Due to current events in the workplace, employers are scrambling to find ways to retain their superstar employees. As a result of the Great Resignation and the looming recession, some companies are losing employees to other companies (and industries) with higher earning potential. Meanwhile, other companies are having trouble navigating mass layoffs and hiring freezes. There are even cases where employees voluntarily quit because they want better remote working conditions or a new change of scenery.
As you know, losing employees is incredibly expensive. Not only do you lose institutional knowledge, but recruiting, hiring, and onboarding new employees is costly and time-consuming. So, in a time where employees have so much freedom and so many options, retention will be vital to ensuring your business keeps growing amid an economic downturn.
So, here are five proven strategies to improve employee retention and grow your workforce.
Strategy 1: Prioritize Your Recruitment and Hiring Strategy (avoid bad hires)
The first step to reducing employee turnover is bringing in great employees. You'll inevitably make hiring mistakes during your career, but avoiding bad hires reduces involuntary turnover. To reduce the likelihood of sourcing and recruiting potentially inadequate hires, you'll want to do two things.
1. Focus on your job description
Unless you are a major corporation or popular business, your job description is likely the candidate's first impression of your company. So you should be sure to have a clear and comprehensive description of the role. Additionally, include information about your company culture, what a day in the life of an employee looks like, and what the business's missions and values are. You don't only want to find a skilled employee. You want to hire someone who fits into your culture and enhances your organization.
2. Choose the correct interview questions
You can better evaluate and choose candidates by conducting thorough interviews that yield relevant information. As a result, candidates are less likely to find themselves in a role or company they are not fit for.
So, before choosing the right interview questions, be sure the interview format will help you reach your hiring goals. For example, if the goal is to assess the candidate's skillset, you likely wouldn't choose a breakfast or lunch interview. A more suitable interview style may be a stress interview or an on-the-job interview.
Once you've pinpointed the goal of the interview and the most beneficial interview format, you should ask relevant interview questions. Be sure that these questions reflect your ideal candidate and the skills/attributes/qualities you outlined in the job description.
Strategy 2: Recognize and Reward Employees
Programs that recognize and reward employees keep them happy and engaged. There are two key considerations when creating an employee recognition program.
First, consider how employees like to be recognized. Some team members love a shoutout in a team meeting in front of their peers. Others may be embarrassed if called out in front of a large group. So, brainstorm and research ways to reward people with different personalities.
Second, identify the targets and achievements worthy of recognition or rewards. The key is to be transparent about these targets and ensure they are relevant for each role. For example, you wouldn't have a sales target for someone in the IT department.
Strategy 3: Create a Clear Career Path and Offer Career Dev Opportunities
Pay and career development opportunities are two of the biggest reasons employees quit their jobs. While you cannot always devote enough resources to increase everyone's pay, you can help your employees create a clear career path.
Take a look at each role, and outline a clear career path for that role. Consider the various job titles that could come next and what skills are needed to advance. Then, offer or provide additional resources to build skills, earn certifications, and learn more about the industry. Lastly, for this to work, you must communicate these opportunities early and often. That way, when mid- and senior-level roles open up at your company, your employees will be ready to move up the ladder.
Strategy 4: Pay Close Attention to Employee Engagement
The greatest predictor of employee turnover is employee engagement. There are many ways to measure employee engagement, but some of the easiest are
develop a continuous listening strategy (i.e., stay interviews)
drivers analysis or finding what's important to employees
If you feel engagement is beginning to slip, it's time to take a step back and explore why. Simply asking employees about their well-being, workload stress, and other factors contributing to lower engagement levels will help devise an action plan. In most instances, your action plan will focus on retention, or you can begin solidifying succession planning. Either way, you'll be prepared because you've been collecting feedback.
Strategy 5: Offer Competitive Benefits Packages
We’ve discussed many ways to reduce employee turnover. Still, in a world of economic uncertainty, competitive benefits packages could make the difference.
When considering pay, realize that pay is not stagnant. Continue to stay up-to-date on employee market salaries, and take inflation into account. Additionally, as employees improve and become more productive, be proactive in offering pay increases. The goal is to make the offer before they realize they are being undervalued. While some employees will try to negotiate, others will begin looking for a new job. You may only know that pay is an issue once it's too late.
On the other hand, benefits should be flexible and adaptable. The types of benefits different employers offer are varied. So, as you compete with other companies in your industry to retain talent, give your employees and candidates a voice. For example, offering childcare to someone who does not have children is counterproductive. Instead, create a system that allows employees to create their own benefits packages.
Employee turnover is an ever-evolving situation. While some contributing factors are out of your control, there are some aspects that you can manage. Revamp your hiring process and stay in constant communication with your employees. That way, you can either prevent turnover or prepare for it to happen more seamlessly. Turnover, to some extent, is inevitable. Still, by staying on top of this, you can prepare your company to move forward in the best way possible.