8 Employee Retention Strategies You Really Need

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

In today's climate, retaining employees is more challenging than ever before. Two weeks of vacation a year isn't enough, especially for millennials who value their work/life balance over advancing their career. With that in mind, here are eight of our favorite employee retention strategies to help HR professionals keep their teams together in this ever-changing marketplace.

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8 Employee Retention Strategies You Really Need

1. Take your time with onboarding

Onboarding can be a mess, especially if you're scrambling to replace a vital team member who left abruptly. Don't rush through this process. Good onboarding can help improve employee retention. Take the time to build a strong and lasting relationship with your new employees to prevent high turnover rates. Successful onboarding, from hiring to training to making a new employee feel like part of the family, can take up to 12 months. Don't rush it if you want to improve employee retention.

2. Support a healthy work/life balance

The 9-to-5, five-day-a-week schedule might have worked for previous generations, but it's not something that functions in today's society. Millennials make up the largest portion of the workforce right now, and they value and often demand a healthy work/life balance in their careers. This generation doesn't see material possessions as a sign of success. Instead, they enjoy the ability to work remotely and successfully balance their work and home lives.

According to a Deloitte survey, 16.8% of millennials choose their career based on this criterion. To retain employees, you need to be able to support their work/life balance.

3. Offer opportunities for advancement

Offering opportunities for employee advancement isn't just a way to improve your current team — it can also help you retain your workers. A 2018 report found that 94% of employees would stay with their current company if their employer invested in their careers. It's not an option anymore — career development is a requirement if you want to retain people for longer.

4. Rethink your employee perks

What do you think of when you hear the phrase employee perks? Free coffee and casual Fridays? Take the time to rethink things. Provide the option for flexible schedules or remote work. Paid family leave — not just maternity leave — is a big draw these days. As of 2018, 35% of employers were offering paid maternity leave, and 28% were offering paid leave for new fathers. Netflix is one of the best in the industry, offering a full 12 months of paid parental time off.

5. Build a retention culture

Employee retention isn't just something for HR to focus on. Take the time to build a culture within the company that focuses on employee retention. This process starts in the human resources offices, but it should include everyone from the highest-paid CEO to the newest employee. Create a team that focuses on managing everyone's needs, not just their own, and work to keep them together.

6. Rework your training processes

When you think of employee training, onboarding probably comes to mind. While this is an important step toward retaining current and future employees, it shouldn't just be restricted to new hires. Workers are more likely to leave a job where they feel they don't have a clear path forward. Ongoing education and training programs can help keep people engaged so they feel like they have a future with the company. The quickest way to lose a modern employee is to make them feel like they're a cog in a machine — spinning in place but never moving forward.

7. Be competitive with salary and benefits

No matter what industry you're in, the market is constantly changing — and human resources departments need to shift their focuses to stay competitive. Take the time to get to know the local market. Find out what your competitors are offering, as well as the local cost of living. Figure out what you can do to stay ahead of those two criteria. You don't always have to provide the highest salary. Sometimes benefits can make all the difference — 76% of millennial workers stated they'd take a 3% pay cut if their employer offered flexible hours.

8. Offer appreciation and recognition

Everyone loves getting a pat on the back and the occasional attaboy. Recognizing and appreciating your employees doesn't just make them feel good — it can also help improve retention. One survey found that 79% of employees felt undervalued in their current role. Creating a recognition and appreciation program that gives you the tools to give someone the pat on the back they deserve can help reduce turnover.

Looking Forward

Employee retention doesn't just help you keep your team together — it can also reduce costs and improve productivity. Take a look at our list of retention strategies and see which ones might fit with your current HR program. Some of them, like offering appreciation and recognition, don't have to cost you anything — but will save you a ton of money and hassle in the long run.

Megan Nichols

Megan Nichols is a technical writer and blogger. She regularly contributes to sites like ReadWrite, IoT Times, and Training Magazine. Megan also publishes easy to understand science articles on her personal blog, Schooled By Science. Follow Megan on Twitter if you want keep up with the latest trends in science and industry.


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