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What are employee retention techniques
Your company's biggest asset is your workforce: creative, engaged, and working hard on behalf of your company. The success you see is success they fought for, and the revenue you enjoy is earned on their timesheet, through countless hours of routine and not so routine work.
But what happens when your loyal workforce starts listening to competing offers, and employee turnover becomes a problem? The data shows that employee attrition hurts morale, it hurts productivity, and it can be incredibly expensive if it gets out of hand.
That's where employee retention techniques come into play. Employee retention techniques are nothing new to business owners. In fact, employee retention is the number one priority for HR professionals in today's workplace - particularly in industries where recruitment and training costs are high.
Why employee retention techniques matter
Employee attrition costs US companies a trillion dollars every year. Small potatoes, no? But that's not the only reason employee retention techniques are important. High employee turnover and a low retention rate is also linked to low employee morale, which has a major impact on your company's bottom line. Not only does the cost of recruitment and onboarding leave you feeling like you stuck the budget money in a leaking bucket, your existing employees also begin to wonder why they stayed. Half-hearted work is slow work, and a disengaged employee isn't able to do his or her best. Any company culture or team adhesiveness goes down the drain, and then you've got, yep, you guessed it -- more attrition. Vicious cycle, with your productivity levels going lower each time (and that onboarding bill getting higher)
Employee retention techniques are an effective tool for keeping employees in their roles and reducing employee attrition. But there's a difference between 'techniques' and 'tactics.' A tactic is great for short-term employee retention, but employee retention techniques are the key to making employee attrition a thing of the past. These techniques may take time to implement, they go to the core of your business practices, and have the potential to completely revolutionize your company culture, but when you’ve got them in place you’ll be where you want to be in terms of engagement, productivity, and, yes, retention.
So let's focus on long-term techniques, not short-term tactics. Here are 8 powerful techniques, based on employee feedback, that every business owner should use.
8 powerful employee retention techniques
- Offer competitive compensation packages -This might seem obvious at first, but employee retention techniques have a lot to do with employee attraction. Make sure you are offering a competitive salary and benefits package so your employee doesn't have to choose between staying with the company or decent healthcare or a new boat.
- Offer challenging work - Employees aren't looking for easy jobs; they're looking for opportunities to grow and learn on their employer's dime. If you want to keep employees in their role for longer, give them work that challenges them. Make sure the employee has what they need to succeed, and push them past their limits. Employee retention is all about employee happiness. You can't expect a talented employee to stay if you don't challenge them enough to allow their skills to grow over time.
- Say thank you - Employee appreciation can go a long way to improving employee morale. Plus, an employee retention strategy like sending out employee surveys or employee recognition programs lets your team know you care about employee wellness and job satisfaction. Of course, there’s more to appreciation than simply words. Ensure that all employees are treated with respect by managers or co-workers. While one employee doesn't make up an entire company, the employee's opinion really does matter - and it can make or break an employee's experience.
- Offer performance-based rewards - Incentives are more powerful than you think, so take this employee retention technique seriously. If employees know they have a chance of being rewarded for good work, they will continue to produce great results, and employee loyalty will increase.
- Offer on-the-job training - While many employees are ready for promotion after a year or two on the job, others aren't so sure of their abilities. It's up to HR professionals to ensure employee development plans are in place, but managers must play an active role, too - by offering time for on-the-job training both to a new employee and existing employees who are ready to learn something new. As a company, you've invested in employee training which can set the employee up for success - but this employee retention technique isn't complete until employees actually use it!
- Maintain flexible work schedules - Some people work better at night, while others shine during the day. Plus, some employees value time with their families over time spent at the office. Encourage a work life balance rather than pushing your staff toward long days or overtime. You should also consider allowing employees to do their work remotely or offering flexible work schedules, which can be automatically recorded by any of the free timesheet applications.
- Create a great work environment - Employees don't just want to be paid well - they also want to enjoy where they spend their days. The place your employees work is critical to an optimal employee experience. Offer employee benefits that create a great work environment, like employee cafeterias, gyms, and even nap rooms. If you’ve got remote staff, make sure you’ve got a great virtual work environment, staff appreciation apps like Matter can help with that.
- Offer employee perks - Improve the employee experience and increase employee engagement by giving your staff workplace perks. For example, providing gym memberships or offering free lunches once in a while will increase job satisfaction and leave employees feeling valued, decreasing turnover and improving retention. A remote employee would appreciate access to a co-working chain and free snacks or drinks on the company dime.
Final thoughts on employee retention techniques
Remember that employee retention isn’t about you, it’s about your employee. You’re working to create a culture that breeds employee satisfaction and happiness, and there’s no one-size-fits-all. Take the time to get to know your teams and the individuals on them. Find out what they love about working for you and what they hate. On an individual level, find out about their career goals, family needs, or any unique preferences they may have. Knowledge is power, and when you’ve taken the time to really get to know your staff members you’ll have what you need to start a fully effective employee retention strategy.
Once you start, make sure you keep at it. Staff retention tactics are nice to show short-term gain, but we’re here for the long term, and we’d like to keep these employees here for the long term too. Use these employee retention techniques continuously, day in and day out. Make your work environment a place you’d have loved to hang out yourself as a junior employee. Make your benefits and compensation something that they can write home about. And make your company culture the talk of the town: happy, fun, and committed to employee development and fulfillment not just for one key employee but for every single person on the team.