High employee turnover is a costly situation that can result in thousands of lost dollars. Not only does the business have to spend money trying to find a new hire, but they also lose out on invaluable productivity during the period of time when they are short-staffed.
A sinister secret? Turnover gets worse the longer it lasts. Existing team members have to work harder to pick up the slack. They get frustrated and quit too. It’s a self-defeating cycle that can be destructive for businesses.
In this article, we look at five ways to improve employee retention.
1. Get Smart About Recruitment
High employee retention starts with hiring the right people from the offset. That means thinking long and hard about how you recruit. Traditionally, HR has handled most recruitment efforts. However, forward-thinking companies are now bringing marketing to the table as well.
Your marketing department knows how to use data to craft written communications. That’s a valuable skill in recruitment, allowing you to tap into the essential qualities that you look for in a new hire, and build recruitment materials that are most likely to appeal to your ideal employee.
So many people leave their jobs not because of the compensation or their coworkers but simply because they never felt like it was a good fit. Finding the right people from the get-go is an integral part of building a sustainable, safe, retention-oriented work environment.
2. Think About Your Company Culture
Company culture gets a lot of press. You hear all the time about businesses like Google giving yoga classes or sushi, or even shorter work weeks to their employees. And while perks are nice, they are far from the beginning and end of what it means to have a company culture.
The phrase actually just describes what it feels like to work for a business. That can involve fringe benefits, but it also pertains to the nitty gritty hustle of the job as well.
As you develop a staff and work on setting office policy, think about what you want your company culture to be. It’s ok if you decide you want your environment to be fast-paced and competitive. You just need to make sure that you hire people who can thrive in that atmosphere.
Setting a firm company culture right now could potentially result in a spike in turnover. If people feel like they no longer identify with your work environment, there is a good chance they will look for someplace that is a better fit.
That’s an unfortunate collateral loss, but it is worth the setback if you can build a more sustainable long-term work culture.
3. Onboarding Matters
One of the reasons people leave their job is because they feel overwhelmed with what they have been tasked to do. Businesses that have a strong and lengthy onboarding process often experience higher levels of retention.
Of course, the way that you handle onboarding matters. There is a delicate balance that you need to strike between tedium and comprehensiveness.
You want your new hire to exit their onboarding period completely confident in their ability to handle what you need them to do. You just don’t want them to spend their first few weeks on the job bored out of their head.
You may come closest to striking this sweet spot by chatting with your existing employees about what they feel is lacking in your onboarding process. No one will know more about your training processes than someone who has experienced them firsthand.
4. So Does Recognition
The average employee reports that they trust strangers more than they do their own supervisor. That’s a serious empathy gulf that can very easily result in high levels of turnover. It’s not necessarily that workplace supervision has a toxic culture. In fact, the problem is often that employees don’t hear anything at all from their bosses.
People want to be recognized for their work. The way most offices operate, you only hear from your boss when they need to chastise you. It creates an almost Pavlovian anxiety response. Businesses that make a point of recognizing employee achievement tend to have higher levels of retention.
5. Talk to Your Employees
If you’re still not quite sure what to do to keep people around, there is a simple solution. Ask them. Your employees know better than anyone else why a person might want to jump ship at your company. In fact, if they are like 40% of Americans, a pretty decent chunk of them might be actively thinking about resigning at this very moment.
Talking to your staff will provide excellent data, but it will also feed into our last point. Asking someone what they think is a valuable form of recognition. Your staff will most likely be pleased that you asked them to provide insights— especially if they see you follow through in responding to their input later on down the line.
As an added bonus, you may get recruitment ideas from your staff based on people they know in their professional network. Employee-recommended hires often turn out to be a good fit because they tend to display qualities that your workplace environment will already be familiar with.
HR Future Staff Writer