Employee retention is more than just a way to avoid turnover costs. It’s actually central to an organisation’s ability to meet its goals which is why identifying strategies to retain staff in a culture of high turnover should be one of the main priorities of any HR department that wants to be effective. Keep in mind that no matter how well structured your strategic HR planning is, without setting in place methods to retain your best employees you will not be able to have a competitive advantage in the industry.
Below you’ll find 10 actionable employee retention strategies that will allow you to create a team that is loyal and committed.
1. Invest in professional development and training
Whether it comes in the form of training, conferences or yearly reviews, personal development is key for every staff member in any industry: even the medical sector has its own system in place - a doctor’s appraisal to support the medical staff in their professional development.
Professional development is essential to retaining employees, as well as helping organisations pivot their presence in their industries. As the professional world is being reshaped by technological advancement, it’s essential to provide staff with tools that will allow them to cope with these changes.
A great way to retain your staff is by offering continuous training. Offer seminars to newcomers to enable them to adjust quickly, and continue to provide training opportunities to employees who are looking to advance their skills and grow professionally.
Feedback is an essential tool for any organisation because it helps management and staff stay on the same page. Employees who receive continuous feedback are more satisfied at work as it helps them identify areas they need to improve and are less likely to leave the company.
2. Build a positive corporate culture
A great employee retention strategy is to actively build a positive corporate culture that will make employees feel comfortable and supported. Creating a work environment that’s void of negativity and unnecessary pressure can be a great way to retain staff in a culture of high turnover and help individuals feel more motivated to succeed.
The most effective way to promote corporate culture is by building a workplace where teamwork is one of the core values. If you are planning to use teamwork as a way to retain your best employees make sure that it moves past friendly collaboration to meaningful relationships that will help prevent people from leaving.
Communication is vital to promoting corporate culture, and you should teach staff and management to communicate effectively. Maintaining an open door policy can be an excellent way to help make staff feel more welcome and willing to take the initiative. Ensuring that there’s always someone to talk to when problems present themselves can do wonders to help reduce turnover.
3. Show appreciation
Retention and appreciation go hand in hand because there’s no better way to retain employees than by showing how much they are valued. It’s important for appreciation to be expressed verbally, but without taking any action your strategy will be lacking.
Compensation is essential in all aspects of employee management, whether that’s engagement, motivation, recruitment or retention. It’s the quintessential way of showcasing how much the company values an employee, and it should not be below industry standard. Note that if you are trying to retain your best employees through compensation you should consider a yearly salary increase, as well as monetary rewards for top performers.
Research has found that the majority of millennials would consider a job that pays less if there are important benefits. Benefits you should be offering include health insurance, recruitment fund and parental leave, while smaller benefits like free food and fitness facilities can significantly help retain staff.
4. Encourage internal advancement
Similar to professional development, it’s also important for people to know that once they advance their skills, there’s room for them within the company. Many companies fail to make their employees feel that there’s room for them in the company once they outgrow their role which often results in resignations. Make sure that you nurture internal talent and that recruitment always starts within.
There’s usually no better person to take over the duties of a supervisor than their subordinate. This not only makes the transition easier but also smoother. It can also be beneficial to corporate culture, and it’s an excellent way to retain employees.
Transfers are a great way to help employees who are stagnant as it helps them get excited about a new opportunity within the company. Provided that there’s sufficient training and support, there’s no reason for any professional not to excel in a position that’s similar to the one they were hired for, especially if the transfer is something the employee requested.
5. Hire the best
Perhaps the most effective solution in retaining staff is to always hire the best candidates. Look for candidates who have the skills for the specific role they are being hired for, but who also have potential to grow. Do not avoid job-hoppers in the hope that this will reduce turnover because many job-hoppers simply haven’t found the right company and you could be missing out on talent should you follow this strategy.
Employee referrals are not only a cost and time effective solution, they are also an excellent way to avoid turnover issues. Employees with friends in the company are not likely to look for opportunities elsewhere.
Creating a strong brand will be great for recruitment, it can also help with employee retention as it helps people start on the right foot. An individual who's excited and passionate about the opportunity to work for the company is less likely to lose interest.
6. Put together a talent acquisition team
Talent acquisition professionals are trained to look past current needs and help shape the company’s future based on its goals and mission. One of the many strategies they use is to create talent management plans that basically allow them to plan the development of each and every member of staff.
It helps create a purpose for every member of staff and provided that you share some details of that plan with staff, you’ll ensure that they’ll be interested in sticking around long enough to see if they can reach their personal goals. Make sure you help employees set their own KPIs and metrics as this will make them even more invested in their professional future.
7. Promote work-life balance
Work-life balance is essential because it helps employees perform better and it will also help retain your best employees. It’s important to understand that work-life balance does not just mean that employees should leave their personal life at the office door or that they should stop work as soon as the clock strikes 5. Allow them to blur the line between life and work as this will turn them into brand ambassadors 24/7.
Many companies are moving past the 9 to 5 work schedule as it’s now believed to be very restrictive for professionals. Flexibility is a great way to help people make the most of their personal lives and excel at work.
Help employees manage stress
Inevitably, the majority of professionals suffer from stress. Working to deadlines and having to deal with an ever-demanding workload can be extremely stressful for employees. If you are interested in retaining your best performers, you should consider taking measures to improve stress relief. It doesn’t matter whether it’s through activities or by providing mental support - you just need to do it.
8. Empower teams at all levels
Trouble can often begin when management fail to correctly support and motivate team members and, if you are unable to identify the problematic manager in question, then the end result could be a high rate of turnover. To avoid problems keep a close eye on management and make sure that they all put the company values into practice.
Deal with micromanagement issues
Micromanagement can quickly become a major issue as it breaks employee morale and results in resignations and under-performing employees. Encourage staff to speak up whenever they feel that they are being treated unfairly and follow up on those complaints with the respective manager.
Understand the bigger picture
At the same time, though, don’t alienate the top end of your hierarchy; undermining your executives is a surefire way to lose them and it’s no secret that good senior managers are hard to replace. Instead, make sure you communicate clearly and understand their motivations before questioning their decisions; this will help to keep your executives engaged, valued and easier to retain.
9. Track turnover
Turnover can be costly, but that doesn’t mean that you should panic each time someone wants to leave. Some turnover can be healthy as it helps bring in new blood. Tracking turnover can be beneficial as it can help uncover problematic people or areas within the company.
Conduct exit interviews
Exit interviews can be a great way to understand what is wrong with the organisation. Speak to people about their motives for leaving and ask for feedback as it can help improve work conditions for people within the company and retain employees.
Conduct stay interviews
It’s also important to hear from people who want remain at the company as this can help you understand what the company is doing right and direct more resources towards those areas to eliminate unwanted turnover.
10. Make the company’s mission everyone’s mission
Company goals are important because they guide internal and external decisions. To ensure that those goals are being met you need to ensure that everyone within the company understands and promotes them as well. This will not ensure success, but it will help retain staff in a culture of high turnover.
Employee retention is an issue that every HR professional should be concerned with since turnover can be extremely disruptive to organisations. By putting forth the strategies mentioned above you’ll be able to formulate effective HR policies that will allow you to create an organisation that can meet its goals. Make sure you keep an eye on any changes and updates to existing legislation and that you speak to each and every member of the staff before you start planning new strategies.
What do think is the most effective retention strategy? Let me know in the comment section below.
This article was orignally published in October 2016.