Key Considerations for Improving Employee Retention
November 20, 2018
Turnover Reconstruction Begins with Employee Appreciation
It’s no mystery that a valued employee is more productive in their workplace. People don’t stick around and make plans for their future that involve major levels of stress. Employee turnover saw an all-time high in 2015 and has only remained a persistent issue today, according to an SHRM/Globoforce survey. Technology and social media are inescapable factors of society that have influenced immediate gratification, heightened expectation, and quick replacement. With access to endless information, training, and networking, most employees aren’t just looking for whatever 9 to 5 they can find - they’re looking for something that is an extension of their “personal brand”. But the main reason people are walking out the door? Lack of recognition from their managers, peers, and employers. People want to be noticed and know that their work makes a difference and according to a TINYpulse study done on over 4,500 employees, 79% of employees feel undervalued.
The way individuals perceive and carry themselves greatly affects the way others react to them, and when a co-worker feels valued, their peers are more likely to treat them accordingly. Being valued reaffirms the psychological human need for purpose. Contrary to the typical idea of “competition”, employees actually want to see one another succeed. If a manager never stops to recognize their employees, an obvious separation is created between ranks. Negative energy spreads from under-appreciation, and you can bet people will start quitting left, right, and center. That being said, there is a fine line between recognition and becoming a pushover. At the end of the day, it is a job. What we’re going for is the old Golden Rule: “treat others as you would like to be treated” - it’s common human decency.
The Benefits of Recognition and Why Employee Retention is Important
The most obvious and immediate reason to emphasize employee retention is saving company money. Training takes managers away from their regular tasks, advertising drains funds, and employee’s special skills leave with them. On average, a company will spend approximately 20% of the original employee salary to replace them. Good staff morale is based on employee relationships and, unfortunately, meaningful relationships aren’t possible when longevity is lacking. The longer an employee is around, the better they become at their job, and the more productivity spikes. Companies that maintain a reputation of good morale and low turnover tend to appeal to star talent, which leaves more options for recruiting the employees you want.Here are some results HR professionals have seen with values-based recognition programs:
- 68% saw a positive impact
- 86% found an increase in happiness in their employees
- 84% saw improved workplace relationships
- 90% saw a boost in employee engagement
What are Some Retention Strategies That Can Be Implemented to Minimize Employee Turnover?
Salary, compensation, and benefits
Turnover is rarely about salary, but it’s a no-brainer that the pay you are offering should be competitive. Show your appreciation with bonuses and follow through with compensation promises. If you are a smaller company that is unable to invest a competitive salary in employees with specific and highly experienced skills, try compensating in other ways. Make offers that help increase work/life balance for the employee, or offer help to reduce busy work.
Hire the right person from the start and avoid misrepresenting the position. If someone is overqualified but looking to move up, consider them a great asset and one that will likely stick around. Unfortunately, many employees are enticed into positions by receiving the sugar-coated version of the job. In cases like this, once the initial excitement wears off, the result will very likely be a short stay. Long term employees become brand ambassadors for referrals and avoid job description confusion. This will innately recruit the right people for your company and build a team that feels equally invested in the brand you are cultivating.
Training should be a major priority and orientation should cover more than just the basics. Introduce the employee to the company history and culture to help them thrive and see the opportunities for growth. Organize an onboarding period ranging between a few weeks to a few months so the employee has time to get settled. Thorough training will ensure the employee understands the clear requirements of their position.
Mentoring, coaching, and feedback
A mentoring program can help employees develop special skills, and a one-on-one with a more experienced employee offers a safe environment to build confidence for growth. In turn, this will open opportunities within the company for the employee and motivate them to move forward.
Respect, trust, honesty, teamwork, and striving for excellence, are among the key values to a successful work environment. Encourage employees to remain curious. By asking questions about procedures and problem solving, they are taking ownership and involving themselves in the larger picture. This is not meant to encourage criticism, but instead to find the best way to get things done. They should be equally encouraged to embrace failure, as failing is the only true way to grow. This helps employees to input their ideas or take charge, and if it doesn’t work; pivot and redirect. Conversely, employees should be encouraged to show appreciation amongst colleagues when an accomplishment is achieved. Employees should feel welcome to acknowledge each other's successes informally or through a recognition program. This helps to foster strong morale and a positive workplace culture through a meaningful connection.
The employee needs to know their employer is really listening to their questions, concerns, or input. Passing information along through too many levels may make your employees feel like their ideas have been lost in a deep, dark hole of protocol. Ensuring timely and thorough communication maintains credibility, eases tension within the ranks, and increases access to shared information from everyone within the company.
Overwork, stress, and burnout are all things you want to avoid. Pay attention to your employees and cater to their specific needs. An employee with children will have different needs than an employee who never clocks out. Use trust to blend personal life with business life. If it’s possible to let an employee work from home, where they are more productive, focused, and engaged, why not let them? Same goes for compressed work weeks or non-conventional hours. Carefully consider if they are the type to hit the deadlines, and make a decision that benefits both the employee and the company. A good employer encourages having a life outside of work.Working is such a large portion of our lives we have become desensitized to many aspects of it. Since you have to make an income anyway, why not do it somewhere that makes you feel valued?
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- Huffington Post - 3 Ways that Recognition Reduces Employee Turnover
- Forbes - New Management Research Analyzes How Recognition Affects Retention
- Brandspaycheck.com - 4 Reasons Why Employee Retention Is Important?
- hr.blr.com - Strategies for Retaining Employees and Minimizing Turnover
- Fastcompany.com - Four Employee Retention Strategies for the Modern Workplace