4 Ways to Increase Employee Retention

In the 2018 SHRM/Globoforce Employee Recognition Report, employee retention and turnover ranked as the top workforce management challenge for the third consecutive year.

So how do you solve this challenge? By keeping employees engaged and happy. As Forbes notes, “Driving employee engagement has been at the forefront of effective management for decades, but now more than ever, it is central to employee attraction and retention.”

This may seem obvious, but the happier your employees, the less likely they’ll be to entertain recruiter outreach or actively search for a new role.

But therein lies the question: How do you keep your employees happy?

In today’s market, tech talent is scarce and intensely recruited, which is why when you do find those perfect candidates and bring them on board, it’s essential you keep them by keeping them happy.

So how do you start?

Take Your Company’s Temperature

Your first step down the path of higher retention rates is to see where your company currently stands. Measure employee engagement to see in which areas you can improve.

This type of temperature check can be carried out by means of:

  • Employee surveys
  • Weekly or monthly one-on-one meetings
  • Open feedback policies/submissions

Be prepared: You might hear some things you don’t want to or didn’t expect. Don’t get defensive or try to justify any shortcomings; instead, focus on the following…

Prioritize Employee Development

Make sure your employees have a clear career path ahead of them at your company. Communication about this should start as early as onboarding.

During the onboarding process, ask the new employee where s/he would like to be within your company in two, five, and ten years. This is especially true for younger employees, as a recent survey by Ladders Inc. found that 80% of millennials wanted a promotion within the first two years at a company.

Also ask the team member if s/he would be interested in reskilling in order to take on a new role in the future. This is an especially important question given the fact that approximately 14% of the global workforce may need to switch occupational categories by 2030 due to automation, digitization, and advances in AI.

It’s also essential to create an internal talent pool. This can be an internal marketplace where employees can view current job openings as well as access reskilling programs, and in-house recruiters can see which internal candidates might be a good fit for open positions.

Focus on the Employee Experience

Next, use the feedback you received from your ‘temperature check’ to determine what you can invest in to improve your employee’s overall experience

For example, was technology an issue for some respondents? If so, it might be time to get rid of outdated workplace technology and invest in tools and apps that employees are already using to make their personal lives easier. 

Was ‘communication problems’ included in feedback? Then why not try to streamline overall company communication using Slack and project management using Asana or similar tools. You might be surprised how the implementation of a simple tool can greatly impact the employee experience.

Trust and Empower Employees

In their report, SHRM/Globoforce notes that if employees don’t feel autonomous and trusted, they’re more likely to leave. That’s why it’s important to demonstrate that you trust your employees and empower them to make decisions on their own. This sweet spot exists in between two areas you want to avoid: micro-management and neglect. Finding a happy medium where you can direct and empower team members, but not hold their hands, will make them feel essential to the organization.