Top 10 Workplace Retention Factors to Consider

Retaining strong employees is imperative for your company’s success.

happy employees in meeting collaboration
How to build a supportive workplace that keeps employees long term

Hiring the right employee for the job is just the first step. How do you keep them? Here are the top 10 factors affecting workplace retention and how to harness them.

1. A flexible schedule

This has always been true, but with COVID-19, it’s more important than ever. Employees are increasingly putting more focus on the flexibility of their work schedules. They’re rejecting rigid schedules and unyielding rules that don’t allow them to adapt to other facets of their life, and they’re looking for an employer who will bend and stretch with them.

Flexible schedules help employees balance non-work responsibilities, such as raising a family, furthering their education, or traveling.

2. Rethink your benefits

Benefits are just as important to many employees as their actual salary. This is especially true of health and wellness benefits. Offering a Health Savings Account, providing access to online fitness and wellness programs, and being more generous with your group medical insurance plan (such as covering alternative therapies and mental health) are all perks employees want. Consider the fact that stress-related work absences cost your company dearly and that healthcare costs are 50% higher for workers with high levels of stress. This is a work retention focus that truly pays for itself!

3. Acknowledge and reward your employees

Exactly how you reward your employees can vary, but in many cases, recognitions can be free or very low cost.

We never truly outgrow that Kindergarten phase of wanting to cover our notebooks with stickers from the teacher. Everyone likes being told they did a great job, and the more you recognize your employees for their performance, the better they’ll do. Exactly how you reward your employees can vary, but in many cases, recognitions can be free or very low cost. A shout-out to an employee who went above and beyond, a plaque at an annual awards ceremony, a heartfelt thank you with a coffee gift card, and of course a cash bonus are all ways to show your employees you see and appreciate them.

4. Encourage personal development

Your employees might spend the majority of their waking hours at work, but that doesn’t mean they don’t also crave to grow and explore in other facets of their life. Some larger companies pay for relevant graduate degrees for their workers — and some employees exclusively apply to positions with these companies strictly for those benefits. Other companies might offer complimentary classes on related skills and software. Lifelong learning is essential to everyone’s well-being.

5. Compensation

The nitty gritty is still a critical part of work retention. An employee’s compensation should grow in relation to both how long they’ve been with the company and how productive and essential they are to the company. However, compensation isn’t as important to employees as you might think. A study by Open Journal of Social Sciences found that “throwing money” at employees actually only retains them for a short amount of time. The trick is providing steady increases in compensation that align with inflation and performance, but not letting that be the sole focus in retaining employees.

6. Support their work-life balance

You have a life outside work — so do your employees. Recognizing that and taking steps to help them achieve a better balance can only work in your favor. There are many ways to do this, such as offering a work-from-home option and allowing mental health days. Work flexibility is usually a good place to start, but you can certainly get creative with this one.

7. Take a closer look at your management

You might need an overhaul of how management is trained and how employees are seen through the lens of your leadership.

Ultimately, many employees don’t quit because they dislike the company or their job. Most of the time, they quit over management. Are your managers actually improving workplace happiness or are they focused strictly on figures?

You might need an overhaul of how management is trained and how employees are seen through the lens of your leadership.

8. Reassess onboarding and initial training

If you don’t have retention strategies built into your onboarding, you’re off to a rocky start. Make sure applicants get a realistic snapshot of the job and work culture. Introducing ways to socialize with other employees can also play a factor in retention. Ongoing activities to foster employee relationships can help you keep your best workers.

9. More creative benefits

Health benefits and flex schedules are great, but what else do your employees want? Increasingly there have been options for low-cost or complimentary childcare at some businesses. Options to get paid in Bitcoin works for others. Ask your employees — what is it they’d like to see?

10. The ABCs: always be changing

Be open, ask for feedback, and actually listen to what your employees are telling you.

A stagnant work environment is an unpleasant one. If your company is going to grow with the times, that starts with the employees. Be open, ask for feedback, and actually listen to what your employees are telling you. If you let them take the lead, they’ll let you know exactly how to keep them.

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