If you’re looking for helpful employee retention strategies you’re in the right place. Learn a few creative ways to retain employees in 2022.
In 2021, the United States saw unprecedented employee turnover levels. In December along, over 4 million people quit their jobs. It’s put retention front and center on employers’ minds.
One of the most significant factors in employee retention is the supposed burn and churn mentality. Here, employees work beyond the threshold of comfort and quit as a result. This is common despite the fact it costs up to 40% of an employee’s salary to replace them. For example, if a company replaces an employee earning $50,000 a year, it could cost as much as $20,000.
If we know the stakes, why are companies struggling to retain employees? This article takes a deep dive into staff retention strategies based on the latest research.
Why are employees leaving your company?
Social exchange theory (SET) is a dominant sociological theory used to explain the relationship between employers and employees. This theory suggests that people act based on the perceived reward for behavior. Therefore, if they feel the cost outweighs a perceived benefit, they won’t act.
It’s a simple way to consider the workplace dynamic. If employees feel they’re reaping intrinsic benefits for staying at their job, they’ll remain for fear of the cost of leaving.
While some may assume this is equal to monetary value, employees consider several factors when weighing the costs vs. benefits. For example, a review of employee motivation found that elements such as job design, workplace fairness, personal development, and job satisfaction were all crucial components for employee retention.
Interestingly, mid-level employees led the Great Resignation. Typically, these people were in their 30s and 40s and gained enough experience to leverage their talents elsewhere.
3 ways to retain employees in 2022
With all that said, below are a few strategies to help you put these findings into action for 2022. A Harvard Business Review article listed a few of the top workplace trends for this year, including:
- Managerial relationships
- Flexible work arrangements
- Worker well-being
- Dependence on knowledge workers
In light of that, below we’ll take a look at how to take these trends and put them into action to boost staff retention.
Invest in education
94% of employees would continue with their current employer if they invested in their long-term learning.
In today’s information economy, knowledge is capital. The more you know, the better you work.
There are two ways of looking at this. First, when people understand what’s expected of them, they’re more likely to excel. Based on Vroom’s expectancy theory, when people act how they’re expected to and receive positive feedback, they feel more motivated.
Moreover, organizations with transparent knowledge-sharing practices cultivate more stable employee relations. In fact, one survey found that 94% of employees would continue with their current employer if they invested in their long-term learning.
Likewise, another study by the Harvard Business Review concluded 68% of workers were willing to retrain and learn new skills. Not to mention, a report on job satisfaction found more than half of employees want to feel like their skills and abilities are adequately utilized in the workplace.
In short, investing in employees’ development is a straightforward way to show your company values their skills.
Ideas for training include:
- Mentorship programs
- Shadowing and temporary transfer programs
- Online training courses such as Coursera, Reed, and CIPD courses
- VR training
- Company clubs and societies
- Guest speakers
Change your workplace culture
A recent review of employee job change concluded that workplace culture was critical for employee retention. Here, employees cited the following as critical in their’ decision to leave:
- Anti-social working hours
- Poor working environment
- Office location
- Supervisor and coworker relations
- Career prospects
In addition, other research suggests fun events enable workers to better connect with their peers. In contrast, weak organizational values and poor employee allegiance negatively affect retention.
Suggestions for team building include:
- Regular and meaningful one-on-one manager meetings
- Team-building games and activities
- Departmental competitions
- Openly recognizing success
- Being open about your plans for improvement
- Innovation days where employees can openly discuss ideas for change
Many businesses restructured during the pandemic, leaving some employees feeling adrift from their company. As a result, companies need to opt for more flexible workplace management to show awareness of these employee struggles.
This could include prioritizing employee well-being and fostering more open communication. Again, the research bears this out. For instance, a comprehensive review of employee motivation concluded a lack of work-life balance led to higher turnover levels.
Suggestions for flexible working patterns include:
- Compressed hours: Employees work full time but over fewer days.
- Job sharing: Two people do one job and split the hours.
- Annualized hours: Employees manage their own set hours over the year.
- Flextime: Workers choose their start and finish times around their core hours.
- Staggered hours: Different start and finish times, so employees get separate breaks.
In addition to flexible work hours, offering remote work has become an increasingly popular way to retain employees. A FlexJob survey concluded that 97% of workers were in favor of some kind of remote working. A further 79% of workers would be more loyal to their employees if they had flexible working options.
Remote working also improves job satisfaction, productivity, and mental well-being. A remote working policy or hybrid working options could help to retain employees that might otherwise consider leaving.
A multi-faceted approach
With so many industries affected by the Great Resignation, companies need to be more aware of the factors that affect employee retention and how to manage them. For instance, pay and recognition go a long way toward employee retention.
Remember, many factors play into an employee’s decision to leave, so these employee retention strategies aren’t as effective in isolation. Instead, for the most fruitful results, try to incorporate a range of different methods to engage your employees.