Employee turnover is a fact of life, so how can you plan for it if you’re a manager? There are core strategies to retain your employees, and the most obvious, albeit elusive strategy, is to keep your employees happy. What does happiness mean in this context? Job satisfaction, mostly: they have respect, a suitable salary, resources, some autonomy, and work tools for completing their tasks with a minimal amount of stress. But, unfortunately, certain industries and positions are just natural fits for frequent employee turnover.
Regardless of your industry, it’s crucial to control the rate of attrition on the job. It hurt’s a company’s bottom line. About $11 billion is lost each year because of employees leaving the job, according to the Bureau of National Affairs. In some cases, hiring and training a replacement will cost, on average, twice that lost employee’s salary. That’s not even considering the ding to overall morale that comes into play with staff turnover.
And today’s workforce isn’t shy about seeking new jobs and opportunities either. According to a recent Gallup poll, 47% of the workforce believes it’s a good time to get a better job. In fact, more than half the employees polled were actively seeking a new job.
Why Are People Leaving?
To plan for employee retention, you must first understand why they’re moving on. While you’re unlikely to keep recruiters from dangling job offers before your workforce, your employees are less likely to take the bait if you keep them happy. Look for signs of employee burnout. Maybe you’re overburdening your employees and not distributing the workload fairly.
Another problem might be that you’re not communicating with you employees. Communication doesn’t mean simply telling someone to do something; you need to listen as well. Often an employee who leaves has already expressed concerns about their job or situation at work. If you don’t listen and respond seriously to complaints, you’re going to lose that employee.
One thing is for sure, employee retention strategies are only effective before the employee gets the itch to leave. You need to set the tone of the company culture early on, one that respects and listens to its workers. Once they’ve been recruited elsewhere or have decided to leave, no realistic counter-offer will likely change their minds.
If they do leave, you should always hold an exit interview. Be honest and open. You can learn a lot from an exiting employee who has nothing to lose. Tell them the conversation will be confidential. You’re only interested in learning why the employee is leaving and righting any wrongs that might have spurred their departure.
Strategies for Employee Retention
There is always going to be some attrition, but that turnover rate needs to be small. A bit of turnover is not a bad thing. It brings in new people, who have new ideas and new skills. Too much turnover, and you lose revenue as well as running the risk of disrupting the whole operation of your company. So, try these employee retention ideas.
Start During the Hiring Process
There’s no point in hiring a team member who is going to be at odds with their manager. That’s just asking for trouble. Personality is important, and it’s got to be one of the items on your interview to-do list when first interviewing a potential employee.
Then there’s the company itself. Every organization has a culture. If the interviewee is not going to fit into that culture, then that’s a red flag. You’ll want to ensure that the interviewee will get along with existing employees as well.
A great way to make an employee happy is to give them something. Yes, you’re paying them for the work they do. But, you know, other companies can do that too! Money, of course, is important, but it’s not always the most important part of a deal.
For example, an employee might want to have flexible hours. Perhaps they are a parent and want to take off early in the day for a school function. Maybe they would like to work remotely part of the week. Every person is different, and each will have a set of priorities that, if met, will make them happy to work for you.
You can schedule a review of employee benefits at the end of each year, which gives them an incentive to work hard. If your employee has earned it, you can adjust the benefits package to suit them. You’ll also build loyalty, which is the great for preventing employee turnover.
Recognize Good Work
No one likes to feel as if they’re being taken for granted. That’s a sure way to lose talent. Sometimes all it takes is a simple, “Good job!” Recognizing good work goes a long way to retaining employees. Not only that, it’s a cost-effective way to keep people happy at their jobs.
There are other ways to recognize good work that require a small investment but deliver great dividends. You could take the team out to lunch or throw a small party after achieving a milestone. No one ever declined a cash bonus, either.
Support doesn’t have to exclusively mean emotional support. There are other ways that you, as a manager, can support your workers on the job. For example, are they working with the best tools? Do they have the proper equipment they need to get their work done efficiently and productively?
Then there’s training. Technology is changing seemingly overnight, and those who are not continuing their education are being left behind. Make sure you invest in keeping your workforce up-to-date. Yes, there’s the fear that they’ll take those skills and shop them around elsewhere, but not if you’re providing them with a rewarding work environment.
Mentoring can be another way to provide support for your employee. It shows that you’re invested in the employee, and mentoring helps that person excel and grow in their position. Look for organic fits between more seasoned professionals and those coming up in the company. A mentoring relationship helps both parties and the company.
What? You want a successful team! True, but you also want employees who are going to stretch themselves and think outside the box, which might work, or it might not. You don’t want to curb the creativity of your team. That’s worse than failure; that’s stagnation. You can bounce back from a failed attempt, but you can’t do anything when your stagnant.
You want an innovative team of workers. Therefore, when they try and don’t succeed, dressing the employee down is the worst thing you can do. They’ll resent you for it and will probably have one foot out the door by this point. Why shouldn’t they? If you’re talking innovation, but you’re not giving people a chance to try and fail, then you’re being hypocritical.
Provide Career Path
If you’ve got ambitious employees who are looking for more challenges to better their station, and you’re not giving them in-house opportunities to achieve these goals, then it’s your fault when they give notice. Employees want to know that there’s room to advance. If they don’t, then you probably don’t want them around anyway.
You can gauge their work interest with an annual review or through more casual check-ins. Talk to them. See where they see themselves and help them reach that point in their career within the organization. Encourage them to seek advancement in the company and to speak openly with you about where they see themselves in the next year, five years or ten years. Then work with them to meet those expectations.
Retaining employees can be one of the most difficult jobs a manager has. There are always hungry companies sniffing around your most skilled workers in an attempt to lure them away. To help retain your talent, give them the tools they need to get the job done. Sign up for ProjectManager.com, a cloud-based project management software. See how it can make your team happier, work more efficiently and complete projects more productively with this free 30-day trial.