Good employees can be hard to come by, so once you’ve found one that contributes to your business and works well with your team, you want to hang on to them. However, keeping your employees engaged is more difficult than you might think, especially when qualified employees likely have several options.
Prioritizing employee retention is essential for your business. Not only will retaining your current employees save you time on having to train new hires, but it will also save you money. According to a study by Employee Benefit News, the average employee exit cost is equal to 33% of their salary.
For this reason, you might be wondering how you can boost your employee retention rates. In addition to a competitive salary and benefits, there are plenty of strategies you can implement in order to encourage your employees to remain at your business. Here are our top four tips you can use to increase employee retention:
- Create an effective onboarding process.
- Provide regular feedback.
- Offer opportunities for growth.
- Prioritize work-life balance.
High employee retention rates help you create a better company culture for everyone. And if you’re committed to wowing your customers, you certainly want to keep the employees that your customers frequently interact with. This way, you can cultivate positive relationships with your customers, hopefully creating lasting connections that keep your business moving forward.
Let’s take a closer look at each of these strategies!
1. Create an effective onboarding process.
Employee retention begins the minute that your new staff members apply for the job. First, be sure that your job description accurately reflects the role and responsibilities that your new hire will be expected to complete. This way, they will have an accurate understanding of your expectations, which is important for retention.
Once your new employee has gone through the hiring process, you’ll want to have a clear onboarding procedure that makes new team members feel welcome and prepared. Here are a few tips for creating an effective onboarding process:
- Create a detailed schedule: New employees appreciate it when they have some idea of what to expect in their first few weeks on the job. That’s why a schedule detailing the onboarding process can help employees feel ready to work. Provide a clear outline explaining the activities that employees must complete to become fully onboarded.
- Pace out onboarding: While you should provide a schedule of your onboarding process, be careful not to make your new employees feel overwhelmed. Give your employees plenty of time to understand the core concepts of your business before moving on to more complex topics. For example, if you run a dog daycare business that uses specific software, you may want to show an employee how to use it once they’re already familiar with their day-to-day responsibilities. This way, they won’t get overwhelmed.
- Encourage questions: Your employees will feel welcome from day one if you create an environment in which they feel comfortable asking questions. Be sure to allocate time throughout the onboarding process for questions and provide positive feedback when employees ask questions, so they feel comfortable asking them in the future.
Investing time in your onboarding process will put you on the right track towards high employee retention. When your employees feel prepared, they will be empowered to work, ask questions, and search for growth opportunities in the business.
2. Provide regular feedback.
Once you’ve created a positive environment for your employees with your onboarding process, how can you keep the great atmosphere going? The answer: providing regular feedback. Consistent feedback will give your employees a sense of how they’re doing and how they can improve.
To provide effective feedback, you should:
- Schedule regular check-ins: Consider dedicating a bit of time every week to check in with each of your employees. These check-ins give your employees time to discuss potential problems they’ve run into or ask lingering questions. Plus, you can use this time to work on your interpersonal relationships with your employees.
- Publicly recognize employees: Public recognition can go a long way to help employees feel appreciated in their roles. Going back to our dog daycare example, let’s say your employee handled an emergency situation very well. You can share what happened and how the employee successfully managed it with the rest of your team as a way to commend them for their quick thinking.
- Discuss short-term and long-term goals: A major aspect of maintaining high employee retention rates is providing opportunities for growth. During your check-ins, give employees the chance to discuss their short-term and long-term career goals. You can use this information to create opportunities for your employees to continue growing within your company.
Creating an open line of communication between yourself and your employees ensures that there are no misunderstandings or surprises when performance reviews roll around. This can make the performance review process less stressful because your employees will know that they’re meeting expectations. Additionally, regular check-ins can help employees feel heard and valued rather than like a cog in the machine.
3. Offer opportunities for growth.
As mentioned, providing growth opportunities is essential for employee retention. Employees want to feel as though their role is helping them achieve their long-term career goals, so if they feel unchallenged or complacent, they’re more inclined to leave.
Career growth doesn’t just mean a promotion. There are lots of other opportunities you can offer, such as:
- Mentoring: New employees, whether they are fresh out of college or are just joining the industry, can benefit from working with more experienced colleagues. Creating a mentoring program can help employees continue to grow while fostering meaningful relationships in the workplace.
- Networking opportunities: It’s all about who you know, right? Proactively plan networking events for your employees. Not only are strong connections great for business, but they can also help your employees meet the right people.
- Continuing education: If you have employees who are eager to learn, offer funding for continuing education opportunities, especially if the new credentials can help your business.
If you aren’t sure which growth opportunities your employees would be interested in, just ask! This RealHR Solutions guide to performance reviews suggests having employees complete a self-assessment before the review begins. Include a question about how the employee would like to advance their career and skills. This way, you can get a conversation going during the performance review and brainstorm opportunities that the employee would benefit from.
4. Prioritize work-life balance.
Mental health has become increasingly important in the workplace as employees have advocated for a better work-life balance. Employers can play a very active role in improving work-life balance, and it’s an effort your employees will certainly appreciate. Here are a few ways to show your employees that you value their work-life balance:
- Avoid work on the weekends: Even your most dedicated employees need a break. Create an organizational culture in which your employees do not feel obligated to work on the weekends, especially if they’re already getting their work done on time. And if your employees do have to work overtime, be sure to pay them accordingly, and in compliance with federal, state, and local laws.
- Allow flexible work arrangements: Since the pandemic, many employees have found great enjoyment in a hybrid work schedule, with time split between working in-office and remotely. Give your employees the flexibility to work from home or in the office as they choose. Most studies have found that one to two days in the office with the remaining days at home is the best balance.
- Respect boundaries: Empower your employees to set their own boundaries, whether that means not checking their email during their paid time off or being inaccessible during the weekends. Adhering to your employees’ boundaries will help them feel respected in the workplace.
- Give employees time to give back: This Double the Donation resource on employee engagement reports that workplace-supported donation and volunteer opportunities lead to higher retention rates and productivity. For this reason, consider investing in a matching gift or volunteer grant program to encourage employees to get involved in their communities.
Ultimately, prioritizing work-life balance can help you prevent burnout. Over half of employees report feeling burnt out, which leads to many of them leaving their jobs. By providing enough paid time off, plenty of scheduling flexibility, and room for your employees to enjoy their life outside of work, you can reduce the effects of burnout and increase productivity.
Although employee retention has become more challenging for businesses in recent years, there’s a lot that employers like yourself can do to keep their team engaged and satisfied. In addition to the basics like competitive compensation and benefits, be sure to offer your employees plenty of support in their position and in their lives. Good luck!
Hi, I’m Casey! I’m the Sales Manager at Gingr software. Originally from Indianapolis, I now live in Colorado with my wife and dog, Dexter. Our hobbies include hiking, skiing, and visiting local breweries.