The keys to keeping great employees
The success of any business often depends on its ability to retain great employees.
Whether it’s a small company with just a few staff or a large organisation with multiple offices, businesses function best when they have a team of talented people focused on performing not only individually, but combining to help the company reach its goals.
Gone are the days of employees staying in one job for most of their working life.
Instead, talented people are willing to trade long-term stability for personal development, career advancement, better work-life balance, or to find a more compatible company culture.
Companies shouldn’t wait until they have a problem with high staff turnover before they implement employee retention strategies.
Every company that seeks to thrive should build into its basic operation a range of measures designed to keep employees happy and motivated, so they stay with the business for as long as possible.
Why employees quit
It may come as a relief to dismiss an employee who wasn’t performing, was disruptive, or had a bad attitude – but it hurts to lose a star performer who chooses to go.
After the time and investment in finding the right person for the role and developing their on-the-job skills, it’s back to drafting the job vacancy ad.
It may not reflect badly on the company if the person’s reason for leaving was personal, or they decided to change careers or further their education.
But it does very little for the business’ long-term prospects if it’s losing people because of factors it can control.
Talented people want to apply their skills, and be recognised and rewarded for it.
They want to further those skills by doing challenging, meaningful work that helps the company achieve its goals.
If they are given reason to feel the company doesn’t care about them, they will have little reason to care about the company.
If employees become unmotivated and disengaged, who could blame them for finding another position somewhere else?
Why losing people hurts
Losing a worker has a cost in both time and money.
It’s estimated the cost of losing somebody and then recruiting and training a new person is about three times the salary of the person being replaced.
After all that, there is no guarantee the replacement will be as adept as the person who left, and in the meantime, there can be a drop in productivity as other workers take up the slack.
Taking a strategic approach to retention means businesses stand the best chance of keeping their top employees for as long as possible.
Develop strategies to keep your best people
No two people are exactly alike. Employee retention strategies work best when they have the scope to cater to individual preferences.
They should start before anyone is hired, so the business knows what it’s looking for in a candidate and how they will fit into the existing team.
Once a person is selected, they should clearly understand the business’ expectations and the business should understand theirs.
Work with employees to figure out their career goals, then develop a plan that will help realise them.
Some people will be motivated by rewards such as better pay, more benefits, or promotion opportunities.
Others may want to develop and learn new skills, or have more flexible working arrangements.
Understanding the needs of employees and having a range of measures to meet them shows people they are valued, strengthening commitment, morale, and loyalty.
This helps create a positive work environment where people will want to extend themselves and focus their energy on ensuring the business succeeds.
Look at your range of benefits and perks
Another important part of employee retention is offering attractive benefits and perks as part of an employment package.
Benefits demonstrate to employees that the company and management cares about them.
While pay raises and performance bonuses are the most basic way to retain and attract skilled people, other tools can play a role.
Things like increased leave options, opportunities to enhance work-life balance, travel subsides, and a range of discounts or free offers can go a long way to making their working lives more comfortable and enjoyable.
In return, the business can expect increased commitment and productivity, higher job satisfaction, and less absenteeism.
But it should be noted that many employees view perks and benefits as nice-to-haves rather than must-haves.
If workers have reason to feel disinterested, mistreated, or dispensable, they are unlikely to want to perform well enough to merit any extra rewards.
Then either the business will look to move them on, or they will do so themselves. Others may soon follow.