Businesses spend countless hours and untold amounts of money on employee recruitment, only to discover that many new hires leave shortly after coming on board. This shouldn’t come as a complete surprise, especially since Millennial workers (among others) are known for hopping from one job to the next.
Nevertheless, an inability to retain valued employees takes a toll on any business — both in the loss of potential talent and growth, and in the cost required to begin the recruitment and hiring process all over again.
How can you improve retention in your business? Obviously, it’s important to offer a competitive pay and benefits package. However, if you’re serious about retaining employees, there’s more you can do. Here are six of the most effective retention strategies:
- Improve your hiring process. In the rush to snare a promising candidate, businesses sometimes overlook an obvious “bad fit” or allow themselves to be wowed by the applicant’s winning personality. “Focus more on job skills and you’ll get a better fit,” says economist Bill Conerly, “which is more likely to lead to a long employment tenure.”
- Create a clear path to career growth. Employees who see no opportunity to move upward (with equal compensation) aren’t likely to stay with a business for long. Create a structured career path for your promising employees, accompanied by training opportunities and resources so that they can envision a real future within the company, based on their commitment and hard work.
- Promote a sense of identification with the organization’s mission. Regardless of their specific responsibilities, employees want to understand how their job fits into the bigger scheme of things. They also want to be associated with a business that makes an impact on the world they live in. Crafting a “compelling mission and vision (and living it, and sharing it)” is “crucial for keeping employees inspired, engaged, and on board for the long run,” notes business coach Kathryn Minshew.
- Emphasize a commitment to flexible work conditions. Don’t be surprised if hanging on to traditional, 40-hour-a-week, on-site working conditions leaves you bereft of the best prospective employees. The vast array of online project management tools and means of communications makes it possible to incorporate a flexible work schedule for almost every job position. Employees greatly appreciate your commitment to providing a healthy work/life balance for them.
- Encourage a culture of recognition and reward. It’s not rocket science! People like being recognized and rewarded for their hard work. Institute a meaningful employee recognition program that offers greater incentives to stay on when times are tough or business is slow. Healthy competition for “best-in-class” honors also builds a sense of teamwork among employees.
- Make sure your managers are leading by example. Employees abandon jobs when they can’t get along with their manager or supervisor, or simply don’t trust them. It’s up to the business owner to demand that managers lead by example, setting realistic expectations, and delivering on every promise they make. In many cases, working with a leader who inspires and encourages them is enough for employees to stay with a company, even when other conditions are less than perfect.
You can never afford to take your high-performing employees for granted. Word gets around, and competitors aren’t shy about attempting to poach them. Check in with these individuals to see if they’re still secure with their compensation and career development plans. Be on the lookout for unusual amounts of activity on LinkedIn or a change in the employee’s high level of productivity. That’s when you must have a conversation focusing on their current state of mind.
Author Bio: Carl Martens is a catalyst for change at Award Concepts. Martens graduated magna cum laude from DeVry University, earning a degree in sales and marketing. His experience and knowledge allows him to become a better advocate for his clients, working closely with them to develop and deliver custom employee recognition programs.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not of The HR Gazette or its team members.