Effective Employee Retention Strategies

Employee retention needs to be a priority for every organization. Every time an employee walks away from a company, the remaining staff members notice and they begin to wonder if they should start looking for other opportunities. High turnover hurts your bottom line as hiring and training can cost thousands of dollars, but it also hurts your company’s morale. Some employees leave based on factors out of your control, like a move or a change in their personal lives, but others leave due to decreased job satisfaction. Implementing employee retention strategies helps reduce turnover helps keep everyone happy and more productive.

Start With The Best Talent

It is much easier to retain your employees when you recruit top talent. A good recruitment process can not only help eliminate bad culture fits and poor work ethics but set clear expectations for new hires.

Target your job postings. Use job boards that target by industry, geographic location and even candidate demographics like veteran status so your postings get in front of the people who are the most qualified. Pay attention to what you say in your posting by including detailed job descriptions that not only list the position’s responsibilities and qualifications but also examples of your company culture like flexible schedules and unique benefits. You’ll give potential hires a better understanding of what it’s like to work for your company.

Communicate throughout the process. The level of communication you set during recruiting lets potential hires know what to expect as an employee. Sending frequent updates about where candidates stand in the hiring process clues them in what they can expect if hired. A good Applicant Tracking System gives you the ability to use templates and automatic reminders, making it easy to keep candidates in the loop.

Use employee referrals. Employee referral programs are a recruitment strategy that works; your employees refer a friend or acquaintance and they receive compensation. Not only are employee referral programs less expensive than outsourcing recruitment to an agency, but you’ll get candidates who likely already have an understanding of your company culture and the role itself.

Retaining Employees Guide Whitepaper

Use Effective Onboarding

Only 12% of employees believe their organization does a good job of onboarding. A bad or inadequate onboarding does little to get employees off on the right foot. Your onboarding process needs to get employees on the job quickly and encourage early engagement, which is essential for retention. Your company’s onboarding process should help you maintain compliance, by requiring all necessary employment forms, but also ensure your new employee’s emotional wellbeing. Employees who feel emotionally supported at work have more purpose, feel safe to contribute ideas and are more likely to be top performers.

Help your new employees feel safe. Your new employees want to feel physically safe while on the job. Use onboarding to explain your facility’s security procedures and go over any safety precautions to be taken.

Be welcoming. Include new employees whenever the team gets together. Encourage current employees to invite the new employee to lunch or break together. Host an after-hours, invite them to be on your group chat or text, show them where to park and so on.

Encourage friendships. Friendships at work are vital to retaining employees. One study showed employees with few or no friends at their place of employment were felt lonely and disengaged. Help kindle friendships but encouraging employees to show their personalities through their workplace décor or by allowing casual interest groups to form.

Compensate Employees Accordingly

Good recruiting practices, company culture and benefits may get employees through the door but compensation encourages them to keep returning. Competitive pay helps detour your best employees from looking towards the competition. Compensation management software automates the process by giving employees raises and bonuses based on your structure. There are many different ways to compensate employees for a job well done.

One-time cash bonuses. You can offer these types of bonuses for employee referrals, client referrals, reaching a sales goal or increasing production rates. Implementing this type of compensation program includes identifying and tracking milestones while clearly communicating requirements to employees.

Profit sharing. These annual rewards are given when a company meets or exceeds annual profit goals. The amount each employee receives is typically based on a percentage of his or her salary, so managers reap most of the benefits. On the pro side, employees know that if the company succeeds, they'll be rewarded, motivating them to do their best work.

Retention bonuses. Some companies offer bonuses to those employees who stay with the company for a certain length of time. While retention bonuses aren't as common as a one-time bonus, some companies are finding them successful at retaining critical personnel. To implement, decide how many years employees must have under their belt to receive this bonus and if it pays in increments like every five years.

Offer Work Life Integration Options

Employee burnout is a real thing. According to Gallup, about 67% of employees say they are sometimes, very often or always burned out at work. One way to counteract burnout is to alleviate stress in ways that help your employees balance their work and home lives. Work-life integration gives employees the ability to work when it is convenient for them. Unlike work-life balance, which tries to find an unrealistic balance between home and work, work-life integration focuses more on blending them together.

For example, offer:

  • Flexibility to work from home
  • Varied arrival and departure times
  • Two-week long vacations with a couple of hours of work each day
  • Working early before the kids go to school
  • Taking a break during the day and finishing up at night

These types of work-life integration options are geared towards employees who need to always be available because they answer to clients or are depended upon by co-workers. For those skilled employees who don’t work behind a desk or must be on a job site, consider these work-life integrations:

  • Give personal tech time breaks so they can remain connected with family
  • Allow employees to work together to self-schedule or switch shifts
  • Provide a competitive amount of PTO
  • Encourage managers to lead by example by prioritizing family obligations and taking PTO

Implement Management Best Practices

Your managers set the tone for their entire department, good or bad, and while managers can’t control everything that goes on in their department, like toxic employees, they can implement strategies that increase engagement and productivity, giving way to better employee retention.

Mentor your employees. Employees are more likely to stay with a company if they feel like it is invested in them, especially millennials. And mentoring has been shown to increase retention rates for minorities and women. Mentoring opportunities consist of managers guiding employees with one-on-one coaching sessions but also peer-to-peer mentoring from a coworker.

Don’t micromanage. While you don’t want to ignore your employees completely, you shouldn’t hover over them either. Micromanaging projects may lead your employees to think you don’t trust them to do their job, increasing their dissatisfaction. Check-in with employees and offer suggestions on how to deal with projects and issues.

Focus on development. Retention rates can improve when employees feel like they have a future with your company. Using a learning management system to provide training opportunities shows your employees you care about their career path at your organization. Encourage obtaining certifications, send employees to conferences or allow them to attend webinars.

Conduct stay interviews. Stay interviews allow managers to figure out what motivates their employees to work at their company. Asking questions during these interviews will help you determine how an employee feels about your company culture, equipment and benefits.

According to SHRM, ask questions like:

  • What do you look forward to when you come to work each day?
  • What do you like most or least about working here?
  • What keeps you working here?
  • If you could change something about your job, what would that be?
  • What would make your job more satisfying?
  • How do you like to be recognized?
  • What talents are not being used in your current role?
  • What would you like to learn here?
  • What might tempt you to leave?

Managing your talent, all while keeping them happy and engaged, is a big job. BirdDogHR’s Talent Management System provides companies with the tools to get the job done. Our software modules, like our ATS, Onboarding, Compensation Management, Performance Management and Learning Management, simplify your HR processes so your employees can work more efficiently, allowing you to focus on big picture items that will allow your company to reach its goals. To see the system in action, schedule a demo today.