Is Your Employee Retention Program Working?
Organizations can significantly improve the chances of retaining employees by implementing these strategies to boost job satisfaction.
Here's what you need to know:
- Researchers indicate that workers like their chances in the current job market, meaning employers must remain vigilant with their retention efforts for top performers
- Strategies for boosting job satisfaction and employee retention include having effective onboarding and orientation processes and offering competitive compensation, perks, and benefits
- Additional strategies include offering flexible work arrangements, upskilling and mentorship programs, and more
The Great Resignation has had employees leaving their jobs in droves. Researchers indicate that workers like their chances in the current job market, meaning employers must remain vigilant with their retention efforts for top performers.
It’s time for companies to confirm they are making the correct efforts to retain their current workforce. Organizations must ensure they are making every effort to drive employee job satisfaction.
Statistically, employees who report being satisfied in their work life are more likely to stay with the company. For companies to ensure their employee retention programs are working, they must first understand why employees may be choosing to leave.
Why are employees leaving their companies?
When employees choose to leave, the HR department’s greatest tool is the exit interview. An exit interview can provide insight into why an employee has decided to leave.
These interviews also give the employee’s perspective of the organization’s inner workings and can help determine if employee retention strategies need to be adjusted.
Some of the reasons given for leaving the job include:
- They need more money.
- They want better or different benefits.
- Employees feel they are overworked or are doing jobs that aren’t theirs.
- They find virtually no room for advancement in their chosen career with their current company.
- Workers feel they are spending all their time at work and none of their time living.
- They don’t feel their achievements are recognized or their work is appreciated.
- Employees need a change, or they’re bored with the current trajectory of their career.
- They feel like the company is floundering rather than flourishing and are unwilling to go down with the ship.
- The company culture isn’t a good fit for their personality.
- They’ve found better, more attractive opportunities elsewhere.
What are top strategies for keeping employees satisfied?
Employees with highly sought-after skills will find new opportunities quickly if they leave their current company, even in areas where employers are valued more highly than employees.
Even during the worst of the pandemic, many companies continued to recruit top talent, so businesses must work quickly to ensure their retention strategies are working appropriately. Here are several areas where employers can boost job satisfaction and employee retention.
Start at the beginning with onboarding and orientation
When new hires enter the company doors for the first time, they will understandably be nervous, so HR and management should take that critical moment to create a successful relationship with them.
The employee onboarding process should teach new employees about the company culture and the job.
The employee onboarding process should teach new employees about the company culture and the job. New hires should be taught how they can contribute to and thrive within the culture.
Introduce them to other members of the team. Teach them policies and show them where everything is. Remember that the first few days within the company’s walls will set the tone — pleasant or unpleasant — for their entire time with the firm, so provide superior training and support during the onboarding and orientation phase of the hiring process.
Make mentorship programs a priority within the hierarchy
Many organizations have adopted the attitude of “We’re better together” with mentorship programs. That’s because they see the benefits of pairing or grouping employees for various tasks during the workday. Pairing a new employee with a mentor benefits both the new employee and the existing staff member.
For the new employee, someone is there to provide guidance on company policy or other day-to-day workings within the company. The mentor gets a fresh perspective from the new hire, and they can discuss ideas for new projects or work together whenever appropriate.
Not to mention, trusting an existing employee to be a mentor helps to let them know that management is confident in their abilities.
Employee satisfaction is often tied to their compensation
Most of the time, employees don’t report leaving a job to take one that pays less. Rather, they move to a position that pays more, so employers must keep salaries competitive in their industry if they want to retain top talent.
Offering better healthcare, retirement plans, or other benefits packages might help keep employees more satisfied if a company can’t compete monetarily with their nearest competition.
In some regions, sign-on, yearly, and holiday bonuses are ways to retain employees if their salaries aren’t quite as large as the competition across the street.
Bring in employees and keep them by offering perks
One of the best ways to stand out above the crowd of opportunities is to offer perks. Perks are different from benefits because they aren’t legally required offerings. They’re extras — an onsite gym, for example. If the company already offers parental leave, perhaps it’s time to consider offering it to adoptive or foster parents as well as natural parents.
A good way to determine which perks would benefit the employees is to have HR conduct a survey. Employees might appreciate different things depending on the area and the company’s makeup. Why not ask employees what they want if the goal is to increase employee satisfaction?
Offer wellness programs that honor the whole person
Mental, physical, and financial wellness are essential to keeping employees satisfied, and offering programs to help ensure employee wellness is a sound business practice.
