Why an Employee Retention Plan is Crucial for Keeping Your Employees Around

Written by David Salters on March 8, 2022

Warren Averett employee retention plan image

Today, there are more open positions than workers to fill them, and employees are leaving their jobs in droves looking for something better.

One thing is certain for companies in today’s Great Resignation: keeping the employees you have is just as important as recruiting new ones. To truly be successful, businesses in all industries must consider how to improve employee retention.

However, many companies are struggling to retain even the workers they thought were the most loyal and content. The cost of turnover is high—both financially and culturally—for organizations. How can companies that are losing employees left and right work to ensure their organization has workers for the future?

The key to retaining workers is to understand why your employees are leaving and to create an effective employee retention plan designed to keep them.

What Is an Employee Retention Plan?

In its simplest form, an employee retention plan is a documented strategy to keep talented employees content and employed at your organization.

An effective employee retention plan should consider existing factors concerning employee turnover at your specific organization, as well as your path to combat the contributors to turnover. Consider why your former employees have left the company (based on their exit interviews), your plan to address their feedback for your company and what your team members’ values are.

In addition to factors within your organization, your employee retention plan should also consider what your competitors are offering and why your employees might go somewhere else. Anticipate what benefits other companies may be offering to your people so that you can consider how your own compensation, benefits and culture offerings compare.

Warren Averett employee retention plan image

Utilizing your current and former team members’ perspectives (whether it’s through exit interviews, surveys or candid conversations) is key to formulating a proper employee retention plan. Don’t assume that your company understands and can address turnover without consulting your employees. In fact, their unique perspectives may uncover blind spots for your company that can make all the difference for improving employee retention at your business.

How to Improve Employee Retention

Once you’ve done the legwork of gathering employee feedback to understand turnover at your specific organization, you’re ready to begin formulating your employee retention plan.

Depending on your specific organization and your team members’ feedback, your employee retention plan can look very different from that of another company. But most plans have a few things in common.

Warren Averett employee retention plan image

If you’re looking for employee retention ideas, we believe these five tips are timely, simple, actionable and effective to help you keep great people, reduce employee turnover and minimize replacement costs.

1. Commit to Robust Employee Engagement

An effective employee retention plan engages employees in initiatives that they believe are worthwhile—not just the ones your company has identified as corporate goals. This process starts by determining what’s important to employees, so it’s important to conduct regular employee engagement surveys.

Here are a few additional ways to foster engagement as part of your employee retention plan:

  • Adopt a bottom-up approach to understand employees’ position from the start.
  • Encourage and facilitate open lines of communication between employees and leadership.
  • Recognize good work at the time of the accomplishment.

2. Embrace and Provide Flexibility

There’s no way around it: today’s employees—and younger employees in particular—want flexibility. Allowing flexible working arrangements will be a key part of today’s effective employee retention plans.

Do what you can to offer remote and hybrid work arrangements and anything else that might accommodate strong talent and encourage them to stay with your company.

3. Offer a Meaningful and Intentional Career Development Plan

Offer some sort of career development plan to ensure that your employees are clear on expectations of what it takes to advance within your company. Providing this guidance also demonstrates that you want to invest in them and their future with your business—a key factor of a good employee retention plan.

Ask your management to keep an eye out for employees with the drive, energy, dedication and skills to advance. Actively support them by:

  • Paying attention to or asking about employees’ goals
  • Determining a course of action, guiding but not intervening
  • Rewarding the employee for any successful achievement in moving toward their career development plan goals

4. Support Employees with Formal and Informal Mentoring

Mentoring can be an invaluable factor in an employee’s success and should be considered in your employee retention plan. You can develop a mentoring program, connecting a new employee and senior staff member, or you can encourage a peer-to-peer style of mentoring that is collaborative in nature.

5. Invest in Middle Management Leadership Skills

Middle management faces unique pressure in your company, charged with meeting organizational goals from the top while also managing the employees they supervise. With pressure from the top and from the bottom, these workers are under immense stress, which can impact their roles and responsibilities poorly.

Invest in middle management to help them develop the skills and strategies to navigate their roles successfully and serve as positive leaders and mentors to others. This will strengthen your employee retention plan to not only retain your middle managers, but also the employees who report to them.

Learn More about Creating an Effective Employee Retention Plan

Warren Averett can help you assess your business’s turnover and work with you to develop an effective employee retention plan that incorporates these best practices and keeps your best employees at your organization.

Reach out to set up a time to chat about employee retention ideas and how we can help your company keep your best and brightest talent for the long term.

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