How to retain great talent: Hiring is only the beginning
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How to retain great talent: Hiring is only the beginning

We live in what has been characterized as the era of the Great Resignation. A record number of 4.53 million Americans have quit their jobs, with this number possibly growing bigger as we speak. What’s happening? And most importantly, how can you prevent it from happening in your company?

This unprecedented surge in employee turnover is largely attributed to the COVID health crisis. The ongoing pandemic has created a new reality and brought forth the importance of flexible work schedules and work-life balance. In addition, it has seriously widened the job market for employees, who can now seek employment in different cities, countries, and even continents.

Therefore, at this point, talent retention is as important as ever but also harder than it has ever been. Fortunately, employee turnover is not attributed to “bad luck.” Which means that it’s something you can prevent from hitting your company.

In this post, we’ll discuss the benefits of employee retention for your business. Next, we’ll share with you 8 innovative employee retention strategies to keep your company safe and sound.

Why employee retention is important

You’ve probably already experienced employee turnover at some point and have felt its consequences deep in your skin. Below, you’ll find 5 compelling benefits of employee retention that will make you step up your retention strategy.

1. Avoid the (considerable) cost of hiring

Losing a skillful employee is bad as it is. To add salt to injury, think about how much it costs to recruit a new one. Well, here it is: the average cost of hiring is $4,425.

How come hiring is so expensive? The recruitment process, training the new hire, and, finally, the limited productivity during the first months of employment add up quickly and make hiring a costly business.

Retaining employees doesn’t come for free, either. For example, you’ll have to invest in training and perks to keep employees happy. But if you measure the benefits that come with employee retention, it’s an investment you simply need to make.

2. Maintain productivity and smooth workflow

An organization that keeps working like a clock is another benefit of employee retention. This is mainly because of a little thing known as “time to productivity” for new hires.

Time to productivity measures the time that it takes a new employee to become fully productive. This depends on a number of factors, such as the difficulty of the position, the relevant experience of the new hire, and the quality of the onboarding training they receive. Inevitably, all new employees need from a few weeks to a few months before they can reach their full potential and make noteworthy contributions to their teams.

Another hit to productivity when employees leave comes from the fact that other employees’ workload is affected, too. Employees take on tasks they may or may not be familiar with, and need to stay late if they have to meet deadlines. The workday gets tougher for everyone, and things get done a bit more slowly and less efficiently.

3. Build stronger teams

Another benefit of employee retention is that it keeps your team strong as a fist. That’s because human relationships are a big part of a business. When employees come and go often, employee morale and workplace relations suffer. People miss their old colleagues and friends, and the new hire might take some getting used to.

When employees don’t feel connected to their coworkers, they don’t feel connected to your company either. Strong and steady work relationships improve efficiency and productivity and are essential to prevent and overcome friction.

Most importantly, they help teams weather the storm together when a project doesn’t go as planned or when this monthly goal just seems unreachable.

4. Keep knowledge in-house

You know how the phrasing goes: nobody is irreplaceable. But when a skilled, experienced employee goes, along go their knowledge and value they bring to the table. With each departing employee, your teams fall behind. Even if you have a knowledge transfer plan in place, there are things that can’t be taught.

If turnover among top talent spreads, it’ll become hard to recover from. Don’t be surprised if customer complaints start increasing and deadlines aren’t met.

5. Increase employee satisfaction

It’s easy to understand how employee satisfaction impacts employee retention. The opposite is also true: retaining employees has a positive impact on overall employee satisfaction. And it’s obvious why.

When top talent stays put, the workplace continues to run smoothly, employees maintain strong relations, and your company continues uninterrupted its way to the top.

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Employee retention strategies that work

Now that you’ve learned a bit more about the benefits of employee retention, you must be eager to learn how you can achieve it! Without further ado, below we share 8 employee retention strategies to keep people happy in your organization.

1. Get the right people on board

In Good to Great, author Jim Collins published his findings of a management study performed in the ’90s. One of the strategies derived from that study was that companies should focus on “getting the right people on the bus and then into the right seats.

Collins’ team realized that focusing on people should come before focusing on KPIs and profit margins. Once you have an “A-plus” workforce, then you can focus on the business at hand.

Talent retention begins with the hiring process. Make sure you’re interviewing the right candidates for the position in your team. Set up some time for the candidates to meet with tenured team members to ensure they’re a good cultural fit. Consider inviting other managers to join you during interviews to gather additional opinions. Ask both behavioral and situational interview questions. Spend time developing your internal interview process.

2. Offer feedback

Don’t assume employees will intuitively know when they’re doing well. Instead, encourage your managers to offer feedback frequently and not only once a year during the formal employee performance reviews. There are a couple of things you need to be careful with when giving feedback, though.

