In today’s ever-competitive world, great employees have plenty of options. Even the most content workers may be looking for greener grass just because it’s available to them, making it harder for businesses to retain their best and brightest team members.
Nearly every company these days is at risk of losing some of their most valuable assets, and employee turnover is extremely expensive. The average turnover cost in the U.S. averages more than $26,000 annually, not to mention the decreased productivity, stunted morale and knowledge loss that comes with losing a key player.
Needless to say, employee retention is essential to a successful business. And an employee retention strategy is essential for effective employee retention.
An Employee Retention Strategy: What It is and Why It Matters
An employee retention strategy is your company’s documented plan and goals to keep team members at your company. As opposed to the abstract wish a company may have to retain employees, an employee retention strategy creates an information-based actionable plan to actually make it happen.
Employee retention strategies vary greatly by organization, but in its simplest form, your employee retention strategy should identify why employees leave your company, your plan to address feedback in exit interviews, your knowledge of the benefits your competitors are offering and your understanding of what’s truly important to your team members.
Much of this information specific to your company and your industry can be gained by simply talking to your current and previous employees, but you may also gain some insight for your employee retention strategy from a recruiting and retention consultant.
Great employee retention strategies offer companies a variety of benefits, including:
- More engaged employees
- Higher productivity
- Improved customer relationships
- Increased institutional knowledge and skills
- Reduced costs associated with recruitment and training
- Strengthened corporate culture
At the end of the day, the best employee retention strategies are the ones that listen to the values and concerns of your team members and act to address them in an attempt to retain your workers.
Fortunately, you don’t have to break the bank to keep your top talent. While each company’s retention strategies will address their unique needs, here are some practical, affordable steps organizations can take to reduce turnover, cut talent costs overall and establish an effective employee retention strategy.
1. Create Opportunities for Career Development
Providing career opportunities is an essential part of a good employee retention strategy, and it’s likely a more affordable option for companies than you might think.
Employees are more loyal to companies that are willing to invest in them. And you don’t necessarily have to send your employees to expensive conferences or foot the bill for lofty certifications.
As part of your employee retention strategy, consider instituting a mentoring or coaching program among your staff, creating a template to help younger team members think through how they’d like to grow or even allowing for small job duty changes when a team member expresses an interest in a project.
When organizations are open to the idea of creating opportunities for career development, it can also set you apart from your competitors when you’re trying to recruit top talent.
It doesn’t have to cost anything to open the door to new possibilities within your company, and the outcome could save you enormously in the long run.
2. Support Flexible Work
Recognizing that employees are humans with lives outside of work can be incredibly beneficial when it comes to your employee retention strategy. And offering flexible work can go a long way for retaining your team members.
Flexible jobs were already on the rise before COVID-19, but now many workers expect the structure and flow of business operations to fit more around their own schedules and less around the typical 9-to-5 office setup.
This flexibility can take many forms—from remote work to varying hours and beyond. When people have the flexibility to work around their own needs, they experience more freedom at work. This, in turn, leads to a reduction in turnover—the ultimate goal of any employee retention strategy.
As long as you’re hiring the right people, you should be able to trust that the work can get done whenever and however your employees can do it. Allowing flexible hours likely won’t cost your company a thing, and it can greatly improve productivity, which will ultimately boost your bottom line.
3. Create Programs to Aid Employee Stress Management
An astounding 40% of employee turnover is thought to be the result of stress, costing American companies an estimated $300 billion annually.
For your employee retention strategy to accurately address stress-related issues, you should utilize employee surveys, exit interviews and candid conversations to find out what stressors exist at work. Don’t assume that you know your employees’ stressors without inviting an open conversation with them.
Depending on employees’ specific feedback, you’ll be able to address the particular factors within your organization causing employee stress. In addition, the following are ways to help employees handle stress as part of an employee retention strategy:
- Webinars and Classes. Inspire employees to take advantage of stress-management webinars, wellness tips and programs founded around positive mental health. Incorporate wellness into your corporate culture.
- Breaks. Make sure staff members are taking regular breaks and walking away from their screens or workstations throughout the day.
- Encourage Exercise and Personal Care. Promote daily exercise and personal time with friends and family after work hours. Urge employees to pursue hobbies, listen to music and use their earned PTO.
Learn More about Creating an Effective Employee Retention Strategy
Your organization is responsible for attracting and retaining the right team members, so the importance of an employee retention strategy based on real feedback and information from your team members can’t be understated.
At Warren Averett Staffing & Recruiting, we help employers find the right team members, assess their turnover and develop effective talent acquisition and retention strategies.
If you’re ready to establish an effective employee retention strategy, schedule a time to chat with one of our recruiting and retention experts for tailored insight into your organization.