Employee retention has become an increasingly difficult challenge for organizations, in fact many studies have identified it as the most important challenge Human Resources departments have faced these past few years. As employees move more freely between organizations and spend less and less time at any given job, organizations have experienced a significant increase in recruitment and training costs to keep positions occupied. Beyond the costs associated with finding new talent and training them to a satisfactory standard, organizations can also experience loses related to reduced sales, job errors, lower moral, and a number of other unproductive detriments.
So why are we seeing such a dramatic increase in employee turnover rates across industries? Unfortunately, there is no one simple answer that can be addressed and resolved with minimal effort. Every organization experiences their own level of employee turnover as a reflection of the state of their organizational culture, employment practices, and competition. It would be too easy to just blame Millennials and call them disloyal, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Retention is not an issue related solely with Millennials, or any group in particular, it is the result of greater access to information.
Gone are the days where the employer held all the power in the working relationship. Employees have a better understanding of their rights & entitlements, access to more resources, and an entire job market at their fingertips. If an employee is unsatisfied with their working conditions, there is very little holding them back from looking elsewhere. So, what can employers do to ensure their workforce is satisfied with their employment? Quite a lot actually, and the results greatly outweigh the costs of investment.
Listed below is our top 10 cost-effective Retention Strategies:
Recruit Well – Retention starts at the beginning of the employment relationship. Investing time and effort into the recruitment process is critical for ensuring the right talent is being brought in. Often too much focus is placed on the personality of the candidate and their potential “fit” with the organization. Although fit is important, more focus should be placed on the candidate’s job skills and likelihood to succeed in the prospective roll. A well-organized recruitment process also gives potential employee a good first impression of the organization
Train Managers – Managers and supervisors have significant influence towards whether an employee decides to leave or remain with an organization. Organizations can enact progressive policies and employment practices, but if not administered fairly and appropriately these efforts can have an adverse effect on employee retention. Employees don’t often quit an organization, they quit their manager.
Train Everyone – Knowledge is power and the more knowledgeable a workforce is, the more powerful the organization can become. Knowledgeable employees are engaged employees, which not only increases retention but gives the organization a competitive advantage with their workforce. The advantage comes from the improved skill set of an organization’s workforce as a result from training. Whether the advantage is due to better customer service or improved productivity, it can have an additional positive impact on the organization beyond increased employee retention.
Employee Significance – A sense of significance at work can go a long way for an employee’s relationship with their employer. A sense of importance within a role provides greater job satisfaction and a sense of belonging within the organization.
Career Planning – If the employee is expected to invest in the organization, there should be an expectation for the organization to invest in the employee. Monetary compensation only goes so far to provide incentive for employees to stay with an organization. Providing a path for career progression gives employees something obtainable to work towards and a sense of accomplishment when they know their advancement through the organization is a direct result of their efforts.
Flexibility – For many employers, the need for associates to be in the office from nine to five Monday through Friday has become more and more obsolete. This rigid structure of set work hours greatly impacts the work-life balance and is becoming out-dated as societal norms stray further from where they were when the traditional work week was first established. Organizations who offer flexible working hours and locations have shown employees to be more satisfied with their jobs, more innovative, and more productive.
Talent Mobility – Cross training has long shown to be an effective tool to satisfying internal talent requirements, while also providing opportunities for employees to further improve their skill set and value to the organization.
Benefits – Not all organizations are in a position to be able to offer benefits to their employees, but those that are able to could improve their employee retention by finding out what their employees actually want and need in their benefits before deciding on a plan for their workforce. For organizations that are not in a position to offer benefits for its employees, consider offering alternative non-traditional benefits that are valued by the workforce.
Measure & Improve – Simple observation is often not enough to use as a reliable justification for determining solutions to issues related to employee retention. Taking the time to investigate and measure any possible causation provides much more insight to the issue at hand and will often uncover additional contributing factors, allowing the organization to appropriately address any issues that may be contributing towards employee turnover and absenteeism.
Loyalty Program – It’s no secret organizations desire loyalty from their associates, so why try to hide it? A loyalty programs are just that, a program that has been put in place to reward loyalty from employees. Whether the program celebrates time with the company, job performance on a project, or even just for their birthday, it provides an opportunity for employees to celebrate and be rewarded for their efforts at the organization.
These are just ten of the many low-cost strategies organizations can engage in to address issues with employee retention and turnover. We are excited to see what other practices organization engage in the future to retain their employees.