Although you should always be honest, make sure that negative feedback ends on a positive note and comes from a good place. Focus not only on what has gone wrong but also on the strengths of the employee and ways they can improve. Offer the underperforming employee additional training or other resources they may need. Be flexible and consider moving the employee to another position if they feel they might be a better fit there.

3. Show some appreciation

Is it enough to tell employees they’re on the right track? Not really. The next step should be to acknowledge good work and reward employees. The easiest thing to do is give heartfelt congratulations for extraordinary achievements and efficient collaboration among different teams.

When appreciation is expressed company-wide, employee morale improves and there’s a new energy in the workplace.

Apart from that, you can also express your appreciation in more tangible ways. Give bonuses, offer gift cards and free tickets, and give a raise to employees with consistently high performance. In the same spirit, be fair in how you promote employees and don’t hesitate to challenge high performers with new tasks.

4. Elevate your perks

Most employers have stepped up their game in terms of perks. Employees now expect a private insurance plan, extra days of vacation, and remote work or flexible work schedules.

Some companies even offer discounts for gym memberships and organize annual retreats and company events. Choose what feels best for your employees’ needs and your company culture.

5. Invest in professional development

Another crucial aspect of employee retention is to offer professional development opportunities. Your best employees want—and need—to develop their skills. They’re hungry for knowledge and will always be on a quest to learn and improve themselves professionally. Tuition reimbursement programs are highly regarded by employees who want to continue their education.

Offer to pay for courses of their choice that will enrich their work skills. Buy off-the-shelf courses for them, or create your own training courses if you need a more custom-made solution. Choose eLearning courses over onsite training whenever possible, as these offer more flexibility and address the needs of remote or hybrid workplaces.

Small business owners often argue they can’t afford training. But training doesn’t have to be costly. You can choose an affordable, scalable LMS with a free plan and then move to higher tiers as your company grows. And, if anything, when it comes to training vs hiring, make no mistake; training is the cost-effective option.

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6. Keep the virtual spark alive

Whether you operate with a fully remote workforce or have a few remote employees among your staff, it’s important to help employees get to know each other and not lose touch. What better way than to organize virtual team activities, like game nights and coffee breaks!

Another idea is to hold a brief meeting twice a week just to catch up and discuss what’s going on in everyone’s lives. Make sure to be discreet though. Don’t overshare or pressure anyone to disclose more than they feel comfortable with. Some people prefer to maintain strictly professional relationships and keep their distance, so respect that.

7. Don’t put up with mediocrity

Few things can send your employees out the door faster than seeing slackers thrive. Serial underperformers should not be among your workforce, and for more than one reason.

First, people that consistently miss deadlines make everyone’s life in the workplace harder. These people hold their teams back. They put an extra burden on team members that have to wait for them to do their part before they can move on with a project. Plus, they’re often the reason some might need to do extra work to fill the gap.

Second, seeing fellow coworkers get away with poor or little work makes diligent employees feel wronged. Some might eventually get the idea that it’s okay to slack off and lose their motivation to perform well in a company that obviously has low standards. Sooner or later, your top employees will lose their motivation and their respect, and wave you goodbye.

8. Create a positive workplace

As mentioned before, keeping employee morale high and creating strong bonds among employees are essential to employee retention. For this reason, take several steps toward creating a positive workplace where everyone feels safe and at ease.

Besides offering perks and benefits, organize team bonding activities, respect work-life balance, and create an inclusive workplace that respects everyone. Keep an open-door policy, so employees feel comfortable to speak about what bothers them. Inform them about mental health issues and signs of burnout (it can happen to the best of us!).

Last but not least, encourage employees to speak up and report any inappropriate incidents just as racist comments and workplace harassment.

Benefits Of Employee Retention and 8 Staff Retention Strategies

Employee retention ideas to keep them on your side

Once you put your staff retention strategies into action, make sure to follow up. Ask your folks if the ideas you implemented are actually making their lives better. Meet with your employees regularly so they know they’re being heard.

Don’t be afraid to pull the plug on things that aren’t working. Use LinkedIn or other professional networking sites to research what other companies are doing to keep their top talent. Ask your friends and colleagues to share their employee retention tips.

Show your workers you’re flexible and that you care about their happiness. There is truly no greater way to retain good employees.

If you follow the necessary steps to ensure you hire the best people and then work towards the retention of employees, life will be much easier for you as a manager. Make sure you have the right people in the right positions in your organization, spend time with them regularly to hear their ideas, and provide them with the right amount of praise.

Great managers know that investing the proper amount of time with their teams provides great results for them, the teams and the entire organization.

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