Of all the challenges that come with running a business, one that often goes overlooked is the challenge of employee retention. Hiring managers and CEOs often consider getting the right people in the door to be the most crucial aspect of talent management, but the truth is that keeping those valuable employees at your company is equally important. Keeping the right people at your company can mean the difference between falling short and gaining a competitive edge in the market. High turnover not only dampens your reputation and drains your company of valuable time and resources, but it’s extremely costly; by some estimates, the cost of losing an employee is 1.5-2 times that employee’s annual salary. So what can you do to cut down on the cost of turnover and hold onto valuable talent longer? Here are five ways to improve your company’s employee retention.
Make no mistake: improving employee retention starts during the hiring process. There are several key indicators that can alert you to whether or not a hire will have a high retention potential, but one such indicator is culture fit. When you’re interviewing a candidate, it’s crucial to understand if their experience matches the needs of the role, but you also must assess whether or not their values, beliefs, and desires match up with that of your company’s. During the interview process you should ask a potential hire about what they value in a workplace and honestly describe your own company culture. Be upfront and honest about what it’s like to work at your company and assess whether or not a candidate’s personality and ideals are in alignment with that. For example, if a candidate describes their ideal day as being completely autonomous and heads-down, they likely won’t stick around or thrive in a workplace that places a high emphasis on collaboration. Hiring someone who aligns with your workplace culture is perhaps the single best thing you can do to improve employee retention.
One of the biggest reasons people cite for leaving a job is that they didn’t feel there was any room for growth or opportunity for advancement. When people feel “stuck” or like their options are limited, they’ll likely go looking for something else. This is why it’s so important to outline a clear career path and possible growth opportunities to someone—starting from the beginning, when they’re interviewing. You can discuss how you possibly see the role evolving over the coming years and different responsibilities they could take on or promotions that might be possible. While it’s impossible to predict exactly how a role will evolve with time, you can still outline potential opportunities for someone so they don’t feel stuck.
To keep today’s employee satisfied, companies need to keep their finger on the pulse of what really matters. In a study by the Harvard Business Review, benefits that promote work-life balance such as flexibility and vacation time scored higher in importance than things like free employee outings or company retreats. Determine what benefits best align with your company’s values and then be sure to outline them to potential candidates during the interview process. Before doing so, you can even ask a potential hire what benefits they find meaningful or ask your current employees what they value the most about your company’s offerings. Be willing to offer new benefits to keep up with changing employment trends as well.
Communication can often fall off after a new employee is onboarded; but you need to make it a point to touch base with a new hire on a consistent basis as they get acclimated to the job. After three weeks, three months, six months, and one year, you should hold an interview with your new hire to assess how things are going and really listen to what they’re saying. It may sound cliché to offer an “open door policy,” but it’s incredibly valuable to let your new employee know you’re available to speak with them about their concerns. They need to feel like they can come to you should challenges or problems arise. If you establish this level of trust right out of the gate, you’re more likely to hear when they have an issue with a coworker, an assignment, or a client. By addressing these frustrations and working through obstacles together as they arise, an employee is more likely to stay loyal to an organization.
This is one of the most crucial ways to improve employee retention. In today’s world you can’t just hire someone and assume they’ll offer you company loyalty year after year without anything in return. Keep your employees engaged and excited to come to work each day. Small moments of acknowledgement—whether that’s recognizing an employee’s hard work or achievement or holding an office party to celebrate a big win—can do wonders to foster a positive work environment that people want to stay in. Keep checking in with your employees and assessing how the relationship is progressing. Once you hire someone, you still want to create a desirable work environment for them and give them reasons to stay. Show them they matter and that you care about your relationship, whether they’ve been there five months or five years.
While some turnover is inevitable, with these tips you can keep more of your valuable employees and cut down on the costs of high turnover. Hiring the right people—and keeping them at your company—is one of the best things you can do to give your organization a competitive edge in today’s marketplace.
About the Author
Matthew J. Schwartz is the Founder, President and CEO of MJS Executive Search with nearly two decades of experience in retained executive search. Matt’s expertise lies in bringing together key executives that exhibit passion and creativity with leading organizations in a wide range of functional areas such as Marketing, Sales, Digital, Interactive and more. From Digital and Social media to Machine Learning and AI, Matt is passionate about cutting edge technologies and is dedicated using his knowledge to help his clients remain or become leaders in their realm.
Founded in 2003, MJS Executive Search has established itself as a top retained executive search firm that identifies and places unique, hard to find executives in highly specialized roles.
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