If you’ve been around for a while, you know that one of our favorite topics is the concept of employee retention. We hold this topic in high esteem because a revolving door of workers can quickly add up, with recent estimates from the Center for American Progress suggesting that replacing an employee ranges from about 16 percent of the annual salary of an hourly worker to just over 200 percent of the yearly salary for a member of your leadership team. Of course, these estimates don’t include the time and effort associated with replacing said individual with a new worker who may or may not end up working out and then the cycle potentially repeats.
With these high stakes in mind, we’ve identified six innovative strategies just about any business can employ to improve retention among its ranks.
Time after time, employees report that achieving a good work-life balance is integral to their satisfaction at work (and the likelihood that they’ll go ahead and keep showing up to work!) If you’re an office-based business driven by deadlines, give your employees a bit of flexibility in terms of when they sign on in the morning and when they sign off in the evening. Perhaps just asking that they complete a certain number of hours or complete a certain amount of work, whatever works best for your company. However, if you have a consumer-facing business where the workplace needs to be staffed at certain times, consider giving employees the freedom – within reason of course – to sign up for the days or time slots that work best with their schedule. Now more than ever in our pandemic era, consider whether employees need to come into the office at all, even after the pandemic period passes. Studies have shown that remote employees have up to half the rate of turnover as their in-person peers, are more productive with their time, and actually save their bosses money in the form of lower overhead costs.
Encourage relationship building:
If you want folks to stick around, you must help them forge relationships that make them compelled to stay! Encouraging bonds between employees through team building exercises, mentorship programs, or simply by giving workers the space to forget genuine friendships can help workers to feel both supported and supportive of each other, which in turn results in better engagement and lower on-the-job stress, among other perks. Further, studies suggest that having just one meaningful relationship at work holds the second spot in terms of job satisfaction (falling behind only having a sense of physical safety!), which we know is directly tied to employee retention.
Give the fringe benefits:
We all know how important a benefits package is in terms of reeling in a promising job candidate, but did you know that it’s the “fringe” benefits that will keep your employee happy and engaged from day to day? Indeed, so-called lifestyle perks such as discounted gym memberships, financial planning seminars, and even pet insurance help your employees feel appreciated and cared for the year over. Of course, we’ll use this opportunity as a shameless plug and note that for many a small business owner, offering these extras is cost-prohibitive (or simply not feasible when you have a workforce with diverse interests) but if you partners with a PEO like Abel HR, we’ll pool your employees with those of our other clients to negotiate for a huge suite of offerings that are sure to entice just about anyone, and always at a price that you would struggle to gain on your own in the open market.
Celebrate a job well done:
In a recent study of workers who left their jobs, nearly 80 percent indicated that a lack of appreciation was a contributing reason to their departure. While it seems a bit obvious to recognize a job well done, companies routinely fall short on this metric. However, if you can work it into your culture so that employees are recognized informally through casual kudo emails or other small tokens of recognition, but that these incremental high-fives are also captured during your formal review process, workers will feel more appreciated and will less likely to leave. If you don’t have a process in place for dishing out praise in your workplace, we recommend reading over our blog on employee incentive programs to learn about what they are, how they work, and how to determine if this will be a motivating factor for your workers.
Have a clear path forward:
Nothing signals a time to move on quite like a lack of upward mobility. If you want employees to stay, you have to be able to not only show them where they can go in your company, but you also have to provide the tools to get them there. This includes offering everything from informal lunch and learns about other jobs within your company to more traditional career planning meetings between workers and their managers. Further, you’ll want to support their career progression by hosting trainings and other skill development workshops to get them up to snuff to climb that next rung of the career ladder. Of course, if you need help pulling together these plans, we at Abel HR will be happy to help you figure out a pathway for your workers and for the future success of your company.
Do the exit interview:
Sometimes, turnover is inevitable, but if you do not ask why folks leave, how can you ever fix the problem? Where possible, schedule a sit-down conversation to learn more about a departing employee’s opinion of the company. This way, you can have a back and forth conversation that can clear up any misconceptions for either party. If you want a really honest appraisal, sometimes sending a survey out to be completed after the fact can yield the true reasons behind a departure and can help you fix any issues before they become truly toxic to your work environment and remaining employees.