4 Employee Retention Tactics That Actually Work

Employee retention is on the mind of every human resources professional. While the job market may finally be settling down a bit and the great resignation isn’t as great as it once was, it’s still important to keep your employees working and your business running.

If you’re unable to retain employees, what happens? First of all, you lose out on valuable weeks of work where you don’t have a trained employee performing a duty. Secondly, you need to spend time and money recruiting a new candidate, which still isn’t easy in the market. Then, you need to take time to onboard that employee, which could take anywhere from a day or two to months. This all adds up to a huge hassle but it can be avoided if you’re able to keep your employees happy at work. Each month, between 3 and 5 million employees in the US quit their jobs (source). It’s important to make sure your business is able to hold onto its greatest asset: its workforce.

But employee retention doesn’t have to be that complicated. In fact, it actually comes down a few basic tactics that almost anyone can implement. Here are four employee retention tactics that actually work, so you can spend less time recruiting and more time serving your customers.

Offer a Competitive Salary and Benefits Package

If it seems obvious, that’s because it is: if you pay your employees well, they’re more likely to stick around. Employees want to be paid what they feel they’re worth, and if you’re able to demonstrate that you value their work through their paycheck, they’ll have less incentive to look for employment elsewhere. But an employee’s paycheck isn’t their only form of compensation. Take a look at your Paid Time Off and health insurance packages as well. Are you offering your employees competitive benefits like mental healthcare or bereavement leave? Small additions like that can make an enormous difference for your employees.

Paying your workers higher than the rest of your industry is going to affect your bottom line, no doubt about it. But so is constantly having to recruit new employees, or dealing with the onboarding and training that comes as a result. You can pay now, and have smooth operations, or you can pay later, with a lot more hiccups.

Allow Flexibility For a Better Work/Life Balance

Employees don’t want to feel like work is their entire life. You obviously want your workforce to be dedicated to their jobs and to give their very best. But if employees don’t have a life outside of work, they’re quickly going to get burned out, and that burnout could very well lead to them looking for employment elsewhere. The best way to assist your employees in their work/life balance? Flexibility. You don’t need to implement an entirely virtual workforce to be able to offer your employees some flexibility. It could be anything from flex holiday days (your non-religious employees may be happy to work on Christmas and take more time off in the summer, for instance) to offering one day a week for remote work.

Even just making sure your employees know they’re allowed to occasionally dip out early to make their daughter’s ballet recital can go a long way in terms of helping them feel like human beings instead of cogs in a machine. The more you can help employees understand that their life outside of the office is important to you, the happier they’ll be to show up to work, and the longer they’ll stay under your roof instead of your competitor’s.

Encourage and Appreciate Your Employees

Everyone wants to feel appreciated, and your employees are no exception. When an employee really knocks a project out of the park, how do you recognize them and celebrate it? Furthermore, what avenues do employees have to celebrate one another? Your workforce may often notice things among one another that management doesn’t see, and there should be some kind of system in place for employees to celebrate each other. Whether it’s awards at your quarterly meeting, end-of-the-year bonuses, or a simple meeting to recognize and congratulate someone on a job well done, make sure there are official opportunities for employees to be uplifted.

However, you should also have a culture of appreciation. Not everything needs to be a routine or ritual. Are your employees used to being thanked when they complete tasks? Do your managers have weekly one-on-ones with their teams where they could point out something someone did well? Encouragement and appreciation should flow through all interactions in your company, whether big or small. If employees feel that their work is seen and that they’re likely to be missed, they’ll be more motivated to stay and do their job well instead of jumping ship. They’ll understand their role in the company and see people counting on them to perform it.

Replace Bad Conflict With Good Conflict

Many employees—and employers!—are afraid of conflict. But conflict isn’t necessarily a bad thing. There is bad conflict: conflict that’s personal in nature and is pressed down for so long that it finally erupts. The only way to prevent bad conflict is actually with good conflict. Good conflict embraces vulnerability, desires creative collaboration, and makes space for multiple viewpoints so that employees can learn from one another and help each other become the best they can be. If employees are able to be open with one another, with management, and with human resources—even and especially when that means good conflict—bad conflict won’t have the chance to fester and explode.

By replacing bad conflict with an environment where good conflict can flourish, you’ll avoid a toxic workplace. Nobody wants to be part of a toxic workplace, and by helping your business be one of creativity and compassion, your employees will be happy to keep working for you instead of sending out resumes. Don’t be afraid of conflict; just make sure it’s the good kind.

Claire Swinarski is a Contributing Editor at HR Daily Advisor.

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