With the nation’s “quit rate” reaching a 20-year high last November, you may be searching for ways to retain top talent. You know you have to implement a killer employee retention strategy, and fast, but how do you know what will work?
It’s not easy to keep employees on board, but it can be done. Through our calculated retention strategy, my company hasn’t had an employee quit since 2016. That’s right — we made it through “The Great Resignation” without bidding farewell to a single employee. Here are some best practices for retaining employees long term.
1. Embrace flexibility
People not only want flexible jobs but have come to expect them. A recent study revealed that nearly 40% of job candidates worldwide said schedule flexibility is one of the top three factors they consider when making career decisions. If you want to recruit and retain top talent, offering workplace flexibility is crucial.
Some employees may prefer working early in the morning, while others may feel more productive late in the afternoon. Some employees will want to take time off around the holidays while others may prefer (or need) time off at another point in the year. Offering flexible hours and no formal limit on paid time off allows each employee to perform at their highest capacity. Flexibility gives employees full autonomy to manage their schedules so they can maximize their productivity while maintaining a balanced life.
2. Scope for growth and development
If employees at your company aren’t being challenged in their role, they may find themselves bored, complacent and itching for more. As a leader, it is your obligation to seek out ways to tap into each employee’s full potential. And when an employee feels their leader is invested in their success, they will invest in the success of the company.
One tool I recommend is a mentorship program. At my company, every employee has the opportunity to request a mentor from whom they receive an experienced voice for two to three hours per month. Employees can discuss development opportunities, ask questions and hear a new perspective to guide them through their career trajectory.
Additional ways to facilitate employee growth include quarterly goals, training opportunities like conferences and online learning subscriptions and present managers who are willing to take on a coaching role when appropriate.
3. Incentivize loyalty
It should come as no surprise that offering competitive pay and benefits are key factors in reducing employee turnover. According to a recent study, 44% of employees are open to new job opportunities with better benefits and compensation.
If this leaves you overwhelmed and scrambling to update your compensation package, go back to the source. Start by asking your employees what they value the most and what types of benefits and/or compensation will encourage them to stay at your company.
4. Prioritize company culture and connecting
Companies that focus on cultivating a positive company culture see a 72% lower attrition rate alongside a 29% increase in profit — prioritizing your culture is good for the employees and the business. The culture of your company is experienced in every decision you make and every interaction employees have with each other. Is your culture reflective of the values your company claims to hold? And does each employee feel welcome and supported within it?
Furthermore, with the prevalence of remote work, we need to put in even more effort to ensure each employee feels supported and connected. At my company, we host monthly social events to encourage connection. From playing a round of the game Among Us together to taking a virtual mixology class, there is no shortage of laughs on the fourth Friday of the month.
5. Earn the trust of your employees
Being open and honest with your employees at all times might be challenging, but it is key to earning their trust and loyalty. By keeping your team up-to-date, sharing both positive and negative feedback and welcoming input from your employees, you will be on the right track to building a powerful foundation of trust and respect.
So what does this look like in practice? Every leader’s communication style will be different, but at my company, we actively communicate company wins and, yes, even the (sometimes embarrassing) failures. We also encourage employees to ask questions and provide ample opportunities to do so at our bi-weekly company meetings. We also understand that not every employee is comfortable speaking up on a Zoom call, so we provide the option for employees to email their questions.
We can no longer afford to sit back and watch as employees walk out the door — losing and replacing employees costs companies billions of dollars. In order to maintain top talent, which in turn improves productivity and morale, we have to be intentional and active in our employee retention strategy. It may take time to establish, but by following the five steps outlined here, you will be well on your way to creating a company that employees are eager to continue working for.