Employee retention is an organization’s ability to retain its employees through specific policies and strategies that encourage an employee to stay with the organization for a longer period of time and create a relationship of loyalty.
Successful businesses understand the importance of retaining their employees as they don’t have to spend money and resources to constantly replace employees, and in doing so have happy and loyal staff that want to remain with the organization for the long term.
Key Factors That Influence Retention:
- Employee engagement.
- Salary expectations.
- Work environment.
- Perception of management.
It is the organization’s responsibility to measure these factors and identify what influences employees to leave, and then to strategize and implement methods to improve their employee retention rates.
Key Factors That Lead To Employee Dissatisfaction:
- Low employee morale.
- Lack of career path.
- Lack of satisfaction with the current role.
- Lack of commitment to the organization.
- Financial insecurity.
When strategizing on methods to improve your employee retention rates, it is vital to take into account the factors listed above. This will ensure that the retention methods that you plan to implement do not heighten employee dissatisfaction unknowingly.
Signs of Employee Dissatisfaction:
- Work productivity has decreased.
- A negative change in attitude.
- Lack of focus on work-related matters.
- Visible dissatisfaction with their current role.
- Departs work early or arrives later than usual.
- An excessive amount of sick leave taken.
The negative impact of employees leaving can be expensive and damaging to your organization’s goals and objectives. Recruitment costs can become quite steep and may be avoided by offering a raise to your employee at a fraction of the recruitment cost. There will also be a loss of enterprise knowledge as your current employee understands the organization’s policies and processes, and understands what to expect from the pressure of the role. New employees take approximately three months to achieve optimal productivity, and the frequency of new employees at your organization can impact the morale of the team and undermine their loyalty.
Attrition at the workplace can be described as the gradual reduction of an organization's workforce. You can read more about attrition here.
TIP: Organizations should treat their employees as appreciating assets who increase in value over time, as they become more productive and understand how the organization operates.
How to Retain Employees:
1. Offer attractive perks.
A great way to reward employees is by offering competitive salaries, generous commission structures, vacation leave, retirement savings plans, and subsidized medical plans. More cost-effective perks include incentivized vacations, or telecommuting. For those organizations with a tight budget, free perks are equally as effective and include offering an option to work from home, flexible working hours and giving bonus days off. Even if that were not possible, public acknowledgment of work progress and a handwritten acknowledgment of their effort would go a long way in creating staff loyalty. A simple “Thank You” has a powerful effect on staff morale.
Great Ideas to Promote Employee Satisfaction:
- Casual dress code.
- Office relaxation zone.
- Employee social club.
- Employee family days.
- Office games room.
- Bring your child to work day.
- Once a month massages.
- Staff library.
- Team lunches.
- Offer volunteering time.
- Office fruit bowls.
- Office gym.
2. Career development guidance.
Based on a recent LinkedIn survey, one of the main reasons why employees leave an organization is because of a lack of opportunities. By clearly outlining an employee’s role and mapping out opportunities for their future advancement, an employee will identify with their role and be encouraged to excel in order to further their career development.
TIP: A great way to engage with employees is to ask them pertinent questions and get their feedback. You can use this feedback to create workable strategies and make your employee feel a part of the decision-making process.
This will display that you trust your employee’s judgment and value their contribution, and in turn will boost morale and increase their loyalty to your organization.
3. Explain the bigger purpose.
A great way to motivate an employee is to highlight the long-term goals and objectives of the organization. This will explain to an employee WHY they are doing WHAT they are doing. Once an employee understands the purpose of their role and how their specific job contributes to the organization meeting their goals and objectives, the employee will feel mentally invested in the organization as they would realize the valuable contribution that their work brings to ensuring the success of the organization.
4. Conduct stay interviews.
Stay interviews are a great way for managers to ascertain why employees would like to stay in the organization. It is a preventative measure that could identify employee dissatisfaction before an employee has made an internal decision to leave the organization. Although management may be apprehensive to hear any negative feedback, all types of feedback from their employees are invaluable as it gives the organization insight into their employees' experience and allows the organization to make the necessary changes to improve situations before they reach a stage beyond remedy.
Typical Questions to Ask at Stay Interviews:
- What would make you want to leave this organization?
- What would you change about management to make your work experience better?
- What motivates you to stay with this organization?
- What would you change about your job role to improve your work experience?
5. Forge a culture of open communication.
Organizations must commit to open and transparent communication, and these lines of communications should filter through all levels of the organization. Employees must feel free to express their thoughts, make suggestions, share their ideas, and address conflicts and/or grievances. Management will earn the trust of their teams when lines of communication are unhindered.
6. Offer learning & development opportunities.
Your organization should create an environment where employees feel that they have a solid platform to grow and expand. Your HR departments and Training & Development teams should constantly seek to empower employees to ensure that they have the best opportunities for career advancement.
Methods of Empowering Employees:
- Cross training programs that enable multi-skilled employees.
- Mentorship programs that improve techniques for higher productivity.
- Leadership programs that cultivate a character of greater responsibility at work.
CALCULATING EMPLOYEE RETENTION: Organizations can easily calculate their employee retention rate for monthly, quarterly or annual periods. The calculation is as follows:
Take the number of employees remaining at the end of the calculation period and divide that by the number of employees at the beginning of the calculation period, and then multiply that figure by 100.
For example, if you had 1,000 employees on the first day of the month and 800 employees on the last day of the month, you have lost 200 employees and your retention rate would be 80%.
There are a few best practices to adhere to that will improve your staff retention rate at your organization:
Improve the Recruitment Process.
If the initial recruitment process is thorough and applicants are properly screened and assessed, your organization will have a greater success rate in finding employees who adapt well to the organization and are a great fit for their role. A critical aspect is having detailed job descriptions when advertising that specify particular skills, credentials, and experience needed for the role on offer.
Focus on Developing Managers.
Many employees leave their organizations because of poor management. Organizations should ensure that their management teams receive proper training and development in order to effectively manage their teams. Great managers display qualities that encourage productivity from their teams while enabling employees to develop into their roles confidently.
Create a Culture of Recognition.
Organizations must create an environment where employees are recognized for their effort and dedication towards their work. Giving positive feedback and publicly acknowledging your employees will improve staff morale and encourage all employees to strive for improvement.
TIP: A recent survey by Deloitte indicates that employees place more emphasis on recognition received from their peers as opposed to recognition from their managers. A great way to boost staff morale is to create strategies for employees to recognize the efforts and hard work of each other, and to develop a platform where employees can praise one another.
For the best HR books on culture, leadership, and people in general, check out our Top 10 HR Books for 2019 list.
How do I retain good employees?
Some great ways are to offer attractive perks, offer career guidance, conduct stay interviews, explain the organization's purpose, encourage open communication channels, and offer solid platforms for employee development.
See our full guide with more tips.
How can I attract talented individuals to my organization?
Have a detailed job description when advertising vacant roles, offer referral incentives to existing employees, network at candidate-specific events, and use job-specific platforms.
What can I do to motivate my employees who seem distracted?
You can boost staff morale by showing gratitude for their hard work and effort. This can be done through incentivized programs, regular rewards, or a public acknowledgment of your appreciation for their dedication.