Why Retaining Your Current Employees is Just as Important as Recruiting New Ones [Plus Four Ways to Do It]

Written by Derek Johnson, Whitney McFee on January 8, 2020

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The unemployment rate is the lowest it’s been in decades, which means that more people have jobs now than in several years past.

For job-seekers, the opportunities are plentiful. For businesses who are seeking employees in this market, the options can be slim.

The truth is that there are more open jobs than there are people looking for them. As a result, many businesses have struggled to recruit the right team members to fill an open role within the company, since their prime, targeted candidates are likely already in a role at another organization (and not on the hunt for a new job).

What companies might not realize is that, while you’re looking to recruit new talent for your business from outside of your organization, likewise, your competitors are probably looking to recruit your current team members for their own organizations. In fact, they probably already know them by name.

So, as identifying new talent is becoming more challenging, retaining the talent that you already have is increasingly important.

Listen to the podcast episode: Take (and Retain) Ones for Your Team

The Act of Recruiting Employees Demands the Act of Retaining Employees

Many companies roll out the red carpet for their new employees once they’ve accepted a position with the company. Businesses often invest significant resources in orientation, company-branded items, meals and many other things to welcome a new team member.

But after a few months, or even weeks, into a new team member’s tenure, things get busy, projects get underway and that initial passion that a company met a team member with in the interview process often disappears.

So, how can your company continue to retain your top performers long after their orientation ends? How can you take strategic steps to make it harder for your competitors to pick off your team members from right under your nose? If your business has a strategy for your finances and operations, what might it look like to create a strategy for your people?

Unless you focus on retaining the employees you have, you could find yourself caught in a revolving door of hiring new team members to fill newly-open roles.

But, your tactics for retaining your team don’t have to be limited to scrambling to provide counter offers. Here are four ways you can be proactive when it comes to keeping your people engaged and committed to your company in today’s tight job market.

1. Provide growth opportunity for your team.

Employees leave companies when they don’t believe there’s room to grow.

Your team members want to know that there are opportunities for advancement. For some employees, that may mean advancing to senior-level leadership within your company through a promotion, but for others it may mean advancing their skills and knowledge or advancing in their involvement in a company initiative.

Remember that not all advancement opportunities are financial, and consider what your company can provide to your team outside of a paycheck; any company can provide a paycheck. What makes your company different when it comes to the way you’re committed to investing in your people?

Roles are different and people are different. Communicate directly with your current employees to learn how they want to grow and how those wants align with your company’s overarching goals.

2. Foster a culture of positive feedback, and encourage relationship building among employees.

Many employees leave organizations because they feel their company doesn’t listen to them, their skills aren’t valued or their business doesn’t even understand what their role is.

Your team members should always have confidence that their skills and knowledge are valuable to the success of your organization, so it’s important to create an environment in which feedback, recognition and encouragement are abundant.

Don’t just give feedback about what your team members need to change, but enforce what they do well and how they add value to projects and your company as a whole. Create a culture of showing appreciation from the top down and in peer-to-peer interactions. Give recognition when it’s deserved.

3. Equip your company’s leaders with a culture strategy.

Company culture is a monumental aspect of employee retention. Employees leave when they have bad work experiences, team interactions and office dynamics. Invest in your company culture, and equip your leaders to preserve and promote it.

If your company has identified certain values or principles that inform your corporate identity, use that as a starting place for understanding your company’s culture. Consider what those values mean for everyday life at your company. If your company professes philosophies externally, make sure that your company is living it out internally.

Help your company’s executives and team leaders not only understand those values and the culture that you’re trying to foster, but also enable them to advance it. Knowing your identity as a company (and what that identity means for the people who work at your organization) can go a long way.

4. Get an outside perspective.

Check in with others outside of your organization who can offer an unbiased perspective about how you are building up your team. Engage a recruiter who has experience with hiring for companies in your industry to help you evaluate your stance against your competition.

Is the salary you’re offering competitive with similar organizations? Are your benefits comparable? Are you differentiating your company enough from your competitors?

When you’re able to tap into an unbiased, yet informed opinion, you’re more likely to identify any blind spots and make improvements you might not have even noticed otherwise.

Retaining Your Team

As it becomes harder to find the right talent to add to your company, it’s more and more important to retain the high-performing employees that are already on your team and committed to the success of your company.

Each industry is different, each business is different and each employee is different. Yet, retaining your employees is a crucial aspect that’s valuable to all.

For help creating a customized recruiting and retention strategy or to identify where your company could be more competitive, connect with a Warren Averett recruiter.

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