In November 2021, 4.5 million people in the U.S. quit their jobs. For many employers, maintaining high staff retention is a challenge. Replacing new team members can be a competitive process that could cost you time and money.
If you’re looking to improve employee retention, it all starts with engagement. When your employees feel connected and positive about the company, they’re more likely to stay.
Workplace culture, training opportunities, and a supportive management style can all contribute to a better retention rate. But, what specific areas should you be focusing on?
If you’re serious about keeping both new and existing employees, here are seven important factors to consider.
Support Work-Life Balance
Supporting your team to maintain a good work-life balance can increase job satisfaction and boost productivity.
In a recent survey, 59% of Millennial employees said they were currently experiencing burnout. Burnout is a type of work-related exhaustion that’s often triggered by stress. If burnout isn’t managed, your staff won’t perform at their best. They may even leave the company.
So, what can you do to support your employees’ health and wellbeing?
Start by offering them free optional resources like fitness classes, music therapy, and healthy eating courses. These types of activities can help your employees manage their mental, physical, and emotional health.
The way we work has changed, and more companies have pivoted toward remote and hybrid options. When you give your employees flexibility, they'll be able to juggle their home and work commitments.
And, if you reduce commute time and let your team members take time off for family obligations, they’ll usually be more loyal to your company.
You’ll show your employees that they’re valued by offering flexible options.
Mentorship and development opportunities
You can also boost employee retention and engagement by giving them opportunities to grow. Some companies hire from within, and this is a great strategy to motivate hardworking employees. Many companies start mentorship programs with the goal of increasing retention and internal mobility.
Michelle Ferguson, global transformational executive and strategic advisor who has launched several mentoring programs within global organizations reveals how engagement surveys and retention data clearly showed the impact of mentoring programs.
Watch the full conversation on how to support Employee Resource Groups with mentoring programs.
For newer generations of employees like Millennials and Gen Z, having mentors and coaches is high on their priority list. Gallup’s report on high-development cultures showed the shift in what the workforce wants when it comes to their growth. In the past, employees were fine with a boss. Now they want a coach. Instead of just a paycheck, they want to find purpose in their work. Instead of an annual review, they want ongoing conversations with peers and mentors about their growth and development.
This isn’t without reason. Mentors are crucial to employee development. Formal training that includes courses and seminars have their place, but only 25% of employees in a McKinsey survey believed that their training improved their performance in a noticeable way.
Upskilling and reskilling our workforces will become a norm for organizations that want to be resilient and prepared for the future of work. In a survey of HR leaders, 62% said employees would need to reskill or upskill annually for an organization to maintain a competitive advantage.
Give Them the Right Tools
If employee retention and engagement are priorities, you need to ensure that your staff has the tools needed for success.
The solutions you’ll need depend on how you run your business. For example, a remote workforce will have different needs than teams who collaborate in an office. Just remember, if you use cloud-based software, it’ll be accessible by employees no matter where they are.
What type of tools should you give your team? Look for centralized software that streamlines their daily tasks. For example, customer relationship management (CRM) software helps your employees communicate with customers and leads.
There are other tools to consider as well. That list includes telecalling software, accounting software, email management software, word processing programs, expense management software, and workplace manuals, to name a few. Project management software is ideal for scheduling tasks and setting deadlines.
For those using tools that rely on connectivity, security should be a priority. Make sure any software is updated regularly and customer data is stored correctly.
If your team works in person, set them up with ergonomic workstations and the latest technology.
Get leadership on board
One of the key factors in improving employee retention and engagement is good management. When you have strong, supportive leaders, employees will have more confidence in the company.
There are different management styles, but your leaders should be approachable, knowledgeable, inclusive, and fair. If someone has a question or concern, they should be able to discuss this with their manager.
However, there may be times when employees have issues with their direct manager. Your company should have other people they can discuss their concerns with, such as a human resources manager or a senior team leader.
The structure if the company should be clearly outlined, so staff members know who to speak to about workplace issues.
The day-to-day operations of the business should also be streamlined. Your employees should always know what to expect and not be overwhelmed by their workload.
A good leader will know how to match duties to each employee's unique skills and abilities. To stay organized, leaders can use a task manager to delegate and track tasks assigned to each member of the team. This type of software gives the manager an overview so they can avoid assigning too many (or not enough) tasks to each person.
Provide Ongoing Feedback
Employees want to feel like they’re appreciated, and taking the time to connect can help keep them engaged.
You can check in one-on-one at regular intervals. For example, every three months you can have a meeting with each employee. During the meeting, you can discuss their progress and celebrate their successes. They’ll also be able to raise any issues.
Of course, not all feedback will be positive. If there are areas where your employees can improve, give them strategies to work on. But, try to make sure your feedback is always constructive.
Depending on your business type, your check-ins may be more regular. For example, if your teams are collaborating on client projects, there may be ongoing feedback that needs to be shared with your staff.
Companies can also schedule team meetings. During these meetings, there can be group feedback and goal setting.
If you’re in sales, you can set KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). Those who have excelled and met previous goals can be recognized.
Just remember, too many meetings can have a negative impact. Keep your meetings relevant, engaging, and short.
Make the Workplace Fun
A productive workplace can still be fun. Your company should be somewhere your team wants to be every day. When you plan fun activities, it can help your team bond and boost morale.
Whether your team is virtual or in-office, there are ways to make it enjoyable. For example, as a reward for their hard work, you might have after-work drinks on a Friday afternoon. If it’s a remote work environment, this can be done over video chat.
If someone in the workplace is having a birthday, celebrate with a cake. You can even have shared lunches and a casual dress day once a month.
Team building exercises can be highly beneficial. Hold games days in the office or send your employees on a unique out-of-work activity.
When you create a fun, inclusive workplace, it’ll improve the company culture. Your employees will learn to work as a team, and they’ll appreciate the perks that come with their roles.
If your employees are happy, they’ll be more engaged and ready to work.
Offer Competitive Salary
It’s not uncommon for staff to leave a company in search of a higher salary.
When you need to hire new employees, the recruiting process can cost you time and money. You’ll need to advertise for the position, provide training, and take time out to go through the interview process.
Keeping your employees in their jobs makes financial sense. But, you might need to consider your wages. Are they competitive for your industry type? If you can’t increase your pay, do you offer other incentives and benefits, such as health care and vacation leave?
You can create a set of guidelines to help you decide whether an employee should get a pay raise. For example, if a team member upskills in a certain area or takes on extra responsibilities, you could offer them more money.
You can combine a competitive salary with opportunities for promotion. When you offer your employees financial and career benefits, they’ll be more invested in your company’s future.
Improving Employee Retention and Engagement
Want to improve employee engagement and retention in your workplace? There are a few strategies you can use to keep your team together.
A good work-life balance can help reduce burnout and keep your employees satisfied at work. You can offer flexible work hours and resources for mental and physical health.
Give your staff the right tools to succeed and provide ongoing training and feedback. Your workplace culture starts at the top, and the right managers should be available to support their team.
Competitive salaries, opportunities for promotion, and a fun work environment can all help to improve your retention rates.
Finally, for workplaces to truly be resilient for the future of work they need strong cultures where employees help each other grow. Instead of a zero-sum game, mentors and peer accountability will be the norm for thriving organizations.
With these top tips, you can boost morale, increase productivity, and have happier employees.'
About The Author
Vikas Kalwani manages partnerships at uSERP and actively mentors portfolio companies of 500 Global. He is a product-led growth marketer and B2B marketing specialist skilled in SEO, content marketing, and social media marketing.