6 Essential Strategies to Improve Employee Retention

There is not much point investing in a great hiring process (or a nice office) if your employees won't stay with you. Here are a few tips from the Pros to help you reduce employee turnover and improve staff retention.

1. Onboarding and orientation boosts employee retention

It makes sense to start at the beginning, with onboarding and orientation.

HR industry research has shown for a long time that new employees who go through a structured onboarding program are 58 percent more likely to be with the organization after three years. Every new hire should be set up for success from the start. Your onboarding process should teach new employees not only about the job but also about the company culture and how they can contribute to and thrive in it.

The key insight here is that onboarding serves two crucial purposes: First, training helps set employees up for success and impact so they will feel good about their work. But just as importantly, onboarding is a time to help new employees form a relationship with their new company by exploring shared values and connecting with the organization on a personal level.

2. Data, Data, Data

No effective employee retention program can exist without a good understanding of what is actually driving turnover in your organization. Every company is different and what works for one one company may not work for another. The reasons why people join or leave, say, McDonalds are very different from the reasons people join, say, Google. At a minimum, start by doing regular employee engagement surveys. But consider digging deeper with people analytics solutions.

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3. Give Your Employees An Opportunity To Grow

Many companies promote people from outside of the organization. This can have a strong negative effect on current employees. If they think there is no way to advance or improve, employees become disillusioned in their roles, and are less likely to stay. Promoting from within not only provides a clear path to greater compensation and responsibility, it also helps employees feel they’re valued and a crucial part of the company’s success. So employee development and education are essential.

Moreover, employees see training programs and career development support as an investment in their future.

Growth also means growing compensation: employers need to evaluate and adjust salaries regularly. How would you feel if your company hired someone more junior than you at a higher salary than you because that's the 'market rate'? You'd probably start working on updating your resume.

But if your company cannot afford higher salaries there are other benefits you can offer, like remote work.

4. Embrace remote work options

A recent EY survey showed that more than half (54%) of employees would consider leaving their job post-COVID if they are not afforded some form of flexibility in where and when they work.

Enough said.

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5. Provide More Positive Feedback

We all know that employees need feedback – both positive, and constructive -- to grow and to do their best work. A Harvard Business Review study showed that the optimal ratio between positive and negative feedback is 5.6 (positive) to 1 (corrective). Hold regular one-on-ones with employees, review performance together often, offer (and ask for) feedback, and discuss career development with employees.
Create an employee recognition program; enable peer-to-peer recognition, public praise from managers, and company awards.

Employees who feel valued and appreciated for their work are less likely to seek that appreciation elsewhere.

6. Tailor your programs to individual needs

The future of employee retention is in tailored measures for each individual. Not every employee is motivated by a financial bonus, not every employee wants remote work (or office snacks and pingpong tables). The key is to understand what drives each individual. Understanding each individual can be challenging, especially because many people don't feel comfortable expressing their true motivations to their employer. Luckily, there are tools to help understand who needs a little extra love in your organization.

10 things every HR professional needs to know about turnover

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