Most managers would agree that employee retention is important. High turnover is expensive, bad for morale, and can negatively impact the performance of other employees. Plus, depending on the job market, it can be difficult to continuously hire high-quality team members. To avoid potentially costly turnover, take steps to retain your top talent by providing competitive compensation, communicating openly and regularly, and providing the support and encouragement necessary to foster growth.
1. Ensure Pay Is Competitive
Offering competitive salaries is an excellent way to attract and hire employees but it’s also an important way to retain them. Providing employees with competitive salaries and offering raises and bonuses consistent with industry standards reduces the chances of your top talent finding better offers elsewhere. What’s more, giving regular performance-based pay raises and/or bonuses demonstrates a company’s commitment to the employee and can build goodwill—even if the company can’t always keep pace with competing offers.
2. Streamline Onboarding & Orientation
Many companies find that turnover is highest among new employees so it’s important to give them the resources they need to succeed from the beginning. Take steps to retain talent from Day One. Provide employees clarity around their roles, day-to-day requirements, and what success looks like—all of which can be accomplished with a detailed job description.
Orientation is also a great opportunity to introduce important policies and processes to employees so they can master them early on. And, while it may seem early, onboarding is a company’s first real opportunity to set team members up for development within the company. By supporting an employee’s growth mindset from the beginning, you’ll be more likely to retain top talent in the long run.
3. Communicate Openly & Transparently
To build trust and make employees feel at ease, develop a company culture that encourages open communication and fosters a feeling of psychological safety in the workplace—whether that be in an office or on a Zoom call. Communication should also go both ways, so solicit input from your team members to nurture engagement, build trust, and encourage employee retention.
Being transparent with your employees about company policies and decision-making can also make employees feel more loyal to—and invested in—your company. Just be cautious about your messaging. Communication should inspire employees’ confidence in themselves, their colleagues, and the company itself.
4. Prioritize Work-Life Balance
In addition to promoting a corporate culture that encourages open communication, set and enforce policies that support a healthy work-life balance. Depending on your organization, this may mean offering work-from-home options (even post-pandemic) or otherwise facilitating flexible work hours. It can also involve maintaining manageable workloads (do regular check-ins to ensure it’s working for the employee), creating a positive work environment, and providing wellness programs.
Either way, allowing employees to prioritize a healthy work-life balance will make them more likely to stay with your company for the long-haul.
5. Have Regular One-On-Ones
One-on-one meetings with managers can help employees understand the definition of success in their roles. These meetings are also a great opportunity for supervisors to learn more about what makes an employee tick and what they need to be their best selves. This not only helps you better manage your employees day-to-day, but also lets you learn about—and nurture—their professional goals. Sometimes, all you have to do to retain top talent is ask the right questions and listen.
6. Offer Personal & Professional Growth Opportunities
One of the most common reasons top employees leave their roles is to move to a new job with better benefits or growth potential. For that reason, your company should offer growth opportunities while being willing to address—and compete with—external offers. If you have regular meetings with your employees, you may already have a grasp of their personal and professional goals. If not, an employee’s annual review may be the best time to learn more about that.
Depending on the employee, it may also be helpful to cover education expenses to grow in a relevant field or to encourage conference attendance through financial assistance and flexible work schedules. This can even help with retaining employees who might otherwise plan to leave after a certain amount of time in the role or at the company.
7. Promote From Within
Whenever possible, consider the career paths and goals of your employees in the context of existing roles in the company. Promoting from within not only boosts morale, it can also be the key to keeping employees engaged, even as their goals and interests develop. This is partly because employees are more likely to participate in corporate events, training sessions, and other activities when there is a greater likelihood of promotion. Internal promotions also foster a greater sense of loyalty—which leads to higher employee retention rates.
8. Provide Resources & Support
Another common reason behind resignations is a perceived lack of support or resources. To combat this, managers and company leadership should help employees remove obstacles standing in the way of employee success. Likewise, companies that want to retain their top talent should also provide employees the tools they need to be successful in their current roles—and as they develop. This may be assigning a mentor, purchasing a software upgrade, or even giving access to an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to help with personal or professional issues.
That said, many employees also report micromanagement as a top reason for leaving their previous role. So, once you provide team members the tools to succeed—give them the freedom to do so.
9. Challenge Employees
Employees also report that feeling underutilized is one of the top reasons for leaving a job. For this reason, companies should take extra steps to ensure they’re challenging their top talent. Depending on the role, employees may benefit from stretch assignments that require them to go beyond their current expertise or skill set. Companies can also challenge employees by helping them expand beyond their comfort zones and providing a safe environment to experiment, fail, learn, and develop.
10. Give Recognition Where It’s Due
Creating a culture of recognition not only increases employee confidence in completing day-to-day tasks, it helps employees feel more secure in their positions. Managers can nurture team members and encourage high retention by setting tangible goals, providing ongoing feedback, and celebrating accomplishments. This type of positive reinforcement is even more effective when managers tie individual achievements to companywide goals and initiatives.
To retain the employees you hire, you need to plan accordingly—from onboarding to policies and even pay. Employees who feel valued and heard are more likely to work with you long term. And those who don’t may not even last a year. Make it a point to build trust, show appreciation, and provide everything your employees need to be successful in their position.