No one likes losing employees. When a person leaves, it costs time, money and delivers a massive blow to company morale. In fact, SHRM reported that every time a company loses one of its people, it costs about one-third of that employee’s annual salary to replace them.
It’s no wonder that 87% of companies agree that increasing employee retention is critical to their company’s ongoing strategy. However, maximizing employee retention is no easy feat.
Your Wellness Program Doesn’t Work
Let’s face facts. There’s been a 33% decline in mental health and well-being among employees since the beginning of the pandemic. 60% of companies are unsure how to support employees in a flexible environment, and two in five employees plan to leave their current role due to how they feel their employers handled the pandemic.
The status quo isn’t working, and it’s a direct result of how people are being treated.
For companies seeking to increase employee retention, these 20 strategies are an excellent place to start.
20 Proven Ways to Retain Employees
1. Streamline the Onboarding Process
An employee’s potential for success and long-term retention starts during the onboarding and training process. However, this process is often rushed or ill-conceived, leaving people unequipped to thrive.
Positive training and onboarding experiences provide people with the tools and knowledge they need to flourish, and it can boost retention rates up to 82%.
Businesses should focus on streamlining their orientation experience to ensure that every new employee gets a thorough and accurate introduction to company expectations, procedures and culture.
2. Consider a Mentorship Program
Companies that offer a mentorship program have seen their retention rates increase by as much as 50%. Matching new employees with mentors is an excellent way to help new team members navigate and adjust to their role in the organization.
Mentoring programs help new team members learn and bond with veteran employees, while the veterans become invested in their new coworkers. The goal is to provide new employees with a long-term confidant who can help them throughout their tenure without fear of negative repercussions.
As a bonus, this helps build team camaraderie and cultivate a culture where people genuinely care about one another. Organizations with people-centric cultures inspire loyalty.
3. Offer Competitive Compensation
There’s one thing that Baby Boomers, Gen Xers and Millennials can all agree on — salaries are crucial. Inadequate pay is the primary reason 70% of people leave their jobs.
Sometimes the best strategy is the most straightforward. When possible, companies should offer competitive hourly wages and salaries to recruit the highest quality team members and show their people that they’re valued.
4. Provide Necessary Benefits
Once their baseline salary needs are met, most people want more benefits. More than 80% of employees would rather have better benefits than extra pay.
Most top-level employees actively search for fundamental and traditional benefits like health insurance, life insurance, dental and vision, and disability insurance as part of their compensation package to consider staying with a company long-term.
5. Offer Lifestyle Benefits
Beyond basic benefits, many employees are also actively seeking companies that offer lifestyle benefits. In fact, 68% of employees agree that lifestyle benefits are just as important as traditional benefits when determining their longevity with an organization.
Lifestyle benefits include free snacks, extra days off, discounts, bonuses, gym memberships, subscription services, tuition reimbursements, monthly coffee or gas budgets and more. The inclusion of lifestyle benefits attracts high-quality people and keeps them happy, motivated and thriving.
No one is literally thinking, “If I leave this job, I won’t be able to afford Netflix.” However, if a company offers benefits that support its employees’ lifestyles, it also recognizes that they have a life outside of work.
6. Establish Development Opportunities
70% of employees think about leaving their job because of a lack of development opportunities. 82% report that they will find new employment if there isn’t a clear and progressive career path within an organization.
The average millennial switches jobs every two to six years because it’s often easier to find a higher position with a new organization than to grow within their current company.
Most people want to grow as both humans and professionals, so they seek companies that invest in their employees by offering on-the-job development, education and advancement opportunities. If an organization wants to maximize retention, it should focus on providing employees with opportunities for development and career growth.
7. Give Consistent Feedback and Recognition
Almost 50% of employees say they will leave a company if they don’t feel appreciated for their work. If they’re working hard and producing stellar results, they want their bosses to notice. Conversely, if they’re underperforming, they also want the opportunity to remedy their shortcomings.
How much positive and negative feedback should leaders give their teams? According to Harvard Business Review, supervisors should aim for a positive-to-constructive feedback ratio of 5.6 (positive) to 1 (constructive) to make employees feel recognized and help them improve.
8. Think About Work-Life Balance
An increasing number of employees want a healthy work-life balance. In fact, nearly 60% of millennials agree that a work-life balance is particularly important for them in a long-term employer.
Companies should avoid encouraging around-the-clock availability and long work hours. The Silicon Valley-inspired, hustle-harder mentality is crippling and demotivating for most people. Telling people to always be available sends a message that the company doesn’t care about their life outside of work.
For many employees, that’s a clear warning sign, and it will likely result in them looking for another organization to call home. Instead of pushing for longer days and even longer nights, organizations should consider setting email cut-off times and discourage working late. They should look for other ways to promote a sustainable and healthy work-life balance for their team.
9. Allow Flexible Working Arrangements
Nearly 80% of employees want a flexible work environment. These arrangements can mean offering extra time off or allowing flexible schedules. Simply offering a work-from-home option can reduce turnover rates by 25%.
Sometimes flexibility is as simple as letting employees listen to music while they work or wear casual clothing. Companies should look at their internal policies to see where they can loosen their restrictions and give their people more flexibility.
10. Foster a Culture of Teamwork
It’s no secret that when employees support each other, morale is higher. Higher morale means better job satisfaction and increased retention rates. Teamwork also fosters creativity, boosts productivity and builds a sense of community.
