Hiring employees and training them is costly, but it is more expensive for a company when its most talented employees leave. This cost is so high that 78% of companies feel that employee retention is the most important. Research by Willis Towers Watson shows that employee turnover is among the leading challenges that modern-day companies face today. More than half of all organizations globally report that they face difficulty in retaining some of their most marketable employee groups, including high-potential and top performers.
Though it may appear difficult to have a strategy that addresses this challenge effectively, it is not impossible. At the heart of employee retention and loyalty is employee engagement. The first step is to understand employee needs. Employers then need to craft a strategy to address those needs.
Employee surveys provide a great avenue for businesses that want to retain their employees and here's how:
1. Identify unconventional ways to reward employees
The standard way to reward employees is not enough to retain them in a business environment where 33% of newly hired employees quit their job within the first 6 months. This implies that businesses must continually find other ways of rewarding their employees besides incentivizing them, to make them stay longer. By using employee surveys, companies can begin to unravel things that are important to their employees. This information can be useful to find out ways on how to reward your employees' exceptional performance beyond financial incentives.
Some rewards employees find attractive include options to work remotely and flexible work hours. It is estimated that 50% of employees who work remotely are not likely to quit. At the same time, 68% of millennials value flexible work hours and personal development over monetary incentives. When developing employee survey templates, consider including questions that indicate how your employees want to be rewarded. Using this information, you can build an employee motivation strategy that accommodates the preferences of your employees and see how the strategy works.
2. Identify employee's personal development needs
Research by Gallup shows that in the modern-day workplace, millennials consider personal development opportunities as the most critical factor when moving to a new job. According to a survey conducted by the American Psychological Association, the majority of workers (91%) are motivated when the leadership of a company supports personal development. Ideally, employees need to be onboarded, effectively trained and mentored during the first months of work to ensure they assimilate in the culture of the company.
Companies can use surveys to identify the personal development needs of their staff and align their training and development programs with those needs. At the same time, companies can use surveys to capture the expectations of new employees who join the company. To avoid boredom, companies can then use engagement apps that enhance interaction and collaboration to train new employees during the onboarding process. This process increases employee engagement and, ultimately, enhances their retention rate.
3. Reduce routine and boredom in the workplace
Routine tasks can demotivate employees and lead to boredom. This is because once they master the skills required to carry out tasks, there is little or no room for growth. Workplace boredom is prevalent in the US market. According to a survey conducted in 2015, at least 54% of Americans are not excited by the jobs they currently hold. For most respondents, boredom in the workplace resulted from various factors which included repetitive tasks and disconnection from the company. In a different survey, Gallup found that employee engagement in the workplace remains very low.
Statistics of this survey showed that 87% of employees across the globe remain disengaged. At the same time, only 30% of millennial employees are engaged in the workplace. To avoid boredom and keep employees engaged, companies should explore ways of providing employees with frequent opportunities to undertake assignments that present new challenges to them, including temporarily holding leadership positions. This will help drive motivation and enhance their engagement.
One way to identify workplace boredom and structure employee engagement opportunities is by conducting surveys. When developing an employee survey, ask your employees to share new skills they would like to learn in the workplace. This information will enable you to take a proactive approach to reduce employee boredom in the workplace.
4. Provide deeper insight on different populations
The factors that enhance employee loyalty and retention differ from one population to another. This means that factors that are important to employees will mostly depend on where they are at in life. Employee surveys provide critical data that could give insight into what matters most to varying populations of employees in the workplace when the analysis is conducted by demographics.
Analyzing data related to employee engagement and exit across different demographics could help companies develop and implement customized employee retention strategies that are more effective. For instance, career growth and development opportunities are likely to rank highly in importance for millennials compared to their baby boomer counterparts. This means a retention strategy that integrates career pathing will work better for a company that seeks to retain millennials in the workplace than for baby boomers.
5. Facilitate quick feedback to employees
Reviewing employee performance annually poses the risk of delaying feedback and is one of the most ineffective ways of enhancing employee retention. Employees hate the idea of being subjected to annual performance appraisals because it represents a practice that could either have them fired or retained for another year. Contrary to annual reviews, 79% of modern day employees want to receive feedback immediately and 41% of millennial employees want this communication to be done digitally as opposed to face-to-face. Reducing employee feedback to an annual affair means that employees do not get an opportunity to address problems they may have early enough.
One way to address this gap is to gamify the feedback process and create an interesting communication cycle that advances positive feedback for achieving key milestones. Companies can close the feedback loop real time using survey software. This is important because though millennials prefer informal working environments, they value feedback. In fact, 51% of them prefer frequent feedback while up to 80% of millennials want to be recognized on the spot as opposed to being subjected to formal reviews. By capturing employee thoughts on what needs to be changed, they can optimize every process, from product launches to sales training.
6. Reduce workplace stress
Different factors contribute to employee stress in the workplace - from job insecurity and lack of guidance to too much work, the list goes on. But a new stressor is slowing creeping to the workplace - and this is technology. There is no doubt technology presents solutions to many problems. In fact, employees who work in environments that have digital tools have 51% more job satisfaction. 43% are more upbeat about work-life balance and 60% are motivated to work compared to those with less access to technology in the workplace. At the same time, 73% of employees who use digital tools say technology has a positive effect on their productivity levels, with 70% citing improved collaboration.
But despite these benefits, companies have to invest time in finding technological solutions that work for employees without killing their productivity. Too many communication applications and tools can stress employees. At the same time, over-reliance on such tools can make the work environment cold. According to a survey conducted by CareerBuilder, at least 55% of employees in the workplace feel texting and cell phones are killing productivity while 26% feel that emails do. Administering employee surveys regularly can help companies identify communication solutions that work best for their teams.
Applying the right communication tools can help employees get clarity of what they should focus on, keep track of the changes that happen in the company and share or streamline workloads. This reduces work-related stress, which means more employee productivity in the long run. It also builds the confidence of staff, encouraging employee loyalty and retention.
The bottom line
Companies put a lot of effort into building the right teams, but rarely pay close attention to fostering employee loyalty and retention. In the modern work environment, innovation is critical to retaining talented staff. The best way to retain employees in your company is to ensure that you hire the correct people.
Technological advancements allow for efficient identification and recruitment of employees who fit the culture of organizations. Having a process that enables you to find and hire the right people, and an effective training program to bring them onboard, you are likely to retain talented employees in your company. Consider using technology to retain employees in your company. There are numerous ways to keep employees engaged out there, but you have to take on the opportunities as they become available. For any company to realize employee loyalty and retention, it must craft and customize its strategy then make a consistent and deliberate effort.