5 essential employee retention tips

Recognize great work, prioritize a meaningful onboarding experience, and create an environment conducive to career advancement.

5 employee retention tips

It is every manager’s nightmare when a star employee quits unexpectedly.

You’re suddenly forced to fill a position, and it’s costly to recruit and train a replacement.

Beyond cash concerns, employees might quit for a multitude of reasons, including:

  • The job or workplace is not what they expected.
  • It was a mismatch between the job and person.
  • There was too little coaching and feedback.
  • There were too few growth and advancement opportunities.
  • Employees felt undervalued and unrecognized.
  • There’s a work/life imbalance.
  • There was a loss of trust and confidence in senior leaders.

Of course, pay, benefits and a healthy work environment are essential to keeping your best workers happy, but there are many other crucial retention factors to consider. Keep these five in mind:

1. Prioritize employee onboarding.

Instead of merely hoping new people hit the ground running, set your hires up for success.

Aim to develop an interactive, meaningful onboarding program that deals with job orientation and in-depth company culture indoctrination. Make sure each new employee understands how he or she will contribute toward substantive company goals and objectives.

If possible, appoint an affable, helpful person that each newcomer can go to for any questions or concerns. Follow up with new hires frequently to see how they are settling in.

Your onboarding experience sets the tone for an employee’s expectations. Are your onboarding efforts half-hearted, listless and impersonal, or are they useful, personalized and genuine? Workers can tell straight away, and they will judge the company accordingly.

2. Recognize great work.

Who doesn’t like to be recognized for a job well done?

Many companies motivate employees with sales goals or monthly targets. That’s fine, but try to come up with ways to recognize workers who show up, work hard, maintain a positive attitude and contribute to a positive work environment. Honor those who toil behind the scenes, and celebrate successes, big and small.

It doesn’t have to be cash or an elaborate award. A simple “thank you” email from a top executive can do wonders for morale, and a handwritten note can transform a career.

3. Strive to provide a healthy work/life balance. 

Is your workplace reminiscent of a “churn and burn” factory, where only the most ruthless survive?

Obsession with excellence doesn’t mean you have to create a culture ruled by fear, stress or unrealistic expectations. Encourage your employees to take vacation time, and if staffers must work late to finish a project, compensate them with time off at a later date. Create a culture driven by empathy, compassion and understanding. Encourage people to have a life outside work.

Whenever possible, offer flexible scheduling. This is an easy way to boost employee engagement and elevate morale. When your team members are well rested and have adequate time to care for themselves and their families, they will perform better at work.

4. Offer benefits that truly matter.

Beyond all the big, expensive stuff, such as insurance and health care, offer items that truly serve your employees’ needs, such as child care, gym memberships or travel expenses.

Focus on saving your employees money, and offer benefits that solve major hassles or headaches.

5. Forge genuine connections. 

When your workers feel connected with one another, they’re more likely to stick around. Relationships boost retention.

Also, allow ample time and space for workers to express ideas, and provide plenty of opportunities for growth, learning and development. Build rapport by regularly soliciting feedback, and increase trust by implementing employees’ ideas.

Whenever, however and wherever you can, strive to build meaningful connections in the workplace. Create an environment where genuine relationships can emerge and thrive.

Joanne McDonagh is head of digital marketing for Rezoomo. A version of this post first ran on the Rezoomo blog.


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