Finding fantastic employees is a tough task. It can be so difficult, in fact, that we have created an entire business at Tier2Tek centered around finding candidates for you. The Great Resignation of the past few years has made staffing even more difficult. Potential employees are more aware of their worth and values (as they should be). They have the passion and desire to strive for better and more lucrative opportunities. So, finding employees may be challenging, but keeping them is even harder. Simply put, if you plan on having great employees at your business, you need employee retention strategies.
How do you keep a worker happy? Is it tossing money at them? Planning holiday parties in the break room? Let’s be realistic: it takes much more than mindless incentives to keep great workers around.
As an employment agency, we know a thing or two about employee retention. It’s our profession, after all. Let’s break it all down.
Here are 10 successful employee retention strategies to implement in your business ASAP.
- 1. Understand Why Employees Are Leaving
- 2. Be a Likeable Boss
- 3. Empower Others
- 4. Create a Path for Success
- 5. Recognize Positive Efforts and Results
- 6. Create a Fantastic Onboarding Experience
- 7. Establish Culture Inside and Out
- 8. Mental Health Is Crucial
- 9. Remember Reward Systems
- 10. Listen to Your Employees
1. Understand Why Employees Are Leaving
How do you improve something when you don’t know what needs to be improved? That’s the wonderful and frustrating thing about the human experience. Nothing is black and white, especially emotions.
You may believe that employees are leaving your business because of inadequate pay when they are actually leaving because of a firm glass ceiling. Henceforth, applying successful employee retention strategies starts with knowing the problems.
Unfortunately, finding out exactly why people are leaving may be difficult. Sometimes employees quit or move on from their jobs without much notice or reason. Sometimes they are unwilling to speak about why they are moving on. Ultimately, this is their right. Fortunately, implementing exit interviews can be helpful. Having a reasonable and respectful discussion on why the worker is leaving can help you form your business going forward.
It is important to remember that if the employee is unwilling to share this information with you, then move on. Attempting to find out why people are leaving by asking around the workplace can lead to a toxic environment, ironically resulting in less retention. Try to figure out the issue respectfully with a head-on conversation.
2. Be a Likeable Boss
How many times have you heard a peer complaining about their boss or manager? How many times have you heard of someone quitting a job because of their employer’s behavior?
A survey of 3,000 workers by GoodHire in 2021 found that 82% would consider quitting their job due to a bad manager. There’s a statistic for you.
An unsavory or unhelpful supervisor can lead to a plethora of workplace issues. Not only will a bad leader cause retention to plummet, but they cause a toxic workplace for those that are forced to stay. No one wants to work for leaders that are irresponsible, insulting, or unsuccessful. It’s a simple conclusion. People want to work for leaders they respect and trust. If you (or your employed managers) are a combination of these unpleasant attributes, don’t expect other employee retention strategies to work.
Ultimately, there is a multitude of factors that lead to likable and successful leaders. Overall, it depends on the personalities of the workers, the business goals and the job itself. It’s nearly impossible to break down why your managers may be unlikeable, but it’s important to notice. If your employees are leaving because of the leaders, it may be time to look in the mirror.
3. Empower Others
Some employees require more direction than others. However, nobody enjoys being controlled. It’s essential to empower your employees so they make wise decisions for themselves and the business. Basically, no one wants to feel like they are just another cog in a machine. Workplace jadedness can be the quickest way to lose employees.
Whether a cashier or an executive, employees should be included and feel like they are important members of your organization. After all, even the most trivial of workers are still crucial to the flow and success of your business. Everyone should be treated with the same level of respect and confidence.
Empowering your employees assists them in becoming conversant with the vision of your company since they know that their input is essential to the organization. Achieving this may take different approaches. You may do nice things for employee appreciation, hold meetings to hear employee opinions, or just listen to grievances. Overall, if you respect every worker the same, the rest should follow naturally.
4. Create a Path for Success
Does your staff know how to grow and move with your organization? Do your employees feel growth opportunities? Are advancement decisions decided by internal politics?
Earlier we mentioned the concept of a hard ceiling. One of the quickest ways to lose great employees is to leave them stranded with no way up. Regardless of a worker’s position in the company, they want to have a clear path to improving. Otherwise, what is their hard work for?
The only employees that are okay with staying stagnant in their role are ones that you probably don’t want to keep. The best workers always want to improve and should have a clear way of doing so. Even if you are a small company and don’t have a plethora of positions, you should always have an increasing level of responsibility and pay to offer hardworking employees.
Let’s say you are a small business with two employees. Even if there aren’t a lot of responsibilities to be delegated, you can still find a way to compensate your workers for their effort. Maybe your one employee can become a keyholder or increase their responsibilities with inventory management. No one wants to work without a lateral improvement structure.
5. Recognize Positive Efforts and Results
Everyone knows that there is a task that needs to be carried out. Sometimes that job will seem unrewarding. However, in any position of authority or leadership, it’s essential to take time to know you recognize the effort of your team. Tasks that get recognized and rewarded get repeated.
Much like the concept of empowering others, thanking employees is one of the most useful and critical employee retention strategies. No one wants to do thankless work.
