Tips for Employee Retention

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employee retention road to successAs a business owner, it is very important for you to not only attract and hire the best talent into your company, but what do you do to keep that talent that you have spent time, money, and hard work to find? First of all, you want to make sure from the very beginning you want to make sure you are keeping your employees happy, engaged, challenged, and motivated. So how do you go about doing that? You want to make sure that you are continuously incorporating the employee retention tips that I have listed below, into your company’s culture. If you are already using some or all of these tips, that’s great! If not, it is never too late to start implementing these methods into your business, no matter how big or small your company is.

1. Maintain an open-door policy

Being able to have an open-door policy will allow your employees to feel more comfortable to be able to voice their opinions, ideas, and concerns. Encourage your employees to be able to provide your business with the insight on what is and what is not working, no matter what the topic may be. Allow them to being new and innovative ideas that could be beneficial to your organization. If this a difficult challenge for you to obtain, you can encourage them by getting their feedback anonymously. Provide online or paper format surveys and questionnaires or a suggestion box/board. If necessary you can always reward them with a small reward for providing the feedback, getting some form of feedback no matter how bad or good it is, is better than receiving none at all. Also, remember to provide your employees with feedback as well. Let them know that they are doing well at, how they can improve, and provide them with the tools to improve and excel within your business.

2. Promote from within and get referrals from your employees

When meeting with your employees during a suggested quarterly basis for their performance reviews/evaluation, make this an opportunity to promote the employees who have earned it. If you invest in your employees, they will invest in you. It’s important to give those promotions, even if they are small to those who go above and beyond within their job role and/or those who would like additional responsibilities that they want to explore. Anything you can do to promote growth within, the better. When hiring for open and new positions make sure you get referrals from your employees! If the employee’s referral was the perfect fit for you and your business, provide the employees with a referral bonus once the employee has been there for 90 days however you choose.

3. Instill passion and create culture

In order for an employee to truly enjoy what they are doing within their job role, before you even hire them make sure that they are passionate about what they will do on a daily basis. In the interviewing process or even in an exit interview, it is important to ask questions to find out what responsibilities they enjoy and makes them want to work for you. You want to hire the people that get excited to work for you and what you stand for. If you create a culture that attracts candidates who are passionate about working for you and what is it that your business does, then you won’t have an issue finding people that belong in your company’s culture.

4. Emphasize health and wellness

Businesses should promote the physical and mental well-being among employees, do not discourage them for wanting to take some time out of their day or week to take care of themselves. Encourage them to part-take in walking meetings and offer some mandatory wellness time each week to get exercise in or to attend an appointment. It’s also fun to do fitness challenges as a team/business in an effort bring each other together and inspire a healthier well-being. If you can look into wellness programs that are incorporated into your health insurance, this will also encourage others to stay healthy or to get to a healthy goal that’s conducive to their health and overall well-being. Also, your employees at some point may need a mental health day or need to take some time off to attend to themselves or their family, encourage it and please do not discourage this. It’s important that your employees do not get burnt out and if they do give them the time they need to rejuvenate themselves.

5. Recognizing and rewarding employees

Recognition and Reward incentive programs are designed to help employees feel appreciated and to acknowledge them for their hard work, dedication, and value they bring to your business. When an employee is recognized for going above and beyond, is promoted within the company, and/or has helped the organization reach or exceed their goals, it is fair to say that most employees want to be recognized and rewarded by their organization. I think we can all agree on some level that employees want to be rewarded in some way or another.

It should also be the business’s interest to determine the overall level of happiness and sense of commitment an employee has with their company. How does a company’s reward and recognition system, or lack thereof, play a factor in an employee’s level of happiness, motivation, and satisfaction within their company? That is something that all businesses should consistently pay close attention to. You can reward and recognize your employees in many ways: $ bonus, day/days off, gift cards, leaving early, etc. If the employee is doing a great job, is getting their work done, and contributing to the companies goals and brings value- why not reward them?

6. Increasing motivation and morale

To increase employee motivation and morale you must encourage and create a level of trust and honesty amongst yourself and the employees. Motivation and reward systems designed within an organization are vital to an organization’s success in terms of decreasing employee turnover rates, improve productivity, and creating an attractive culture. What motivates some does not motivate all. A few factors that come into play to determine what motivates employees are: compensation, intrinsic and extrinsic rewards, recognition, goal setting, hours, and opportunities for growth and development. A way to increase motivation is to provide consistent positive feedback to the employees, energizing and motivating the worker, and reflecting the importance of the employee’s role.

