Employee retention is a major HR issue, but it’s also a major issue for everyone in the organization. While many HR professionals carry the burden of making sure employees “stick and stay”, retention within a business really is the responsibility of everyone, and the entire organization has to understand the importance of their role in retention.
How do we know this to be the case? Well, most surveys and studies will show us that the number one reason employees leave (prematurely) is because of bad managers. From top to bottom, each person in an organization is part of the whole that helps build a culture of productivity and retention.
However, poor leadership or bad managers are not the only reason companies struggle with retention, so it’s important for organizations to address the issues that put their talent on the run. Here are some retention strategies that help reduce employee turnover:
An employee’s experience is the single biggest driving force in determining his or her engagement and long-term productivity with a company. How he or she feels about their overall experience drives everything. Do they feel appreciated? Do they feel respected? Are they heard? Is there room for growth? Do they have training and support? All of these things, of how they perceive their job, and the company culture, determine their experience.
The key is to be intentional in creating an employee experience that speaks to the type of talent you want to attract and keep. There are a myriad of perks that can be offered (from flex time to gym memberships to remote work), but the key is to purposefully create an environment that shapes the overall experience for your employees. The key in all of this? Communication.
Communication: Coming (On-boarding) and Going (Off-Boarding)
Ninety-Eight Percent of senior leaders say that onboarding programs help retention efforts. The key to long-term hiring, retention, engagement, and productivity lies in your onboarding process. Finding a consistent process that provides the same experience for new employees, over and over again, is a hallmark to an effective onboarding process. As new employees move through the process, consistent communication of what they need and how they’re doing is critical to their overall employee experience. Additionally, as employees move through the onboarding process, it’s important that the process is evaluated, and updated as needed.
But another key component to helping with retention is talking to employees who leave the company, via an off-boarding process. An exit interview is typically a great opportunity (though can be a sensitive time) to learn how your company can improve. Sometimes employees leave on bad terms, and it’s likely the employee who is leaving with a bad rap, so it’s a bit easier to ignore their comments or complaints as the one who just didn’t fit in. However, good HR professionals will listen through the emotions to understand what can be improved within the organization, hopefully without taking things personally.
Eat The Feedback
If employees know that you care about them and their work experience, they will help you solve the problems that your company faces. Part of the work in developing management and employee relations is asking for, and being receptive to employee feedback. Some leaders ask for feedback, and never change anything. Employees see through these leadership styles, and will eventually stop sharing. Of course, the quickest way to shut down feedback is to use it against those who share. But good leaders understand that feedback (both good and bad) doesn’t have to be an indictment of them as a leader or person, and that having open discussion, that is responsive to challenges, is a fantastic way to create synergy and forward movement.
Don’t kick the feedback, eat it! Chew on it, feel what your employee is saying, and then digest it. I’ll stop there with the metaphor…but from there, it’s then time to decide how you will respond. Does something need to change? Or does someone need to change? If nothing needs to change, then it’s important to go back to that employee and discuss your decision, and the why.
All of this provides employees, leadership, and the organization as a whole, important information that helps shape the overall employee experience that leads to low or high retention.
Retention in today’s workforce is no easy task. By being intentional and purposeful in the employee experience you create, based off of communication, you will see your retention percentages rise. All of this leads to a more engaged, productive, and happy workforce that stays for the long haul.