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By: Jessica Thiefels|May 11, 2017

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Group of people talking in officeOnboarding and training new employees can be costly, $4,129 according to a 2016 SHRM survey. Financials aside, finding people who will continue to thrive in your existing company culture can also be a challenge; holding on to the employees you already have helps you eliminate both of these challenges.

If your employee retention rate is steadily declining, or has been low for some time, it’s time to consider adjustments that make want to continue to work for you. Here are six simple ways you can start to boost employee retention today.

1. Provide Tools for Success

Do you ever assign a project or task to your team and they completely miss the mark? While it can be frustrating for both employer and employee, it’s often due to a lack of preparedness for success. If employees don’t have clear guidance, and access to the resources they need to complete a project, how can they be expected to be successful?

Your “boost retention” strategy: Ask each team what tools they’re lacking to do their job well or more efficiently. Maybe it’s a new strategy for project management or upgraded software that will help them stay organized and sane during chaotic times with the company. Investing in tools that will make your employees lives easier shows that you care about their success, which is a great way to boost retention.

2. Make Change Gradual

An evolving company structure is inevitable to stay competitive in most industries. However, drastic, broad changes can make employees worry about job security, and this can cause retention to take a hard hit:

“For example, an employee who thinks their job is at risk may be more likely to be look for work elsewhere, tell others negative things about the organization, and exert less effort in their work if they think they do not have a future there,” explains Jessica Everitt and Laura Heathcock, Employee Engagement Consultants.

Your “boost retention” strategy: Management spends a lot of time planning these changes, but at what point employees find out? Instead of blind siding them, roll out changes slowly and with explanation. When possible, let teams weigh in on changes that will directly affect their day-to-day workflow. This provides them with an opportunity to communicate any issues before new systems are set in place—fostering a sense of trust and respect between employer and employee.

3. Make Vacation Mandatory

The average number of paid vacation days for U.S. workers is 10. Federal law doesn’t require companies to offer this, however, so many workers don’t even get that. Yet, in a 2017 Harvard Business Review poll, two of the top three responses about which benefits are most valued among U.S. workers, were “more flexible hours” and “more vacation time.”

Your “boost retention” strategy: Many organizations have turned to unlimited PTO as a way of encouraging employees to take more time off. The best part, these companies find that their employees don’t end up taking much more time off than what is offered in a standard PTO package, making it a win-win for everyone:

“It probably isn’t a shock that people like unlimited time off, but here’s where it gets interesting: Over the course of the year, employees took roughly the same number of vacation days under our unlimited policy as they did the year before, when we accrued paid time off (PTO) in a more traditional system,” explains Nathan Christensen, in “We Offered Unlimited Vacation for One Year. Here’s What We Learned.”

4. Pay People What They’re Worth

One of the biggest factors in retaining a great employee is paying them for what they’re worth. While money isn’t everything, proper compensation helps your employees to feel that what they’re doing—and the stress that often comes with the job—is worth it. According to a 2016 global workforce study, just 53 percent of workers feel they are being compensated fairly, compared to other others who fill similar positions.

Your “boost retention” strategy: It can be difficult for many companies to figure out how to competitively pay team members while remaining profitable. Consider using pay philosophies to manage the current pay of employees, along with raises.

5. See the Value in Workplace Friends

employee retention photoIt’s important to promote a sense of connection, communication and teamwork in your company culture. For leaders who think workplace friendships are distracting, recent surveys find it’s actually an important retention factor. In fact, experts at The Office Club advise, “When employees feel they can communicate freely with their leaders and each other, they’re more likely to feel valued, satisfied and motivated at work.”

Your “boost retention” strategy: Team building activities such as roundtable discussion groups, company sponsored events and even catered lunches allow your employees to break down barriers and get to know one another. Encourage positive friendships and take a genuine interest in how your employees are doing and you’ll likely earn their respect and loyalty.

What does your company do to improve employee retention?

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