Skilled professionals are hard to find but even harder to keep. In such a competitive jobs market many are quick to think the grass is greener on the other side and businesses are struggling more than ever to keep employees from straying to their competition. Fortunately, there are ways to keep your workforce for longer and improve employee retention.
High employee turnover is a dangerous cycle, caused by poor morale and performance and worsening these factors further. Poor retention is a sure indication that at least one part of your employee experience isn’t working. It’s also extremely costly, with so-called ‘bad hires’ costing up to more than double the employee’s original salary thanks to sourcing and training replacements. High turnover means these costs can quickly become a significant and fixed part of your overheads.
Improving employee retention will require you to think from your employee’s perspective. Looking at every stage of the employee life cycle, there are many ways in which you can help improve overall experience and improve retention although there are five key areas to look at.
The onboarding process is one of the most important parts of the employee experience, but it is often one of the most overlooked. Even when this area is addressed, it is often only partially. Many fail to consider pre-boarding processes or quickly forget about orientation after the first week. The onboarding process should start even before the new hires first day, and last long beyond the first week to seamlessly integrate them into their role in the first year. With more than 80% of new hires deciding whether to stay within the first 6 months, businesses who fail to improve their onboarding process risk driving new employees away.
Employees are much more likely to stay if they are integrated into their role and the businesses as quickly as possible. The best way to do this is to ensure that all the relevant information a new hire could need in their first few months is easily accessible, from general orientation information such as where and when to get lunch to giving them contact to their team members and other relevant colleagues. By setting clear goals right from the outset you can also ensure new hires know exactly what’s required of them in their first months rather than leaving them to feel lost or confused.
Learning is an essential part to helping employees feel fulfilled and satisfied at work, plus providing ongoing courses and training means continuous goals and targets for employees to aim for – and stay for. Mentorship is a key part of this learning, with many getting more meaningful development from colleagues with first hand experience. In a study by Deloitte, they discovered that millennials favoured mentorship and were more likely to stay for longer when they had a mentor. Of those that intended to stay for more than five years in their current role 68% had a mentor, almost twice the number that didn’t (38%).
An advanced LMS technology provides a platform to deliver online courses, from informal personal development to qualifications and certifications for industry compliance. It can also provide a platform for collaborative learning, allowing employees to work together in teams, departments and even across the entire business. By allowing them the chance to upload and share their own videos or learning materials, you can create a culture of continual learning and development with ongoing mentorship.
Learning itself can provide ongoing targets and fulfilment, but the aim of this training should be to nurture and develop your existing talent to take on your top roles. Development is arguably the key to employee retention with many of us focused on progressing our careers. Those that feel they have reached the end of the line in their role or don’t have access to progression opportunities are the first to start looking for a company that will. Amongst millennials, opportunities to progress and take on leadership roles was ranked the second most important factor when evaluating whether to stay in their current position.
Succession is dependant on two factors; knowing your employees and knowing the roles within your business. For your employees, setting long-term career goals with a future role in mind and tracking their ongoing progress is half the battle. The other half is knowing when a top role is going to open up or looking to the future goals and needs of the business to create the new roles of the future.
It’s no secret that rewards and compensation can improve employee retention, but many businesses focus heavily on the monetary aspect rather than other valuable rewards. While bonuses, pay rises and even vouchers can be high motivators for your workforce, sometimes simple recognition is enough to let your employees know they’re appreciated. Monetary rewards are not only costlier, but without any other recognition they can still leave your workforce feeling underappreciated and could see them looking elsewhere.
Just like succession, a successful compensation strategy relies heavily on tracking performance and understanding your individual employees. Along with bonuses and pay rises, you can then begin to create opportunities to recognise individual employees for their work, whether it’s within their role or within the company. Encouraging employees to contribute to a mentorship scheme or improve online learning for others by sharing their own knowledge can be just as valuable to your business as their everyday duties, so recognise these contributions to nurture an above-and-beyond culture. When it does come to monetary rewards, be sure to balance them against your budgets to make sure your compensation scheme is still profitable for your business.
Many businesses make the mistake of focusing on what matters to them and only look to the numbers to help them get there, typically things like profit and turnover. The mistake here is forgetting that your employees aren’t a corporation, and their happiness and drive to work are likely very different from that of the business.
While development is important, employees with no work life balance are likely to be unhappy no matter what role they’re in. For millennials, a good work life balance is the most important thing they consider when choosing to stay with a company. Finding a way to incorporate work life balance into your company culture is vital for employee satisfaction, making for a much more productive workforce overall as well as a more loyal one.
Along with providing certain things such as break-out areas in the office and arranging regular events or team-building outings, encouraging communication outside of projects can also help with work life balance. Providing a platform with an internal social network and other communication tools can help employees build their informal network as well as their formal one. It’s also possible to pass the reins to the workforce, giving them the autonomy to set up their own clubs or events within the business. Not only does this a foster a deep social culture within the company, it also takes some of the pressure off managers and directors to arrange events outside of work.
To make a meaningful effort to improve employee retention a robust HR management system is vital. Not only can it help you track turnover more accurately, it can also provide the tools to instigate the strategies above and monitor their success. The SuccessFactors suite provides modules that can be used individually to focus on problem areas in your employee lifecycle or together to form a cohesive employee experience designed to minimise employee turnover and ultimately improve profitability.