Mastering employee retention is something every great company strives for. After all, it means you have a great work environment where workers feel happy and motivated, which means increased productivity. Plus, lower turnover rates will save your company a tremendous amount of time and money. But how do you reach a higher point of employee retention?
According to Forbes, employee turnover is at the highest it's been in 10 years. Increasing employee retention is a process that takes time and effort from multiple individuals within your company, but it is entirely possible. Read on to learn five of the key factors that will enable you to drive retention rates in the workplace.
1. An Environment That Cultivates Productivity
- Your employees should feel valued: Investing in training is a great way to help your employees feel valued and make them better at their jobs.
- Your employees should feel involved: Communicating and collecting feedback should be a habit.
- Your employees should feel empowered: Revamping facilities and upgrading equipment to help your employees do their jobs better is important.
It's not just upgrading from the drab 1990s cubicles to a humanizing open office space, your company's work environment will also be affected and determined by the attitude of each person within it. The atmosphere, as you might prefer to call it, must be one that cultivates productivity while being encouraging, supportive, and inspiring.
Regardless of the industry your company is in, creating a work environment that cultivates these things is paramount to success. It doesn't matter how well you pay or even how many vacation days you give out. If an employee walks into work every morning feeling like a robot rather than an integral part of a well-oiled machine, it's only a matter of time before they leave.
High turnover rates are fueled by bad work environments. "Bad" doesn't necessarily mean abusive or negative either, and that's the tricky part. Management may be excellent in communicating with employees. Employees might be excellent at communicating with each other. Perhaps your office space has been renovated in the past few years to look more inviting. The point is that all of these things have to line up in order to create a work environment that cultivates productivity.
So, begin by identifying these various factors and give your work environment a rating. Assign a rating based on feedback from your managers and your workers to figure out what may need improving. From natural lighting to improved cross-communication skills, many things will impact the work environment and atmosphere -- and this is the foundation on which employee retention and so many other factors are determined.
2. Strong and Supportive Management
- Management should strive for better: Ensure that management actively engages and motivates employees.
- Good management directly improves retention: Proper management techniques will enhance productivity, safety, quality, and innovation -- thus increasing retention.
Nearly half of all workers in the United States say they have left a job at one point or another just to escape a manager they couldn't tolerate. Take a second to process that, because it is an alarming statistic.
Most people can relate to the experience of having a manager who seems uninspired and perhaps uncaring when it comes to the team they're overseeing. The ideal manager will know how to direct people, how to collect feedback, and how to receive input from workers on issues and challenges in a way that enables them to turn it into actionable advice.
Of course, at the end of the day, companies have to understand that every worker -- even the most valued manager -- is only human. That means personality clashes and other issues will arise at some point or another, and even the best managers can struggle to put those things aside at the workplace.
Surveying your employees and even looking at turnover rates by department can help you identify managers who may be stirring the pot and leading to internal conflict in the workplace.
Speaking with your managers directly is also important. Seeking their feedback on employees they may have an issue with, and on employees they seem to go above-and-beyond to praise, can help you identify potential people who are butting heads, so to speak, who may require an intermediary.
3. Remain Competitive With Wages
- "Steal" the best talent: Competitive starting wages can help you grab the best talent from the get-go.
- Encourage retention: Regular raises and bonuses can show longer-term employees that they remain a valued part of the workplace.
The majority of people working at your company are ultimately coming in each day for one reason: a paycheck. While the hope is that your workers love what they do and who they do it with, the primary purpose of working a job is to earn a living -- and that's definitely a primary goal you should be working to meet for your employees.
The cost of living varies from every location, and it's important that your company remains well-versed on the current cost of living in your area. This will help you come up with competitive wages.
At the bare minimum, you should be offering livable wages. At the very best, you should be offering competitive livable wages that top even what your competitors are able to offer.
Many companies do offer good wages for longer-term employees, yet they fail to offer regular raises and bonuses. That can be discouraging for workers who have seniority and a wealth of talent and experience, and it can be a trigger for them to take that experience elsewhere to a job where they may be able to get a higher base pay. At the same time, failing to offer a competitive starting wage can turn off more experienced talent and lead to entry-level and underqualified applicants.
You must consider how much your employees reasonably need to live and you also need to offer more for experienced talent, whether they are just coming into your company or have 10+ years of history with you.
4. Promote Work-Life Balance
- Make sure work stops when they clock-off: If employees are able to get away from work after-hours and on the weekend, they will be much more productive and motivated during office hours.
- Identify excessive overtime: If employees are regularly working overtime, consider additional resources to help take a load off their shoulders.
Work-life balance is a necessity these days, and it's something that most employees put at the top of their list of values. Workers need a mental break from the office just as much as they need a physical one.
Overworking and draining your employees of all motivation will only kill productivity. Regularly calling workers in early or contacting them for "last-minute" things at the end of the work day (or even after-hours) can be extremely detrimental.
Discourage "work invasion" in employees' personal lives by avoiding off-hour communication as much as possible. Try not to call personal numbers and, if needed, provide a work email and even a work cell phone so employees can distance themselves when they're not on the clock.
5. Invest in On-Boarding
- Ensure they understand their duties: Always lay out all of their job expectations up-front and put requirements into an easy-to-digest format.
- Prepare them for success: Your on-boarding program should introduce your employee to their new work space and train them for what's ahead.
These days, it's not uncommon for workers to quit a new job within the first month. That's right: 30 days or less and a new worker could be out the door already. That's a scary and expensive event for any company to consider, and many take that the wrong way.
With the risk of losing a worker so soon, some companies shy away from investing in on-boarding when that's exactly what they should be doing. The primary reason why an employee would quit a job so quickly is that they feel unable to meet their job duties. Job training is paramount to preventing that, and it's also important for preparing every employee for a successful long-term relationship with your business.
Start Making Changes
By implementing the recommended changes in your company's workplace, you will begin seeing a better work environment and, ultimately, better work relationships. Together, that means lower turnover rates and higher morale all around. Get started today and take it step-by-step. In time, you'll begin to notice tremendous changes in your workers.