HR Strategies to Increase Employee Retention
Keeping talented employees happy, engaged, and thriving is crucial to retaining your staff. As an HR professional, you play an essential role in developing a range of strategies to positively impact employee retention. From thorough onboarding to career advancement all of these things can be better. As the person who has taken many human resources courses online, including diversity and inclusion training and a conflict resolution course, you are the advocate and voice for your colleagues. According to the Work Institute’s 2019 Retention Report, a staggering 35% of employees may leave their jobs by 2023. Continue reading to learn why employees leave and strategies to increase employee retention.
Why Do Employees Leave?
So, first why do employees quit? To learn the specific why for your company, think about conducting exit interviews to help determine what employee retention strategies need improvement. Many of the reasons you may encounter include:
- Inadequate salary and benefits; raises are rare
- Low ceiling, limited opportunities for career advancement
- Lack of recognition
- Boredom, work not fulfilling
- Unhappy with management
- Concerned about the company’s current direction and do not align with the company’s values
- Desire to make a change
- Feeling overworked and/or unsupported
- Need to better work-life balance
While some of these reasons you can help change and work on — lack of recognition, feeling unsupported — there are some you may not be able to help with such as a desire to make a change.
Strategies to Increase Employee Retention
An employee retention program can include a multitude of strategies, and I know it is not feasible for every company to include all the strategies listed below but incorporating a few will be beneficial for the HR team, the company, and the employees.
1. Creating an expectational onboarding experience
It starts from the beginning with creating an expectational onboard experience. A good onboarding program leads to 69% of employees staying at least 3 years. A proper onboarding process includes teaching the new hire not only about their new job but also the company’s culture and how they can thrive and contribute to the company. Helping them supported starts here. Many of their questions should get answered during this process, or they should at least know where or who to go to if they have questions.
2. Provide avenues for professional development
Educating your employees, setting up a clear career path, providing mentorship opportunities. People do not want to feel stuck in their position, encourage staff to take continuing education courses and promote within. When you need to hire for an upper-level or management position, the best place to look is at your current staff and see if anyone can upgrade into that position. Encourage managers to offer employees who have shown interest in a new area the opportunity to work on a side project. This demonstrates to employees that their bosses value their career and encourages them to utilize their skills in other areas of the business.
3. Make sure managers are not compelling great employees to leave
As the saying goes, people leave managers, not companies, but what exactly don’t employees like about their managers? Is it that the manager plays favourites? Does the manager micromanage? It is important employees feel comfortable talking to HR about concerns and issues they may have, and that you as an HR professional do something about it in a timely manner. If you are unsure how to establish and maintain a safe environment, look into taking a mediation course or getting your change management certification as this is one of the key skills you will learn.
4. Make sure your employees do not feel overwhelmed and overworked
There are many reasons an employee can feel overwhelmed and overworked, from having too much on their plate as it can be hard or embarrassing to say no — they could also feel like they cannot say no to their manager and other coworkers. Or getting pressure from management to meet deadlines faster and other reasons. Often, good employees do not want to admit they are overworked. It is important that there is an open dialogue between managers and employees where they can express their feelings about their workload and then they need to request support and help.
5. Perks, wellness offerings, mentorship, incentives, compensation
Did you know that two-thirds of HR professionals agree employee recognition helps with retention? Such a simple thing to add to your employee retention strategy — and no it doesn’t just mean a raise, it can be many things. Providing benefits and perks of some sort to entice potential new hires and to show recognition to current staff is important. Whether that is through a mentorship program, a wellness offering such as gym memberships or app subscriptions, employee of the month, work outings, bonuses, or all the above.
6. Offering flexible working arrangements
The last year and a half has shown how important having flexibility in your working life is. In fact, a recent Robert Half survey found that 1 in 3 professionals currently working from home would look for a new job if they were required to return to the office full time. Not all employees want to work from home 100% of the time or in the office 100% of the time, having a flexible hybrid working environment has the best of both worlds while relieving stress for your staff.
7. Promote teamwork and community:
Provide space for coworkers to communicate freely and about non-work topics. Encouraging community is important, especially for remote workers. According to Cigna’s 2020 Loneliness Index, lonely employees are 2 times more likely to quit. Depending on the type of company culture you have, creating this environment can look different. You can ask for suggestions on what people would like to see from virtual work parties, social hours, or social clubs like book club to name a few.
The strategies above are just a few methods you can use to increase the job satisfaction of your team members. Reevaluate your efforts regularly. This includes staying current on market level salaries and benefits, and best practices for fostering a productive workplace culture and strong manager-employee relationships.
Written by Lindsay McKay