Overall, set goals for your employees. Make these goals clear and precise. Maybe you want to improve sales for the quarter. But this form of leadership doesn’t stop when you elaborate on the endgame. You have to provide insight on how to get there and have a strong plan of attack. You have to thank and compensate your workers correctly.
Showing gratitude doesn’t have to only be significant things like financial bonuses and celebrations. Even a quick thank you or compliment on their work can go a long way. Setting up the atmosphere for a positive and rewarding workplace starts with showing that effort is noticed, even if just with a quick compliment.
6. Create a Fantastic Onboarding Experience
They (not sure who) say that first impressions are the most important. Potential candidates spruce up their suits and ties when turning in their applications. Workers practice interview questions relentlessly before meeting with hiring managers. That same level of effort should come from the employer, too.
The onboarding experience is crucial for setting a standard. Not only does it provide a great first impression for your new hires, but it allows for questions to be smoothed before things get too far.
How many times have you seen an employee quit shortly after the introductory period? This action may not solely be the employee’s fault. Maybe the intention and job were not clear from the onset.
Henceforth, the onboarding process should be clear, concise and inclusive. You should take the time to ease the employees into the role. This is the opportunity to turn an outsider into an insider. Be prepared to answer any question, be clear about roles and objectives and introduce the candidate to the rest of the team. The worker should leave the onboarding experience feeling positive and knowledgeable about the position ahead.
Being tossed directly into the fire can cause a lot of workers to burn out quickly. The training and tone you set from the beginning can dictate the entirety of a worker’s tenure.
7. Establish Culture Inside and Out
The two pillars of marketing are brand and clientele. A customer wants to be able to trust and understand the message behind a brand. In 2024, the importance of establishing a reliable and recognizable brand is at an all-time high. What does a company stand for? Am I comfortable supporting them?
Establishing a brand is not just important for company success; it’s important for workplace cohesiveness. Consequently, an employee wants to know and understand the meaning of a company before they work for it. Having a strong culture inside the workplace is one of the most crucial employee retention strategies.
Company culture starts with the higher-ups. What is the mission of your business? Where do you stand on certain issues? Recognizing and placing these concepts in the forefront allows you to begin building a team that follows suit. Ultimately, you want to have a team that shares similar ideals and motives. Once these concepts have been agreed upon, you can begin hiring like-minded employees. Not having a clear sense of identity can lead to employees wanting to venture elsewhere.
Culture Is Necessary for Employee Retention and Hiring
A 2019 study by GlassDoor found that 77% of workers consider a company’s culture before applying. Establishing a culture is key to keeping fantastic workers.
Work to make sure your employees are happy through compensation and positivity. Hire candidates that fit into your team. Understand and promote how you are working to combine the positive aspects of your company’s mission and services.
What is your mission? What are your values? How is your company improving the lives of clients and team members?
8. Mental Health Is Crucial
The importance of mental health is no longer a topic discussed in hushed tones. The recent pandemic (thou show not be named) has increased company awareness around burnout. It’s easy to find yourself burned out at work, regardless of whether or not you enjoy your job. Nipping this issue in the bud is a great employee retention strategy.
How does one help the mental health of their employees? It truly depends. But, it’s important to remain empathetic and open-minded as an employer. Stress management programs, personal days and reimbursement for gym memberships can be great ways to keep your employees in good spirits.
Secondly, keep an ear open for employee feedback. Employees are the ones on the field, after all. They may be able to explain what is causing the burnout amongst the team. As stated, keep an open mind. Allowing for remote work or time off can go a long way in retaining employees.
Overall, helping keep or improve the mental health of your employees will not only help them work harder but will keep them around for longer.
9. Remember Reward Systems
It may seem obvious, but rewarding your employees for their hard work is the best way to keep them around. We can hammer home the concept of thanking and recognizing your employees’ efforts all day, but it needs to be put into practice.
Now, don’t begin to panic. If you are a small business, rewarding your employees with bonus pay may be nearly impossible. That’s okay. Luckily, there are other ways to reward your employees. Some companies set up a formal list of rewards revolving around certain milestones. Some companies provide team-building and rewarding experiences when a goal is met (a dinner, celebration, or day out).
If it’s impossible to provide your team with an extravagant reward, that’s okay. Hopefully, that level of success comes in due time. But, like thanking and complimenting, little things can go a long way. For example, if your employee is busting their tail all week, let them take off early on a Friday. Thank them for their hard work and tell them to go home. They’ll remember this.
10. Listen to Your Employees
You may believe that your way of doing things is set in stone. You may believe that you’ve scrubbed the walls of any toxicity and negativity. Unfortunately, you do not see it all. As a leader or owner, you may not be on the floor as much as you want. You may have missed things going on or a shift in the environment.
The most important example of employee retention strategies is fluidity. Allow your employees to speak and take their word to heart.
We are all different. Your workforce will continue to change and adapt. You will lose employees for reasons outside of your control. The best way to approach these fluctuations is to have an open mind and an itching ear. The employee retention strategies that work for your current team may not work for your next one. You may not notice issues going on within the team. Be open and ready to adapt.
All of these concepts stem back to the idea of empowerment. Remembering that your workers are humans with intellect, ideals and emotions will help you retain your team. Treat every employee with respect and empathy. Even if you have to alter the way you do things, it may be for the betterment of your business.