87% of HR leaders consider improving employee retention a top priority. But despite that, employee retention hit an all-time low in March of 2020.
The disconnect between these two statistics shows that even though companies understand that employee retention is essential, most of them don’t know how to keep employees happy, engaged, and willing to stay in the same organization for longer.
The good news is that not everyone is doomed to forever being stuck in an endless loop of employee churn. With a few key strategies, you can completely change how your workplace operates and how employees perceive working for you.
Read on, and we’ll explore five of the most critical employee retention strategies in 2021 and beyond.
Make Your Employees Feel Welcome
First impressions matter. Especially when they concern the first few weeks that new employees spend at your company.
The relationships you build in the initial stages of a new employee joining your company will set the tone for how they’ll feel in the future, so you must make an effort to get them to feel comfortable and happy.
To achieve that, many companies have found putting together an employee welcome kit to be one of the best ways to supplement the onboarding process. It allows you to not only showcase what your company is about but also start building a trusting relationship that shows you want to make them happy.
As the employee welcome kit experts at SnackNation put it, “Providing new employee welcome kits, chock full of glorious company swag, on your employees’ first day will help you capture some of these onboarding benefits.”
Another important aspect of onboarding is being transparent from the very first interview. As a business, you must set honest and clear expectations about what the employee can expect when working for your company and what will be expected of them.
If you are clear about what working for you means and make them understand what they’re signing up for, you will have a much better chance of maintaining that employee long term. After all, when your pitch is honest and in-line with what they expect, there’s less reason to be disappointed or become frustrated down the line, which can be one of the leading causes for wanting to change a workplace in the first place.
Because of the global pandemic, workplaces had to learn to be more flexible in order to stay open and continue working. But while that has been a big challenge, the shift to remote work that has resulted from it also has quite a few benefits, which employees have learned to embrace.
After the initial shock and disruption that many companies faced, the change has proven to be positive in many regards, with employees gaining the ability to spend less time commuting, having more flexibility in terms of where they can live, and reduced time on meetings that might not be necessary at all.
With all of that in mind, it makes sense to reconsider whether you want to be rigid about employees needing to come in every day or at all. In fact, not being willing to offer remote work possibilities might even become a drawback that dissuades the top talent from working at your company.
If you want to be forward-thinking and have an advantage over the more conservative competitors, you should embrace remote work as much as your industry allows. Look at the best practices of remote work or experiment with hybrid remote work environments where some employees work in-office and others have the option of working remotely.
Besides improving employee retention, being more flexible about where your employees can work from will also allow you to save on office space, as you won’t need to provide an office for the remote part of your team. And at the same time, you won’t be limited to talent living in the city you operate in and can significantly expand the pool of prospective employees to choose from.
One of the most frustrating things employees experience is the lack of appreciation for their efforts. When you work hard towards something and achieve results, you want to receive at least some recognition or acknowledgment that you did a good job.
But unfortunately, that’s where many companies fall short, leading to decreased employee loyalty and even dissatisfaction with their current work environment.
Therefore, the ability to recognize achievements and even reward excellent performance should be ingrained in your company’s philosophy, spanning across all departments and all levels of employees.
Instead of relying on your managers to recognize each case individually, set up parameters and processes for recognizing achievements, commemorating milestones, and rewarding employees based on their performance.
Some good practices you could consider include congratulating the employee in person, publicizing their achievements, offering rewards and incentives, and providing career growth opportunities directly related to excellent performance.
When you can track and reward great results consistently, that will help with employee retention and allow you to make better decisions about which employees deserve more responsibility and a higher position within the company.
Nurture a Team-Oriented Business Culture
Business culture can be one of the deciding factors in whether employees want to work in your office. But most companies aren’t sure how to create a culture that helps employees flourish and achieve satisfaction in their work.
The good news is that dramatically improving office culture doesn’t have to be a long and painful process. In fact, adopting a team-oriented business culture will probably make everyone’s lives easier, including the managers.
Team-oriented culture is a set of values and principles that prioritize collective work over everything else. It is based on removing rigid office roles and allowing each team member to contribute as much as they can, offering ideas, solutions, and even leadership according to the situation.
Compared to task-oriented business culture, team-oriented leaders focus on putting their team in a position to succeed while also giving employees enough autonomy to handle the task how they see fit.
This leadership style creates a more balanced and equal workplace environment, making employees feel more valued and helping them improve faster, which is essential for any career-driven individual today.
Offer a Competitive Salary
Finally, if you want the other approaches in this article to work, you need to start with ensuring that the salary and benefits you offer are on par with what your employees can get elsewhere.
Now, that doesn’t mean that you have to outbid every competitor or that you have to pay the highest salaries, but offering decent pay that’s in-line with what most companies offer can create an environment where people won’t have to compromise their financial well-being to work for you.
Sure, other aspects discussed in this list are essential, and they absolutely can sway a person’s decision even if they can get paid more elsewhere. But for them to come into play, the salary needs to be competitive and at least comparable to others, as otherwise it simply won’t make sense to stay with your company no matter what extra perks might be included.
Employee retention is one of the biggest challenges faced by companies today. And there’s no indication this will change soon.
But the good news is that as long as you offer competitive pay and embrace changing workplace trends of today, you can become a lucrative workplace that top talent in your industry will want to work for.