Nine Tips to Boost Employee Retention

Turnover continues to be a problem in this funky marketplace

 By Daniel Abramson, HRSource

Right now we’re all concerned about employee attrition and turnover.

Some industries, like retail, tend to have higher turnover rate than others, but HR departments everywhere are troubled by the number of people who leave their jobs by choice or otherwise. Leaving voluntarily can mean people are not satisfied with some aspect of their employment, whether it’s their role, compensation or work environment. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the voluntary turnover rate was 25% in 2022, and 57% of workers presently have their “ear to the ground” and are passively looking for a new job.

What’s more, burnout from work is experienced by 74% of employees, the agency said, and only 32% of employees are satisfied with their positions and role.

Leaving involuntarily often indicates deeper systemic issues. People may be unclear about the expectations of their job. There may be poor communication with management, insufficient staff to do the job or just a mismatch in the hiring process. 

Although attrition occurs in any business, a revolving door of employees is a red flag. The good news is that two-thirds of employee departures are preventable. Here are nine tips to help slow the outflow: 

1. Make smart hiring decisions on the front end.

Hiring the right people is more difficult than it sounds. Leaders should not only assess whether candidates are a good fit in terms of skill set and experience, but should also consider culture, personality, values and soft skills, which together form their emotional quotient, or EQ. Remember, you need to hire on attitude and teach technique.

2. Tighten the bolts on your onboarding process.

Your onboarding process should include the following to help set employees up for success: 

  • The duties and responsibilities of the job, clearly stated
  • Clarifying expectations and KPI’s (key performance indicators)
  • Describing the company culture.
  • Explaining policies and procedures

3. Provide competitive pay.

Let’s face it, if you can’t offer fair, competitive pay that’s on par with industry benchmarks, your ability to attract and retain top talent is weakened. Employees need to be appreciated for their work, and a big part of that is compensation. Validate salary guidelines by checking www.salary.com.

NOTE: In speaking with BrandSource owners, I have found that many salary structures have not changed since COVID (!) and that the old pay structure isn’t working.

4. Provide desirable benefits.

Perks are another way, outside of compensation, to show your appreciation for employees and to get them to stay. Almost 20% of workers say they would stay with their present organization if offered better benefits. 

5. Prioritize culture and connection.

Put your work aside and be available to connect and build relationships with your people, because at the end of the day, your people are the business. Employees want and need to be in the know, to feel connected, and to do their jobs well. Managers should regularly connect with employees to address roadblocks, answer questions and discuss future career goals.

6. Provide recognition; catch people doing things right.

Recognition helps employees feel appreciated and valued for their efforts. If an employee goes above and beyond and doesn’t receive recognition for it, they may lack motivation to keep up the hard work. Your employees need validation. Without it, feelings of low engagement may surface that can lead to turnover. Hand out Starbucks or Dunkin gift cards for a job well done or for going above and beyond (“Thanks a latte”).

 7. Create a culture of employee listening.

Listening to your employees should be an ongoing process within your organization. The insights that your team members have can give you the tools to take strategic, evidence-based action and improve the employee experience. 

8. Modify your thinking on performance reviews.

The annual performance review is a thing of the past. Disjointed and disengaging performance practices actively drive disconnection and turnover. Employees need aligned goals and ongoing coaching, feedback and recognition to stay connected and perform at their best. (See the two previous tips.) This is particularly true for Gen Y’ers. 

9. Use exit surveys. 

Exit surveys help owners understand the reasons why employees leave. This way, they can use real data points to take steps toward retention and close any gaps.  

Need help or want to discuss further? Give me a call.

Daniel Abramson is managing lead of HRSource, a comprehensive collection of customized employment tools and turnkey solutions exclusive to BrandSource members. Contact Daniel at (540) 535-8484 or dabramson84@gmail.com.

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