37% of employees say that “working with a great team” is the main reason they stay with their current company. 54% of people admitted they stayed with companies longer than they should have because the sense of community and teamwork was so strong.
In other words, promoting and fostering a culture of teamwork is a proven-effective strategy for maximizing employee retention.
11. Encourage Meaningful Connections Between Co-Workers
Aside from fostering a teamwork culture, companies should encourage their employees to make meaningful connections with each other. People with close friendships at work are seven times more likely to be satisfied, engaged and productive in their jobs.
One way to accomplish this is by incorporating a peer recognition program. Companies that added methods for peer recognition had 28% higher retention rates than companies that didn’t.
12. Promote Creativity and Innovation
Allowing people to be creative, innovative and think outside the box shows employees that their opinions and ideas matter. Moreover, fostering employee creativity is also a fantastic way to promote company growth.
Google’s former 20% program allowed employees to spend 20% of their work time working on side projects. The employees felt like Google invested in them, which led to the development of many of Google’s staple products, including Gmail, AdSense, Google News and more.
Promoting creativity helps keep employees engaged and invested in the company’s long-term goals. Organizations should look for ways to support creativity and problem-solving and encourage their employees to think like innovators.
13. Earn Your Employees’ Trust Through Transparency
People need to know their organization will take care of them when times get hard. They need to know that their company won’t fire them unjustifiably or make irresponsible business decisions. Ultimately, people just want to feel secure, and that starts with transparent and open communication.
Trust is extremely important for the modern employee: 46% of employees consider leaving their employer because of a lack of transparent communication.
If an organization wants to maximize retention, they have to focus on earning the trust of their employees. This starts at the top, so executives should communicate company goals as clearly as possible and promote honest communication on every level.
14. Implement Gradual Changes Instead of Hasty Ones
Change is inevitable, especially in business. If companies have to make changes, they should do it gradually rather than all at once. Abrupt shifts can have a negative impact on morale and cause even veteran employees to leave.
Given enough time, any employee can acclimate to change, but if a company wants to improve retention and keep their people, they should implement measured and deliberate transitions rather than hasty ones.
15. Ask for Feedback about Executives and Supervisors
50% of employees leave because of a supervisor. One poor leader can result in an excessive amount of turnover. Unfortunately, identifying problematic leaders can be challenging. Underperforming managers often behave much differently in front of their superiors than their subordinates.
For that reason, companies should ask for regular anonymous feedback from their employees regarding supervisors. However, companies need to be sure they’re ready to listen and implement employee feedback. Not listening to their people can diminish overall trust in the company’s leadership and do more harm than not asking in the first place.
16. Make Rest and Time-Off Required
Burnout is to blame for up to half of all yearly turnover. Yet, so many companies are built on a hustle mentality that forces people to burn the candle at both ends. For instance, at least one-third of employees don’t even take a lunch break. They just eat lunch at their desk and keep moving forward.
To maximize retention and keep people from burning out, companies should make time-off and breaks required. They should encourage their employees to take lunch breaks and not respond to emails after hours. There should always be enough team members to cover shifts and provide breaks, because even the most skilled workers need time to rest.
17. Provide All the Necessary Tools for Success and Growth
Employees want companies to provide them with the tools they need to thrive. There’s too much technology available for people to waste their time and talent on menial busywork.
Why? Because it’s demoralizing for employees to feel like they spend most of their day doing tedious tasks rather than activating their skillset. It can make them feel unappreciated and undervalued, and, ultimately, it can cause them to look for a new place to work.
Companies should invest in the latest technology, tools and software. This will not only make employees happier, but it will also aid in productivity.
18. Hire the Right People
It doesn’t matter how many strategies a company has in place. If an organization doesn’t hire the right team members, it will continually struggle with turnover and retention. When focusing on retention, companies must put a microscope on the recruitment and hiring process to ensure the right people join their team.
Don’t hire people for what they know. Hire them for what they can learn. Companies need people who are willing and able to learn a broad range of skills, and employees need companies that will allow them the time and space to cultivate those skills.
Recruiters should look for people who have longevity in their past work experience and prioritize soft skills and cultural fits over hard skills that can be taught later down the road. Skilled and personable people who will vibe with the team dynamic should be given priority.
19. Focus on Engagement
43% of people report being bored in their current positions. These employees feel like their company isn’t utilizing their talents, and there aren’t enough opportunities to hone or learn new skills. Once employees are disengaged, they often leave to find companies that will spark their interest and employ their strengths.
To retain top talent, companies should focus on increasing employee engagement through development opportunities. They should provide plenty of chances for team members to use their skills on the job.
Engagement can be one of those mythical HR buzzwords, but it boils down to making sure people are being challenged and recognized for what they bring to a work environment. Employees who are allowed to engage with and activate their attributes will feel seen by their supervisors, invested in their work and be much more likely to stick around.
20. Provide a Custom Fringe Benefit Program
Another way to maintain top talent is to offer a customized fringe benefits program. It allows employees to choose lifestyle benefits that fit their unique needs. With customized benefits, employees feel valued, compensated and acknowledged by their companies in a meaningful and lasting way.
Fringe specializes in customizable lifestyle benefits. Companies give their employees points as part of their tailored compensation package or for recognition, special occasions and more. Employees can use these points to choose the benefits that will have the most significant impact on their lives.
Traditional benefits and “perks programs” are benefit models that represent a direct correlation between effort and reward. With customized lifestyle benefits, companies can show consistent care for their employees, which ultimately builds value and trust. It’s a terrific way to keep employees engaged and happy in the long term.