Effective Employee Retention Strategies in the Wake of the Great Resignation
2021 was a year of change and struggle for many people, resulting in a wave of resignations which have cost companies millions of dollars in hiring, restructuring, and more. It seems like everywhere, businesses are short-handed and searching for adequate workers. Sometimes called the “Great Resignation,” sometimes the “Great Reshuffle,” millions of employees have switched jobs and even careers in search of a better work environment. Effective employee retention strategies are the key to keeping your employees satisfied and content in their job.
Employee Retention Strategies
While there are many strategies for retaining your employees, some are better than others. It is easy to think as an employer that your employees have everything they need, but it is time to consider what might help your employees enjoy their jobs to the fullest.
Perks and Benefits
While this may seem like an obvious employee retention strategy, it could be the deciding factor between your workplace and a similar job that wants to hire your employees.
If you can make it happen, offer your employees benefits! Access to healthcare and a 401k are the bare minimum in today’s market – can you add other less expected benefits like employee discounts or tuition or childcare reimbursement? Not only do programs like these benefit your workers, but it benefits you as the employer as well. Employee benefits are tax-free, and often it won’t cost you much more to provide them. It also ensures you have a healthier, happier workforce with fewer sick days and more long-term employees.
Paid Time Off
Another perk or benefit you can easily offer is generous paid time off (PTO). Burnout is a huge contributor to the great resignation. Paid time off can help reduce burnout and provide opportunities for vacations, family time, and needed leave for important other events like doctors appointments or funerals. Everyone needs time off, but a lot of companies make their employees take time off without pay, which can make things difficult for those employees. There are other cultures where everyone has time-off, but people don’t feel comfortable using it. We’ve all heard of the intense work environments where needing time off is looked at as a weakness, and never taking a vacation is rewarded with promotions. Offering generous PTO – and then actually encouraging employees to take it – is a great way to support your employees’ wellbeing and help them to stay with your company.
When a company offers perks, it is important not to slight the more important benefits and go straight to fun solutions. However, these fun perks can be effective employee retention strategies, especially in companies where you offer good benefits but need another reason for your employees to stay. Some of these perks are things like gifts over the holidays, contests with prizes, and even remote work options. These can be as exciting and fun as you want them to be! Creating a stand-out work environment can help your employees to see what is so great about your company. Sometimes perks can also look like nice office space, a stipend for office decor or supplies, paid lunches once a month, or even a free gym membership. Get creative! Help your employees see what makes your workspace special.
Talk to Your Employees
While creating a happy work environment and exciting job package is always beneficial, it can’t replace a great conversation. The best employee retention strategies include several steps:
Have a One on One With Each Employee
Many companies begin by issuing a company wide survey that gathers quite a bit of data. Then, move on to create a one on one with each employee. If this isn’t possible for you to meet with each employee, ask your managers to step in and meet with some of them. Record your impressions and ask questions such as “What could we do to make your job better?” or “What is your biggest frustration right now in the workplace?”. Make an effort to listen and make your employee feel validated. If you’re already friends, this can be an amazing discussion. Don’t make them feel like you are interrogating them or that if they say the wrong thing, they could lose their job. If that happens, the employee might even feel like they should leave due to these meetings. Be aware of your own shortcomings, and be willing to take some criticism.
Compile Your Findings
Notice what your employees say to you. Is there a common thread? What seems to be the biggest frustration of your employees? Maybe take a survey as a part of your meetings. Find what would help your employees to feel happiest in their individual jobs.
Address the Issues You Find
Once you have the evidence you need, make changes. Address the issues through effective employee retention strategies. Upgrade the office if needed! Give raises to the employees who deserve it! You will find that your employees will tell you what needs to be corrected if you only listen to their needs.
Growth and Opportunities
One of the most effective employee retention strategies that especially works well for Millennials and other younger employees is the opportunity for growth. Some people are happy staying in the same job for the rest of their lives. Employees often hope for growth, especially when they enter a job at the entry-level or are near the beginning of their careers. Most entry-level employees never grow in salary even after they are much more valuable to the company, prompting them to leave once they have more experience. A great way to combat these employees leaving is by offering scheduled raises or having yearly performance ratings and following up with the employees who go above and beyond. Reward your good employees, without them having to ask for it!
Upgrade Your Office Equipment
If your company has been using the same computers for the last 10 years, it’s time to upgrade. If an employee is struggling to complete their work tasks because of a computer, that makes them feel frustrated and like they have no control over their duties. Upgrading your office decor, space, and appliances can also impress clients and visitors to the office, making your employees proud to work there. Upgrading your office hardware can make your office more productive and also help the employees to feel valued and rewarded. Not only does this benefit them, it also benefits you as the employer.
Employees who feel listened to and have what they need will stay where they are. Creating a safe, sustainable job environment is the most effective employee retention strategy. While it is not easy being an employer, it is hard to continue hiring and rehiring employees who are unhappy and leaving. Do what works for you and your business, and you can gain a loyal employee group that will keep your company running.
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