Attracting the right talent is tough but retaining them is even harder. Here are some tips for keeping good people on side.
Our marketing colleagues tell us it’s six times easier to retain an existing customer than recruit a new one. It’ll be no surprise to any HR professional that a similar principle applies to employees. (Motivational author Dale Carnegie found companies with fully engaged employees were three times as effective as those without.)
But while it’s easy to find generic solutions to employee retention – empower and enable, – finding concrete steps you can implement today can be harder.
Here are eight to start with.
1. Treat every employee on their own merits.
Blanket policies that treat all employees alike are no longer practical in the competitive landscape of talent acquisition and retention.. Each employee should be treated as an individual, with individual needs, issues and skills. This consideration should start at the hiring process. Think, would the employee you really want to attract or obtain be happier and therefore more productive if they could start an hour later to meet childcare needs? Would another employee be more likely to stay if they could work from home and cut down on the long commute? Talk to your employees to find what they need and they will reward your understanding.
2. Offer a mentoring programme.
Corporate mentoring is on the rise with 71% of Fortune 500 companies offering professional mentoring programmes to their employees. To retain skilled employees and develop future leaders offer your new starters access to mentors across the business.
So as a second step, explore how collaborative technologies can keep a discreet check on whether your mentors are measuring up. Often, a single web chat or phone call a week may be all that’s needed to make your employee feel he/she can rely on someone.
3. Make everyday work more personal
A great deal of job satisfaction comes from interactions with others. So why not enable the free flow of communication and ideas with a smart use of technology?
That manager’s speech that could be an interactive Q&A. That training session that could bring in employees around the world by video. Even daily status meetings can be enlivened. Try them out.
4. Keep the party going for your employees
Having fun at work can make all the difference, this doesn’t have to be games rooms or office socials (although these can help),, but with boredom a key factor in churn, a little light-heartedness in the office goes a long way.
The key thing to do is to look at ways you can make your team’s work experience more interactive and engaging. This could be a virtual or in-person breakfast Q&A with an executive, or it could be a brainstorming session with colleagues around the world, or it could even be competitions for new new ideas across the the organisation.
5. Offer flexible work options
Flexible working is now well and truly on the agenda. Improving the work-life balance for your employees and recognising different styles of working will put your company a cut above the rest.
Feeling empowered can be a huge incentive for employees to stay with an organisation and deliver their best work. Ensure that your employees get this sense of empowerment by leading from the top to make sure your organisation has the right digital agenda.
6. Conduct “stay” interviews as well as “exit” ones
The exit interview helps you understand why an employee’s leaving, and saves being surprised when reading those reviews on Glassdoor.com. Why not try informal “stay” interviews, as the Wall Street Journal suggests?
Research shows that the growing frustration from employees and managers with the year-end performance process is leading many organisations to focus on creating a continuous feedback culture to take the emphasis off the year-end appraisal.
However, keeping the dialogue going throughout the year can create an open and high performing culture. In addition make sure that employees feel that the digital door is always open and schedule in periodic reviews. These measures can flag up problems early and catch those issues that inflate into turnover before they affect people negatively. There’s another upside: people who feel listened to, tend to stick around so make it clear to every employee that there are channels to share their concerns, risk-free.
7. Talk about money… last
Some people are surprised to hear salary is way down the list of why people leave. Having competitive salaries is critical – but only as part of the wider agenda.
Keep tabs on what companies are paying for your people’s talents, and always be ready to have the conversation about pay. But stay relaxed about it, and remember it’s very rare for people to leave a job they enjoy just because of money.
8. And remember retention starts on acquisition!
The big one, of course, is that retaining starts before the employee’s first day. Contracts,employee manuals, training and induction… if they work well, your worker feels empowered from Day One.
Communication and collaborative technologies can be a huge factor in managing these first impressions. Many HR departments already use technology to talk to employees – but winning companies use it to let them talk back too. Keep your communication two-way, and you’ve got a recipe for success.
The last word
Of course, 100% retention is unrealistic. But when employees do leave, make sure it’s for the best of reasons, and always stay on good terms. You never know when your top performers may want to return… so keep the conversation going. But in order to embark on these eight easy steps to employee retention it is vital that HR talk to I.T to put the collaborative technologies in place to empower employees. By being the power couple of the workplace HR and I.T can ensure that employees are not only attracted to the business in the first place but stay when they get there.
- The job of employee retention starts with acquisition
- Communication with HR must be open-channel and two-way
- Salary and benefits are hygiene factors, not core reasons for churn