4 Ways to Improve Employee Retention

We all know the importance of hiring the right employee. Finding a candidate who is not only qualified for a role but hard-working and dedicated to the success of the company, is essential for maximising workplace productivity and the long-term growth of your business. However, it can be a notoriously time-consuming and costly process. Small business owners and larger-scale companies report amongst their biggest challenges of finding quality workers to achieve their strategies and long-term goals. As such, it is imperative to invest the necessary time and resources to find the perfect fit for your business. But when you finally find them – the golden employee – a new challenge arises: how are you going to keep them? 

Good workers are highly valued and sought after, and to avoid losing out to a competitive market (and starting over again), you should regularly evaluate your current workplace culture and practices, and employee satisfaction. If you’ve noticed that your company has been experiencing a high staff turnover rate, your business likely spends more money replacing employees than helping current staff thrive within their roles, directly obstructing potential growth. 

Read on to discover four simple and effective ways to ensure you retain quality employees and maximise the potential of your business. 

The Hiring Process

As mentioned above, employee retention starts with ensuring that any staff member you hire is the right fit for your business. This means making hiring decisions based not only on on-paper qualifications but considering other factors such as work/life balance, salary, and workplace culture expectations, as well as ensuring a clear mutual understanding of the role and workplace requirements on your end.

The importance of determining whether a candidate is a right fit for your existing and projected workplace culture is often overlooked by business owners; employees have been acutely observed to display stronger loyalty to a company if their values and mission resonate with that of the business. To eliminate early miscommunication leading to misalignment, list your company values, beliefs, and mission statement clearly in the job advertisement. Go a step further and be sure to ask specific questions during the interviewing process to understand how they would react to moral and ethical situations within the workplace. Ask potential employees about their professional objectives and goals, to better understand how you can meet their expectations of your role as an employer going forward.

It’s important to be realistic, and upfront; if you know from the beginning that the arrangement won’t be satisfactory on both sides, it is better to continue searching than to find yourself back where you started in only a few months. Mutual understanding and commitment are imperative to long-term, prosperous employee-employer relationships.

Employee Recognition 

It almost goes without saying: happy workers are profitable workers.

Employees who feel valued by their employers are more likely to be driven and go the extra mile in their work. A recent study posed an invaluable question to a group of employees: “What is the most important thing that your manager or company currently does that would cause you to produce great work?” The largest group (37%) agreed that the simple act of recognition and validation was of the most significance to them. This is great news to business owners and managers, as there are countless quick, easy, and cost-effective opportunities to make your employees feel appreciated and recognised – never underestimate the importance of even just saying ‘thank you’!

Here are some easily practicable and effective ideas to make your staff feel appreciated and valued:

  • Write them a personal email, note, or message about their efforts 
  • Implementing employee of the month. 
  • Offering pay rises or bonuses
  • Workplace training or career progression opportunities 

Ongoing Learning Opportunities

It can be too easy to fall into the trap of focusing only on how staff are benefitting your business, yet neglecting to consider whether your business is an environment where they can achieve their personal and professional objectives.

Driven employees generally show a desire to succeed and continuously progress throughout their careers, and according to AHRI’s turnover and retention report, nearly two-thirds (63%) of respondents report a lack of career progression opportunities as the main reason for searching for a new employer.

Continuous learning can involve technical skills to help employees further develop their careers while being specific to your business. Cross-training employees across multiple facets of the business acts to stimulate employees by eliminating boredom and feelings of stagnancy, and as a bonus, you’ll find that a mutual understanding between departments can streamline operations and maximise outputs. Continuous learning can also involve developing soft skills such as leadership, communication, and time management.

Providing feedback is a quick, helpful, and free tool. Motivated employees will be interested to know how they are progressing: communicating their strengths and achievements acts to bolster and encourage up-skilling behaviours and create a more receptive environment to constructive criticism. 

Provide Flexible Work Arrangements 

Providing your staff with flexible work arrangements, such as working remotely, has proven to result in engaged, satisfied employees who are more likely to be committed to their job as part of their long-term lifestyle – therefore, making them more likely to stay within the business even as their circumstances may fluctuate. This is particularly relevant after the trend of work-from-home arrangements continues in a post-COVID world. Having the option to work from home, though not always viable, is an attractive benefit, and more employees have grown accustomed to and expectant of this higher level of flexibility and freedom. 

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