How To Retain Your Best Employees – techniques and strategies
“The way your employees feel is the way your customers will feel. And if your employees don’t feel valued, neither will your customers.”
This line best sums up the vital role the employees play in any organization. Everyone knows that the best assets of any organization are its employees. They are the ones who can make or break your organization potentially as a collective. Whenever your best employees leave, irrespective of their reason to leave, you let go of a little business with them. And some culture too perhaps. So it is crucial to formulate some good employee retention techniques and strategies as guiding-posts for your company.
All the best organizations around the world consider employee retention a major strategic imperative as it critically impacts the long-term success and profit of the organization. With the way workplaces are evolving and frequent job-hopping is becoming a trend, the financial implications of a low employee retention rate are huge. On an average, the cost incurred in hiring and training the replacement is equivalent to approx. six to nine months of a mid-level employee’s salary. If it is a managerial position, it can go even higher. And if you are looking for senior positions, you would need the assistance of head-hunters to get the right candidate and the whole exercise would prove to be an even costlier affair. Employee analytics like cost per hire give great insights into how much economic loss does a company incur if its employees leave, and trust us, it is a scary number. Apart from the financial implications, high employee attrition rate brings down the morale of the remaining employees a lot and forces them to re-consider if they are making a mistake by staying put into the organization. A lot of people leaving also means that the rest of the employees have to shoulder additional burden which certainly affects their productivity and work-life balance.
So, what do you do? It makes sense to create and invest into an employee retention plan that guarantees your best employees sticking to the organization and helping you thrive long-term. If your idea of making employees stay is a fat pay check, you might be mistaken as there is a lot more that makes employees stay. Here are some quick tips that will bring ensure that your employee retention rate only climbs higher and higher.
Communication Conducive Environment
The foremost tool for employee engagement is an encouraging environment that thrives on open communication. The new workplace environment does not flourish on authority and power, but on honesty, trust, and collaborations. Employees are engaged and mindful of the company’s mission when they feel themselves to be an integral part of the organization and open communication ensures that. Keeping them in loop in terms of what is happening and how is the company evolving, makes the employees feel visible which can go a long way in retaining them.
The environment for clear communication can be created by providing the employees efficient communication channels that can be utilised for both formal group discussions and casual conversations. Another way to implement transparency in the workplace is to have a well-defined framework in place that outlines everything right from what is expected from each employee, their area of expertise, the performance evaluation parameters, and the rules and regulations they need to follow. Once the employees are clear in terms of the expectations from the management, they are less chances of misunderstanding of goals, employee burnout, or excess workload.
Employee appreciation is something that has been greatly under-valued. Money is not end-all for everyone. Even if your best employee is getting a fat pay check, a lack of appreciation might bring down her morale. When employees don’t feel acknowledged and appreciated for their efforts, they might start to lose their interest in their work which can lead to less productivity and a hunt for better opportunities. Recognition is an extremely important employee engagement and retention tool, and it can range from simple congratulatory mails to incentives on completing certain targets. The charms of corrective feedback cannot be ignored too as employees love to know how they can improve their performances. The only catch is it should be constructive and not come off as condescending or harsh.
Since it is a two-way street, ensure that employees have efficient communication channels to give their feedback on company practices too. Whether it is through anonymous employee surveys or direct feedback sessions, the organization should have a system in place that allows the employees to give honest feedback about the changes that they want to see in their workplace. Stay interviews are not a popular trend yet but they give great insights into what makes an employee stay in spite of other lucrative offers.
It is often said that the employees leave not because of their jobs but because of their managers. Since it is the managers with whom we work the most, it is important to have a manager that understands the employees. This can be done only when there is quality leadership at the helm.
While a manager only supervises your work, a leader inspires the employees to be give their best at work. From having a friendly equation with the employees to being an empathetic listener who is always ready to lend an ear to his employees, the leader does things quite differently from a manager. A manager may try to micro-manage the employees under her while a leader gives the employees the liberty to work in their own way to get the results. This results in the employees being stress-free and more productive, which is a win-win situation for everyone involved.
An intuitive leader at the top of the things knows what exactly her team needs, whether it is a flexible work schedule or an incentive programme, to bring out the best in them. With her ‘let’s do this’ attitude instead of a manager’s ‘you do this’, there is a tectonic shift in how the employees step up to take initiative and ownership of their work.
Regular training programmes to groom your managers into the leaders of future is the need of the hour that will translate into lower attrition rates and better work culture in the long run.
Say Yes To Innovation & Creativity
Any job that is done on a regular basis will become boring after some period of time and this is true for workplaces too. As an employee gains more experience over time, her speed and accuracy increases significantly and what was once challenging in her job profile now becomes a run of the mill task. But many a times, the work place might not be equipped to match pace with the employee’s zeal and speed of learning. It is crucial for the organization to keep an employee engaged in her work by providing increasingly challenging roles to them prevent stagnancy in her job.
This implies building a dynamic work environment that encourages out-of-the-box thinking and is open to innovative ideas. Tap into the wisdom of your experienced employees and ask how they would like to contribute further to the organization. From brainstorming sessions to role-storming and star-bursting, the work environment should embolden risk-takers and innovative thinkers without the fear of rebuttals due to failures. Failures are inevitable when you are experimenting with new ideas but the leadership should show constant support for ingenuity. Providing a channel for the employees to unleash their creativity is vital and it will take your organization places while solidifying the bond with your employees.
Employee Growth and Development
When employees decide to stay at any organization, one of the deciding factors is their personal growth and career trajectory in the organization. To stay relevant in the job market, it is imperative for the employees to constantly improve and upgrade their skill-sets. Organizations that facilitate employees’ personal development and growth have a loyal employee base with lower employee turnover rate.
With the advent of online learning tools, organizations can easily encourage their employees to learn new skill sets that will help in their personal growth. Organizations can also incorporate a Learning Management System that includes features like videos, micro-learning, multiplatform accessibility, personalized learning paths, etc. to provide quality training that aligns with the business goals of the organizations. Many companies encourage their employees to pursue higher education like MBA in their fields and provide full-support to them in the form of tuition fees aid, flexible working hours to help them in managing their classes, or paid study leaves before examinations. Many organizations also have in-house libraries and resource centres that employees can utilise in their spare time for personal growth.
These small steps will make your employees feel valued by the organization. If you expect a long-term relationship with your employees, showing that the organization cares about them and does not consider them as just the means to an end will ensure that you have loyal employees on board who are as much invested in the organization as you are.