During the pandemic, many employers began to recognize the importance of maintaining overall wellness for employees. Companies can offer classes or reimbursement for programs that help support all aspects of an individual’s health, from mental health to fitness level to financial independence planning.
Make communication within the company easy
It’s the management’s responsibility to develop a system to keep lines of communication open and flowing. With the current shift to flexible work schedules, clear communication among teams has become more crucial. Team members should feel comfortable speaking with each other and management about ideas or issues.
Provide performance feedback more than once a year
Gone are the days of the annual performance review. Now, employers are encouraging more frequent performance feedback. In these meetings, they discuss goals, struggles, and plans.
Now, employers are encouraging more frequent performance feedback.
Some employers utilize a self-evaluation technique to learn what the employee thinks of their performance before their individual meeting. This gives them insight into the employee’s concerns about their performance and allows the manager to provide feedback addressing the areas where the employee feels deficient. It also allows the manager to learn what areas require more training.
Implement exceptional training and development programs
For employees to compete in the ever-changing world of technology, employers must commit to providing training and development programs to keep them at the top of their fields. New software solutions or updates to current programs are constantly being issued.
To stay on top of technological changes, employees need access to the appropriate training, whether that consists of workshops or individualized training sessions.
Regardless of how the company does it, professional development should be a priority if they want to retain their employees. A bonus is that this helps with succession planning.
Create a system for internal recognition and rewards
One of the biggest complaints of employees is feeling unappreciated for what they do at work. With the current flexibility of work-from-home employment, it can be even harder to let employees know they are appreciated.
However, one way to improve employee satisfaction and increase retention is to create an incentive and rewards system. Perhaps consider holding a company picnic in the spring or summer and combining that with an awards day.
Honor employees who have been with the company for varying lengths of time with special gifts. Recognize achievement by treating everyone to a catered lunch on the company. The rewards don’t have to be expensive, either — just something that shows management noticed the hard work the employees have put into the job.
Help employees create a satisfactory work-life balance
Since the pandemic, employees are more aware of how much time they spend away from their families and friends and at their jobs. People are no longer satisfied being married to their jobs. They want a life away from work and for their managers to know and understand they need that.
With flexible work from home arrangements, it’s an even more precarious balance between work and home life. The tendency is to check emails or log in to check “just one thing” at any given time.
That blurs the lines between work life and home life even further. Management and employees must work together to create boundaries that facilitate a better work-life balance.
Allow flexible work arrangements whenever possible
Many employees found during the pandemic that they enjoyed working from home and were also as productive, if not more productive, at home. If companies are truly interested in employee satisfaction, they should consider what they can offer in remote work.
If companies are truly interested in employee satisfaction, they should consider what they can offer in remote work.
Even if employees can’t go to permanent remote status, flex time or hybrid options could be enough to keep employees with them rather than looking elsewhere.
Manage any changes effectively and efficiently
One thing everyone learned during the pandemic is that we all must be ready to adapt at a moment’s notice. Sometimes those changes are good, and sometimes those changes are irrevocably damaging.
If management doesn’t handle change efficiently and confidently, employees won’t have confidence in their leadership. Employees who lose faith in leadership won’t remain loyal to the company.
Perhaps the best way to maintain employee confidence in the company when it’s going through changes is to maintain effective lines of communication. When management keeps the team informed and is willing to answer questions honestly, employees feel less anxious and more willing to wait out the storms.
There is no “I” in team
Many a high school or college coach has said, “Remember, there is no I in team.” While that may sound like an oversimplification of the point, it’s valid to emphasize that employees should be treated like a team rather than individual stars.
The simplest way to promote teamwork is to provide opportunities for people to collaborate on projects. When the company has sales meetings or progress reports, for example, allow time for ideas or issues to be discussed among team members.
Milestones should be celebrated
Has Jack been working with the company longer than anyone else? That’s a significant milestone and should be celebrated. Did June pass 25 years in the art department? Consider catering lunch to celebrate her achievement.
Did the team finish a huge presentation a full month before the client wanted it? Everyone gets Friday off with pay to celebrate. The point is large or small milestones should be acknowledged.
Improving employee satisfaction and retention is vital
These tips are just a few ideas for improving employee satisfaction and retention. While no action guarantees that employees will stay, companies can significantly improve the chances of retaining employees if they acknowledge the need for action to help ensure job satisfaction.