6 Tips for Employee Retention

Employee Retention

Are you struggling with a revolving door in your organization? As soon as you get one position filled, another one opens up. And no matter how many “great” hires you make, you just keep losing people. If so, it might be time to address your employee retention strategy.

It’s much easier to believe that the fault always falls on the employees, but when you have a situation repeat, there’s likely more at play. Here are a few ways that you can improve your employee retention rates:

1. Make the right hire

This may sound obvious, but employee retention starts during the talent acquisition process. Doing things like carefully crafting the job description and requirements influences who is brought through the interview process. Asking the right questions during the interview process helps to pull out the person right for the job from all the others who might be good fits but not great fits.

A common problem that happens during the process of filling a vacant position is that the entire process is too rushed. One study found that the average time it takes to hire a new person is 42 days. That’s a long time when you have a vacant role that needs to be filled. It means that others are having to pick up the slack of the work that isn’t being done by the missing role.

This can put pressure on the HR department to quickly hire for the role. However, making the wrong decision can cost the company time and money if it ends up being the wrong hire and the process needs to be repeated.

2. Remember that employee retention starts during orientation

There is a big difference between a company that puts a new employee through the steps of orientation and one that walks a company through orientation. Let me give you an example.

The first “real” job that I held was working in the office of a car dealership. I worked part-time and filled in most of the slots when the other office workers had already left for the day (and Saturdays when they didn’t want to work). I was briefly introduced to the salespeople and service department workers if they happened to come into the office during my training. And I wasn’t told where the breakroom was and I was shown only one time where I was supposed to clock in and out.

My orientation and training experience was horrible. And because of it, I didn’t really feel like I belonged as part of the organization. Now I stayed at the job for a year, largely because it was one of the best options for me at that time. But as soon as I could find something that fit me better, I left.

Now, compare that to when I started a different office job several years later.

At this organization, there was one individual assigned to train me for a few weeks. The first day was mostly spent getting comfortable with where things were located and being introduced to each person that worked in the company. The woman walked me around from one office to the next where each person took the time to meet me and ask me a few questions about myself. When lunchtime rolled around, I was treated to lunch with my manager where she spent the time connecting with me on a personal level instead of just a work level.

It didn’t take long for me to really feel like I was part of the team. I knew the people. I knew where to go to find things in the building. And it was much more of a team feel. I stayed with this company for 7 years and left only because I started a business with my husband.

When you have a new person coming on staff, you need to have a strong plan in place to help them become part of the team. Don’t wait for it to happen organically. Create the situations that need to take place in order for it to happen.

3. Provide real-time feedback

Another way to help boost employee retention is to provide feedback and correction to employees in real-time, it gives them the opportunity to make changes. When you wait for a 90-day review or annual evaluation, you’re robbing them of that chance. The longer you wait, the harder it is for employees to correct and change the unwanted behavior. You’re not giving them a fair chance.

Not only does it help them make the necessary changes faster to improve their productivity and quality of work, but employees want instant feedback. Research found that 74% of millennials didn’t like the feeling of not knowing what their managers thought of their work. And regardless of what generation you’re from, millennials are the largest generation right now making up the workforce.

4. Provide training and career development

Employees want you to invest in them. In past generations, there was a lot of loyalty between employers and employees. It’s not like that anymore. But one way you can help improve the loyalty of your employees is by investing in their development.

Provide them with training to help them further their career. This could be through leadership development training or specific career training. Some managers are leery of providing this type of training to their employees for fear that they will either leave or take their jobs, but allowing that fear to stand in the way can often lead to a decrease in employee retention. (And if you’re a leader that’s afraid of being replaced, you might benefit from leadership development training as well). )

5. Help them with work-life balance

My husband used to work for a company where the owner made the employees feel guilty for using their vacation time. They were given time but expected not to use it. The vast majority of workers there were unhappy. The ones that could improve their situations by leaving, did. The ones that stayed were there for the paycheck and not motivated to excel and do their best work.

Work-life balance is important. Burnout employees are not only more likely to leave your company but they aren’t very likely to be giving you their best work. And if you have burnt out employees, the problem tends to be with your company and not the employees themselves. In fact, Gallup research found that the top 5 reasons for burnout were:

  1. Unfair treatment at work
  2. Unmanageable workload
  3. Lack of role clarity
  4. Lack of communication and support from their manager
  5. Unreasonable time pressure

These are all things that you can take care of on the employer side or help your employees handle. For example, if the timeline is actually reasonable, but your employee doesn’t know how to manage their time, you can provide training to help.

6. Align their passion with a purpose

The happiest people are those who have their passion and purpose aligned. You may have employees that are passionate about their work, but if they don’t see the purpose of the work they’re doing, it will negatively impact them. The same is true if they understand their purpose but are in a position that they have no passion for.

One study found that it’s better to have purpose than passion if you have to choose, but the best case scenario is to get to know your employees enough that you can help place them in a position that will allow them to have both.

How SPEARity helps with employee retention

SPEARity is all about helping leaders overcome the obstacles to reaching a greater success. Here are some of the situations we help with:

  • You recently promoted an employee from within but they’re floundering in their new position. You know they have the potential, but it’s just not clicking.
  • A recent hire seemed like the perfect fit, but they’re struggling.
  • There’s a position that’s going to be opening in your organization and you have the perfect employee to promote but there is a skills gap that needs to be filled first.
  • You have someone that’s new to a leadership role and needs some guidance so they can excel.
  • There’s a breakdown in communication and employees seem unmotivated and productivity is suffering.

These are just a few of the situations that Milwaukee-based SPEARity coaches are able to help your organization address and overcome. If you want to see how our coaches can work with your team, schedule a call today to discuss your specific situation.

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