Table of Contents:
What are employee retention ideas?
Employee retention ideas are the tactics a company uses to keep its top employees from quitting. They can be anything from a raise to a parking spot. Perhaps the biggest challenge for human resources offices today, employee retention is a complex topic with a very simple foundation: keeping employees happy and engaged. A competitive salary may be a start, but that's not all that goes into employee loyalty and job satisfaction. Whatever your current company culture, employee retention ideas can help you minimize the number of people who voluntarily leave your company. While employee retention ideas benefit everyone, they focus on retaining good employees -- your top talent and motivating them to stay at their current job.
Why are employee retention ideas important?
Here are a few reasons why employee retention is important:
- Retaining an existing employee costs less money than the time and effort it takes to recruit and train a new person.
- Low turnover improves employee morale and gives you a chance to let your company culture grow and mature.
- Retaining top talent helps your company maintain high quality standards (and avoid quality problems).
- If an employee has been with the company for a long time, they know your business better than any new hire possibly can.
On that note, if you want to be sure you're retaining employees well, here is how one executive career coach summarized the situation. "The No. 1 reason people leave their jobs is because of how they're treated," she explained. "The No. 2 reason is because they don't have a sense of what their future looks like at the company."
Employee retention ideas help employees feel valued, appreciated, and happy at work. How can you contribute to creating an environment that does just that? Read on for quick-implement employee retention ideas!
Quick-implement employee retention ideas
No time and no budget? No problem! There are plenty of low or no cost employee retention strategies that can be implemented within weeks. Just pick a few that seem like they'd work best for your company culture and get started right away.
Here are some quick and easy strategies to get started with:
- Have lunch together. Sure, it’s simple, and it doesn't take much time, but a shared meal will strengthen existing relationships and make employees feel more connected. If you treat, the impact is doubled!
- Have a dedicated meeting to discuss how things are going at work, but also provide time for your employees to talk about their personal priorities and what is new in their personal lives.
- Hire someone part-time to come in and teach fun team building exercises. When employees feel like they're working for something bigger than themselves, they'll be less likely to quit because of a bad manager or poor work environment.
- Schedule a company trip where everyone can decompress and be themselves, e.g., take a trip together to the beach for the day or have an overnight camping trip in the mountains with all of your employees. This employee retention strategy will get people to bond more quickly which will improve morale throughout.
- Allow people to take time off when needed. If they are stressed, or having a rough time at home, let them have some paid time off to take care of themselves. Work life balance is important, and you'll be surprised at what a boost this can give to employee morale!
Employee retention ideas that can change your company culture
If you're interested in changing your company's entire culture then try implementing these ideas into your HR strategy one by one. These types of retention ideas take some time and money because you need buy-in from upper management but the potential impact far outweighs the cost. Your employee retention rate will increase, your voluntary turnover rate will go down, and disengaged employees will be hard to find on your premises.
- Hire for happiness over qualifications. Look for employees who are not just skilled workers but are also great fits with the company culture. Employee dissatisfaction and employee attrition can sink team morale and make productivity go rock bottom, but a satisfied employee will make everyone around them feel good. If you get this right, people will be more satisfied with their jobs so they won't consider quitting anytime soon!
- Keep everyone informed on company goals, even your entry-level employees. When people have a sense of shared direction and understand the "big picture," they'll be less likely to leave because they will feel like they matter to your organization. This staff retention strategy is especially crucial to employee engagement and can lead to increased employee satisfaction as well as decreased employee turnover.
- Treat everyone like adults. Let each worker make decisions within their areas of expertise and make sure they know you trust their judgment. To increase engagement, managers should focus more on coaching and less on task management.
- Create a culture of appreciation. One of the most simple yet directly effective actions you can take towards employee retention is to appreciate your employees in small ways frequently. If you're already doing this and not seeing results (i.e., low turnover, employee burnout), you may need to ask yourselves whether your appreciation is getting through to your employees and how you can better communicate how much you appreciate their work.
- Start a mentorship program where everybody mentors somebody else on their team. This increases visibility across the organization, which is one reason why it works so well for increasing retention. It also shows that management trusts their staff and values them as people, which is a huge motivator for employees.
- Get rid of traditional titles and implement self-managed teams instead so that each person feels ownership over their work and how it contributes to the whole. It may seem drastic, but this innovative employee retention strategy works: people are less likely to leave when they feel empowered rather than micromanaged.
- Match your employees’ charitable donations up to x amount of dollars each year so they can feel that they're doing good for others, which will keep them feeling happy and upbeat.
Remote teams and employee retention ideas
If you're working with a remote team, then it's important to employ different tactics because you don't have physical access to your employees. Here are some good starting points:
- Schedule virtual stand up meetings every morning where everyone talks about what they accomplished yesterday, what they'll do today, etc. This keeps everyone on track but also helps them feel accountable for their work. Things might slip through the cracks if you employ remote workers, so this will help you feel more in control.
- Send an email to your remote team once a week where you list the top accomplishments of the remote work week and congratulate certain employees for what they've done. Your remote staff will love being recognized for their hard work (because most times they don't receive any) and it will motivate them even more to continue with the good work.
- If you've got a small team, one effective employee retention strategy is simply to take the time to chat with each individual one-on-one and learn about their career goals and aspirations. You should know what makes each remote employee tick personally as well as professionally in order to employ the most effective strategies possible.
- Be flexible with hours, and when possible give your virtual team the freedom to telecommute from any location with internet (hello, Caribbean!) and log their hours at times that work best for them.
Software and your employee retention ideas
If you're looking at long-term strategies for your company culture, then software is the way to go because it's relatively inexpensive, scalable, and impactful (which means that if you implement it correctly, then there's no limit to how far this strategy can go). Software can also be a wonderful way to collect employee feedback and increase engagement. Here are some examples of tools that you can employ for this:
- A company wiki where employees can suggest ideas, share tips and best practices, etc.
- An online company directory complete with bios where everyone's input is welcome. This requires a bit more sophistication than the previous idea so it might take some time to scale, but once you do it will be invaluable for new employees.
- Employee appreciation/feedback software like Matter to enable your team members to give each other kudos and constructive feedback throughout the workday.
One of the most important things you can do for an entry-level or mid-level employee is to give them enough autonomy so that they are empowered to plan their own workday. This makes the onboarding process stress-free and enables a new employee to learn the ropes quickly. If you employ the best software tools to support these workers with streamlined processes, they will be able to become more autonomous faster than if you left all of this up to managers who don't always have time for it.
Software systems that make entry-level employees more autonomous include:
Final employee retention ideas and tips
Here's what ultimately matters: If your team isn't happy then they'll quit as soon as something better comes along. The good news is that there are so many retention strategies available to you, it's just a question of which ones to employ. Some final tips:
- Try implementing new employee retention techniques one at a time so you can monitor their effects more carefully.
- Let your team in on what you're doing so that they can buy into your retention strategy and employ it more willingly. That way you still get to control everything while also getting valuable feedback from your employees.
Make sure to show appreciation for all of your hardworking staff members because they are ultimately helping your company succeed. Even the smallest gesture can go a long way towards making somebody's day, month, or year! Sky high job satisfaction scores, a robust retention rate and a stellar employee experience are all within your reach. If you listen to your employees, respond to their concerns, celebrate their achievements and provide an environment where they can truly engage with what your company is all about. A well-appreciated, engaged employee isn’t going anywhere, not if they can help it!
If you’d like to read up more on employee engagement, check out this page of top employee engagement ideas!