Employee Recognition

Minimise turnover with these 10 employee retention strategies

employee retention

You don’t have to wait until the day of an employee’s exit interview to find out their reasons for leaving. Every day you have an opportunity to identify challenges within the company – drilling down to teams and individuals – to develop a plan that can help your company retain its high-performing employees.

Employee retention is a critical issue facing companies across the world for many reasons. One of the reasons being the substantial costs it takes to replace an employee – as much as 1 to 2.5 times an employee’s salary. Apart from this cost, there’s the cost of recruiting and onboarding new employees, training costs and waiting for them to reach that same level of contribution of the employees they have replaced.

Apart from losing highly-skilled and experienced employees, companies also experience decreased productivity, morale and engagement because a valued team member has left – are you starting to see the picture here?

Replacing a high-performing employee costs more than to keep them around. So how can your company retain top talent? Here are eight employee retention strategies to help prevent employee turnover.


1. It all starts with recruitment.

Employee retention doesn’t start when employees are already employed by your company. It starts right at the beginning during your recruitment process. Together with HR, identify and agree on which attributes of your company culture and values you want to align your candidates too.

Often companies see recruitment as a stop-gap to quickly fill a void. However, recruitment must be seen as a long-term model that forms part of fulfilling components of the company strategy.

Look for any interests, sports or volunteer initiatives that the candidate participates in – this usually indicates loyalty, and been invested in a cause or team. This type of candidate would typically have a mindset that is loyal and committed.


2. Give your employees honest feedback.

People want to feel that they are winning at work and that their skills and capabilities are making a difference to the company they work for. It creates a deep sense of purpose and belonging.

Provide detailed feedback to your employees and celebrate their wins and successes with them – after all everyone is working collaboratively towards the company achieving its goals. Relaying positive feedback instils pride amongst employees and their peers and managers. It encourages them to repeat positive behaviours that result in high levels of employee engagement.


3. Let the robots be robots and the people be people.

Nobody thinks fondly of a company who expects employees to check their emails after hours or during public holidays – don’t be that company. Coach your managers to encourage a good work-life balance to avoid burnout and elevated stress levels as well as to maintain the effective production of high-quality work. Keep them operating at optimal efficiency by encouraging mini-breaks at the office, or implement a rule that no lunch can be eaten at desks to prompt them to move around or get some fresh air to properly recharge and avoid the mid-day slump. Every now and then, the office could close an hour earlier in lieu of a public holiday the following day, but whatever you do you’ll maintain a balance that your employees will love you for – helping strengthen the loyalty with your company.


4. Give your employees opportunities to grow.

You need to offer employees opportunities to grow and learn new things. On-the-job training is necessary to upskill in a specific area in order to perform a task in the right way, however, don’t only focus on boosting performance in employees’ current role. Identify areas in which they have shown aptitude and create cross-functional training and in-house mentorships.  

Offering ongoing learning and training opportunities don’t have to be costly. With so many free online learning resources, you could develop an informal professional or skills development program for any employee. Employees want to feel valued and if they see you have taken a keen interest in their career development it shows that you are working alongside them, equally invested in their success. This boosts employee satisfaction and engagement and ultimately helps with employee retention.


5. Your managers might be making your employees leave. 

It is true that employees don’t quit jobs, they quit managers. According to Gallup, managers have one job: To hire the best employees and continuously engage them. If they don’t they could lose their best talent to their competitors taking with them years of performance gains.

Employee turnover is directly affected by managers. Did you know that 50% of employees in the U.S left their job to get away from their manager? Managers also account for approximately 70% of the variance in employee engagement scores. So it is also imperative that when onboarding managers you address the softer skills associated with that type of position.


6. Everything comes together in one strategy.

Employee retention cannot be approached with a single focus. All of the companies’ employee strategies need to work cohesively to address employee turnover. So creating a great company culture and progressive work environment are some of the other ways to keep your employees from leaving.


7. Employee retention may need you to take a relook at the traditional benefits.

You’ll often hear people cite salary and lack of benefits as a reason for leaving. However, in today’s tough economic climate it’s difficult for companies to attract and retain top employees by offering lucrative remuneration packages. But there are other ways to make your benefits packages more attractive especially with the influx of multigenerational workforces converging on workplaces everywhere.

 Here are some of the ways you could ramp up your company’s benefits offering:

1. Boost work-life balance with flexi-time and work-from-home day
2. Gift additional annual leave days (1 extra day for every year of service)
3. Give employees the day off on their birthdays
4. Donate a set sum of money to a charity of their choice on their long-term work anniversaries


8. Take it to the people.

The best way to find out why your employees are heading for the exit is to ask your current and ex-employees. Ask them questions (and be prepared for honest responses) as to why they would or have sought other job opportunities, what you could do to improve the environment etc. Use all of the responses to brainstorm with the leadership how you could make the company a better place to be.


9. Create a great company culture.

People want to be excited about their jobs and coming into the office every day. Having a great company culture adds to team spirit, camaraderie and fosters socialisation and collaboration – things you definitely want in your company if you want your people to stay. A great company culture inspires innovation and teamwork and above all work friendships. If your employees are connected to the company and its people, they will be less likely to leave.


10. Recognise and reward great performances.

If you want your employees to feel valued then you must recognise them for their efforts. If you want to add rewards to that recognition but you fear the cost implications thereof, there are many ways other than money to reward your employees for their hard work. These include gift cards, movie tickets, sports tickets, dinner vouchers, lunch vouchers, branded company apparel and so on.

Foster a bit of healthy competition between individuals, teams, departments and motivate your employees to deliver best-in-quality work while validating those behaviours and making them feel valued.

Of course, employee turnover is inevitable, so be prepared for it. Employees will always leave – to retire, relocate, start families and pursue other interests. But you can manage employee turnover for factors that are within your control.


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