Employee retention: how do you keep top talent happy?
The Great Resignation is wreaking havoc across the UK, so unsurprisingly, many businesses have had to set their focus on recruiting new talent.
However, recruitment is only one piece of the puzzle to tackle the current talent shortage, with employee retention playing an equally important role.
To ensure your business doesn’t lose as many people as it recruits, we’ve examined employee retention, the current challenges and how you can keep your staff happy.
What is employee retention and why is it important?
In essence, employee retention is keeping current staff at your business.
Retention is crucial, especially as high staff turnover harms morale, capacity and productivity.
Think of retention and recruitment this way: if a bowl leaks, no matter how much water you keep pouring in, it will never fill up.
This thought process translates to businesses – if something is fundamentally wrong in your workplace, employees will continue to leave, subsequently making any recruitment redundant.
Why has employee retention become such a challenge?
While there are no set points that impact every business, I’ve noticed a few repeating factors affecting labour turnover.
1) Talent poaching
Now competitors and recruiters can go on your company page, search your employees and send direct messages to any people that they’re interested in poaching.
While a happy employee will dismiss these messages, if someone is feeling disgruntled with their company, they’re likely to take interest.
2) Re-evaluating priorities
With the pandemic completely shifting people's priorities, many have used the last two years to re-evaluate their lives and subsequently re-think their careers.
Whether that’s taking early retirement (like we’ve seen in the logistics sector), career changes or starting something independently, all have resulted in heaps of talent leaving businesses.
3) Dissatisfaction with treatment during the pandemic
A contributor to The Great Resignation has been employee dissatisfaction regarding how they were treated during the pandemic.
Employees in industries that faced massive hardship, such as leisure and hospitality, have in some cases, felt unfairly treated.
As result, many of these dissatisfied employees have left their roles in search of new employment.
How do you maintain employee retention?
To maintain high levels of employee retention, below are a few steps you can take to ensure you’re offering staff the best possible experience.
Showing people that they’re valued is fundamental to ensuring employee retention – especially now that so much of the workforce is remote.
Gone are the days of walking over to someone’s desk and providing a pat on the back for a job well done; now we’re working in an increasingly digital world, businesses need to adapt how employees are recognised.
To ensure employees feel acknowledged, consider the following:
- Shout-outs in company-wide emails
- Verbally praising employees during virtual meetings
- Hold business awards that celebrate your people
- Send hard workers a direct message or email praising them
- Post small gifts such as flowers or chocolates
Address department-specific churn
Does a specific department in your business face frequent staff turnover? High churn is often a direct relation to how staff are being managed.
So, if you’re losing talent in a particular area, you may need to help managers, providing them with training on people management.
Perhaps looking after a hybrid workforce is new to them, or they may be lacking certain people skills – by providing managers with training, you can often tackle turnover rates directly at the source.
Hire from within
Due to The Great Resignation, many businesses have gaps in their teams.
Rather than looking for new talent, I advise that you first consider your current employees and look to promote from within your business.
Be open and honest about available vacancies, share them internally and allow/encourage employees to apply.
While you may believe someone isn’t right for a role, it’s crucial nonetheless to discuss the opportunity if they think they’re ready.
Invest in your people
A recent study found that training and development are often ranked as one of the most important parts of a job.
So, if you’re not in a position to offer employees salary increases or promotions, consider offering them the opportunity to learn new skills and take their current role to the next level.
Understand each person
People are complex, with their own goals, aspirations, worries and concerns.
While tools such as company-wide pulse surveys are handy for gauging a quick overview of your workforce, I encourage managers to drill down into their teams.
By understanding employees on a deeper level, you can address issues within your business much more effectively while also amplifying the positive aspects.
Ensure your employee benefits are competitive
How do your employee benefits stack up against competitors?
As the employment landscape is currently so chaotic, you must ensure the benefits you offer remain enticing; consider offering the following benefits:
- Cycle to work schemes
- Hybrid working
- Flexible hours
- Employee discounts and rewards
- Wellness programs
- Performance bonuses
- Gym memberships
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