pay as is realistic for your company, but don’t just reward for upward promotions. Taking these steps will not only make them better employees today, but they’ll feel respected and encouraged to push for success with you going forward.