7. Team building and celebration

It’s so important to make sure your employees are engaged and that they continue to work well as a team. I would suggest to appoint a team of employees to head up fun activities. You will be surprised what fun ideas your employees have in store to create a fun day or ½ day away from the office or from working virtually from home. Especially when working virtually, by doing the team building events it allows your employees to get together to bring innovative ideas to the table, connect, and to take the stress off of taking a break from the daily work grind. Make sure to also celebrate the small and big milestones that your employees helped your business achieve.

8. Encourage professional development opportunities

Always provide your employees with the ability to grow and develop, period! By providing employees with the necessary training programs, certifications, or attending any conferences that would improve the employee’s overall worth, is most certainly only going to benefit and bring value to your business. It’s suggested that you utilize the employee’s skills as much as possible, give them the tools they need to succeed, and to provide a challenge to those who want more responsibilities inside and outside of their job description.

9. Develop a mission and company values

When creating or re-evaluating your business it is important to establish what your business’s mission and values are and instill that in each and every employee. As a business you want to create a mission statement that makes you feel proud and reflects what your business plan is. Also create values that reflect what business stands for and as a formality for your employees to abide by as a whole. Instilling the mission and values of your business will strengthen the overall culture of your organization.

10. Perks are not culture

Providing employees with discounted gym memberships, free meals/snacks, free health insurance and flexible hours are all great perks to have but don’t let that equate to your company’s culture. These perks are attractive however, you don’t want these perks be the reason for employees to apply to your business; if so you may be attracting the wrong type of candidates.

11. Conduct performance reviews more often than not

This could be viewed sometimes as an unpleasant experience for both the employee and the manager. Annual performance reviews/evaluations are often put on the back burner and conducted at the very end of the calendar year when it’s the busiest time of year. I suggest that you make performance reviews quarterly and make them a priority! By conducting them annually, it could be a few missed opportunities to see how your employers are with their goals, or to provide them with tools to improve on something that they might be struggling with, or to provide them with opportunities to grow and develop! Also make this more of a conversation and not an interrogation. As a small business it’s easier to conduct these reviews by taking them out to breakfast/lunch/dinner and make it a more relaxed atmosphere so that the employee and manager can have a more comfortable conversation when discussing important subjects.

12. Flexibility for better work/life balance

If you are a company that does not provide flexibility or a great work/life balance, you might want to start to evolve and start making changes in order to adapt to the new generation and what is attractive to candidates these days. You have to evolve to survive. If you don’t then you are going to lose your talent or you won’t have great talent applying to your business. Provide the ability for your employees to have compressed work weeks (4 or even 3 workdays). As long at the employees are getting their work done, does it really matter when they get it done? Obviously this depends on what kind of role that they are in. However, if they would like to leave early or come in late should never be an issue as long as business needs are met. If someone would rather work a compressed work week so that they can have an extended weekend for some much needed time off or to travel, whatever the reason is, this is something to explore with your employees.

13. Initiate stay interviews rather than exit interviews

Have you ever wondered what companies do with those exit interviews? I have wondered the same thing and I still don’t know the answer to that question but it is my mission to find the answer here in the near future. Why does it have to take an exit interview to find out why an employee is leaving? If you have an employee who is a big asset to your business or you could just not imagine having without, why not fight for them?

Maybe the employee is leaving because they were offered the same position somewhere else but was able to provide them with more flexibility. Is something that simple that could easily be worked out maybe get them to stay? Maybe or maybe not, but if so, you just saved yourself time and money re-hiring someone else and you just prevented someone you respect and good talent from walking out the door. Of course there a lot of different scenarios that could occur when conducting a stay interview, but it’s worth the time to find out reasons why an employee is leaving or what it would take to get them to stay. Getting this type of feedback may not be easy to hear but as a business owner sometimes you have to hear the truth in order to make the necessary changes that will overall improve employee engagement, morale, and retention.

If you have any questions or want further information on how to retain your employees, please contact mal@hrcoaching.com

photo by OTA Photos

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