In a competitive marketplace, companies are recognizing the need to reduce turnover through effective employee retention strategies. Acquiring and aligning the best talent is essential to their success, and that means selecting the right people for the right job. Not as simple as it sounds.
To get the best return on their investment in hiring, organizations must retain employees by keeping them motivated and happy. The following tips from AMA’s Fundamentals of Human Resources Management seminar can help employers to build retention.
What’s fueling employee retention programs?
To improve employee retention, you need to understand what causes employee turnover. Many times, it’s because the employer has failed to meet certain needs. When the playing field is even economically speaking and employees feel secure enough about the job market to seek out new opportunities, they reportedly leave their jobs because one or more of these factors are missing:
- Adequate supervision
- Belief in the organization’s values
- Boss available as a resource
- Challenging work
- Commitment to work/life balance
- Feeling part of the company
- Flexible work schedules
- Fun and interesting work
- Good fit with their leader
- Growth opportunities
- Ideas valued
- Strong company branding image
- Sufficient guidance or instruction
- Sufficient training
- Technological capabilities
Notice that none of these factors is related to money or benefits.
Key elements of employee retention strategies
To remain competitive, organizations must focus on employee retention strategies as one of their most critical business objectives. Common elements of employee retention programs include the following:
- Unique rewards and means of recognition, many of which are cost-free or cost-effective
- Performance management programs that align employee and business goals
- Coaching and mentoring for career growth and development
- Ongoing training and educational opportunities
- Positive feedback
- Innovative work environments
Implementing employee retention strategies
Your employee retention strategy should also help to create a retention environment. This is done by fostering a culture with the following elements:
Sense of purpose. Employees favor companies in which they feel connected to the product, the corporate mission, or the overall vision of the business.
Diversity and inclusion. Diverse work environments are places where employees feel their differences are nurtured and appreciated, not just tolerated. Employees are encouraged to perform, not conform, and individuality is cherished.
Participatory management. Companies that encourage participatory management recognize that employees often have the best ideas for accomplishing a task, so it’s counterproductive to tell them what to do.
Learning environment. Companies that promise lifelong learning encourage their employees to leave work at the end of each day knowing more than they did at the start.
Some of the best employee retention strategies include:
- A “people” survey that allows employees to share their thoughts on working at the organization with leadership and HR
- Focus groups (perhaps facilitated by HR) to determine how happy employees are and how the company can improve
- Exit interviews to find out why people are leaving
Again, you don’t need to throw money at employees to make them happy. In fact, a financial solution will only work in the short term. For the long run, organizations need to implement an appropriate employee retention strategy to keep resignations low, morale high, and employees satisfied.
New HR managers and other leaders need a solid understanding of skills related to talent acquisition, assessment, development, retention, and measurement.