As an employer, you need to create an employee retention program that keeps your brightest stars from fizzling out. See what you can do to tackle turnover.

Is your favorite drink constantly out of stock at the grocery store? Is it taking longer than usual to get your meal while dining out? Was there a lack of cleanliness during your recent hotel stay? These scenarios, due in part to the pandemic, happen when businesses don’t have enough workers. 

The layoffs and shift to remote work created by COVID-19 forced people to view their employment differently, prompting many to reconsider what they do for a living. And through self-reflection, they decided they wanted jobs more suited to their skills, interests, and personal lives.

But aside from pandemic-related motivations, people leave their jobs for several reasons. While horrible bosses and poor pay sit at the top of the list, the work itself can be grounds for quitting. People don’t want to work for a company that doesn’t utilize their strengths or provide advancement opportunities.

That’s why you, as an employer, need to create an employee retention program to keep your brightest stars from fizzling out. After all, it’s your employees who turn your company mission into action and help bring a competitive edge to the organization. Not to mention, you have a lot to lose when your best talent becomes unhappy and unchallenged.   

“Treating employees benevolently shouldn’t be viewed as an added cost that cuts into profits, but as a powerful energizer that can grow the enterprise into something far greater than one leader could envision.”

—Harold Schultz, founder and former CEO of Starbucks

6 Employee Retention Strategies

Employee retention is something every company needs to care about. After all, many employers are judged based on their turnover rates. Companies with low turnover rates are more productive and profitable. Here are six strategies you can use to retain employees in your organization. 

1. Groom Strong Managers

It’s common for companies to promote an employee into management because they perform well in their current role. And it’s a move that often ends badly. In other words, just because someone is a good writer doesn’t mean they can effectively manage a content team.

To effectively lead a team, your leaders need a skill set that enables them to build relationships, motivate employees, drive outcomes, enforce accountability, and make decisions based on productivity, not politics. Furthermore, leaders need to understand the strengths and weaknesses of their employees to manage them accordingly.

When you have a team of improperly managed employees, their productivity takes a nosedive, and they start to disconnect from the organization. According to Gallup, 75% of voluntary employee turnovers link back to poor management behaviors.

2. Motivate by Mentoring

Employees often seek out mentors to help them grow in their careers. According to a Deloitte survey, over 75% of millennials want their managers to be mentors or coaches.

So, it’s in your best interest to assign a mentor to someone new to the organization or an incumbent employee looking to advance within the company.

A mentor can be a manager or a respected peer. All that matters is that the person doing the mentoring provides the mentee with positive guidance, constructive feedback, and challenges that foster professional development.

3. Keep the Conversation Going

When carried out accordingly, ongoing communication between your managers and employees often leads to better work collaboration and productivity. Managers should have monthly check-ins with employees and have growth-based conversations with them every quarter.

Keep in mind that managers must provide feedback in a way that aligns with an employee’s personality. When giving feedback, managers need to deliver it with authenticity and provide actionable insight. And it helps to keep the feedback as positive as possible.

According to a Harvard Business Review study, the ideal ratio between positive and negative feedback is 5.6 (positive) to 1 (corrective).  

On the flip side, your managers need to solicit employee feedback. After all, employees like to feel seen, heard, and understood by their employers. When managers fail to do so, their employees might assume the company isn’t open to pursuing worthy ideas.

4. Promote from Within

Companies that promote from within tend to experience higher productivity and retention levels than those that recruit externally. After all, when employees have opportunities for advancement, they are more apt to stay with a company. Not to mention, internal candidates have a better understanding of the organization and its core values, so there’s less of a learning curve.

But that’s not to say you should promote inexperienced employees to fill your job openings. The company needs a pool of qualified talent from which to choose. And it starts by hiring the right people at the entry-level and continuously developing them. Also, long-time employees who get promoted tend to have an invaluable emotional attachment to the people and the company mission.   

5. Reward and Respect

While you need to pay your good employees good wages, you must also speak to their emotional needs. Whether it’s recognition that comes in the form of a handwritten note from the CEO or a companywide announcement, most employees want direct praise for their work.

By rewarding employees in ways that go beyond monetary compensation, you’re creating a positive company culture and building morale. You also build a strong workplace culture by showing outward respect for employees daily.       

6. Create a Learning Culture

One of the ways your company can combat turnover is by making ongoing employee skills training a priority within your organization. Not to mention, companies that provide their employees with learning opportunities tend to attract the best recruits.

When it comes to learning opportunities, you need to provide your employees with a proper balance of technical and soft skills that align with their long-term career goals and your company’s objectives.

5 Signs an Employee Is Going to Quit

According to research, employees often present certain verbal and non-verbal cues when they’re on the cusp of quitting. An article published by the Society for Human Resource Management cited the below actions as being common pre-quitting behaviors. So, be mindful when a good employee:

  1. Starts exhibiting a negative attitude.
  2. Leaves work early more frequently than usual.
  3. Stops acting like a team player.
  4. Shows less effort and work motivation than usual.
  5. Loses enthusiasm for the company’s mission.

When an employee starts to exhibit pre-quitting behaviors, it’s worth talking to them to understand what’s happening. If something is going on in the workplace, you might have an opportunity to fix the problem and get the employee to stay. However, if the employee still chooses to leave, you still need to investigate because you don’t want others to quit for the same reason.

“The biggest concern for any organization should be when their most passionate people become quiet.”

—Tim McClure, professional speaker and brand and leadership consultant

The Cost of Employee Turnover

Companies with high turnover spend a lot of money on employee replacements, which eats into their bottom line. According to a 2017 retention report published by the Work Institute, it can cost as much as 33% of a worker’s annual salary to hire a replacement. In other words, if an employee making $45,000 a year leaves a company, it can cost close to $15,000 to replace them.

So, what factors contribute to the high cost of replacing an employee? There’s the time and money spent on recruiting and onboarding a new employee. According to Entelo’s recruiting trend report from 2018, hiring teams spend an average of 13 hours a week on sourcing candidates for a single role.

Then, you have the cost of vacancy (COV), which affects a company in ways that go beyond a specific dollar amount. When a job sits vacant, companies experience a drain in productivity because other employees must pick up the slack and take more responsibilities. In turn, employee morale often goes down, and companies see an increase in errors.    

Need Help With Employee Retention?

Now that you have strategies for combating employee turnover, you might need help creating an employee retention plan. That’s where 180 Skills comes in. Our online skills training platform can teach everyone on your payroll new competencies to improve their job performance.

We have nearly 800 skills courses in our content library to help your company establish a leadership pipeline, position employees for promotion, and create a learning culture. Our skills courses cover technical and non-technical topics such as additive manufacturing, CNC machining, critical thinking, effective communication, Microsoft® Office, project management, and team building.         

Contact us if you need help creating an employee retention program.