The classic work / life model of working for one company from the beginning of one’s career into retirement with a healthy pension plan is a rarity these days, and it has been for quite some time. This is due to many factors, as business sectors are increasingly competing to lure and acquire top talent to their teams. There are also personal factors that come into play with employee retention, as individuals continually look for opportunities to learn and grow consistently during their career. We humans have an endless thirst for knowledge and progress.
While money and compensation are fundamental elements of employment, they are not the end all be all of someone’s motivation for work. If they are, then they are arguably not the best type of employee you want in your organization. Also, if they are primarily motivated by money, then they will probably leave your company as soon as they find a better paying opportunity. Their motivation is rather predictable.
In order to mitigate people jumping ship and leaving your company for different, or perhaps even better, opportunities there are several motivational and psychological tactics that can be implemented. Motivation is broken down into two primary categories, faith and fear. Do you wish to inspire people in your company or hold their feet against the fire of uncertainty?
Employee retention strategies begin at the hiring process, and require a continuous, conscious effort to address the personal and professional needs of each employee.
1. Illustrate Your Company Culture - Employee Purpose
We have said this before, and we will most likely mention it many times over still, but it is absolutely essential to illustrate the direction of your company culture, because it serves as The Ten Commandments for how you want to run your business. However, more importantly, it defines the values for potential employees to feel emotionally connected to your professional efforts.
This emotional connection allows for a more profound connection to the workplace, beyond the daily tasks. It is the way to give an employee purpose, and plant deeper roots as a commitment to the endeavors and ultimate success of the business.
2. Define & Refine the Hiring Process
First and foremost, the hiring process is simplified when the values of the company are defined, because you already have a set rubric of characteristics to look for with candidates.
From there, having a defined and refined hiring process maximizes the potential of picking the right people for your company not just for the tangible responsibilities that are encompassed in the job, but also for the intangible assets that make the difference between a good employee and a fantastic employee.
Picking the right candidates from the very beginning can mitigate the possibility of quick turnover, and ultimately inefficiencies, because you won’t have to rehire, retrain, and reincorporate new people into your team.
3. Offer Candidates / Employees Competitive Wages & Benefits
This one is pretty darn simple. If you want to recruit great people and keep them on your team, you have to provide a stable / competitive compensation. You can’t expect to compete with keeping great workers without having a conscious plan to help them grow professionally as well as personally.
We did state that money is not the end all be all of hiring and employment in the intro of this retention strategies article, but that doesn’t mean that it is not a very important factor to keep in mind when it comes to employees.
4. Encourage & Cultivate Your Talent - Employee Voice
People are intrinsically motivated by personal evolution. They want to feel like they are learning and adding more skills to their arsenal consistently. Given that this is such an important factor to individuals, companies should have a plan for growth and development of their employees.
Of course, you don’t want to have someone bite off more than they can chew, but there should be a gradual incorporation process and promotional / educational steps in place that allow someone to feel like they are progressing on a consistent basis.
5. Team-Building to Increase Camaraderie - Employee Relationships
While people get to know one another naturally by working with one another on a daily basis, the behavior and socializing that takes place at work is generally professional, with limited correspondence about personal life. It’s not time to kick back and discuss life’s happenings, generally. This is why companies incorporate activities, such as escape rooms, bowling nights, and things of that nature to facilitate socializing and getting to know fellow coworkers more personally, outside of the usual work environment.
An important note regarding out-of-office activities is that if they are planned during the evening or weekend, that can take employees away from their personal time, which can have adverse effects on team morale, enthusiasm, etc. Therefore, it is important to be aware of that, and if possible use a “company day” to promote this sort of team-building strategy.
Team-building goes a long way to enhancing production in the long run, because it allows employee relationships to start and flourish. It also allows people to feel more comfortable with their peers and open up / address issues that may arise at work with a more personal, empathetic touch.
6. Employ Motivational Tactics for Employees
Motivation comes in many forms. It’s important to illustrate that the motivational tactics we are alluding to are NOT the type of incentivizing people as if they were children. “Hey, if you behave yourself, you’ll get candy.” We are not potty training here, after all.
Motivational tactics don’t have to be so illicit. They can be implemented in more subtle ways, such with the work schedule. Some companies take half days on Fridays, for example. This motivates people by rewarding them with a longer weekend, and they also view time at the office as more valuable from Monday - Thursday. Friday morning can be used for following up / tying up loose ends before the weekend.
7. Implement Open Feedback from Managers to Employees and Vice-Versa
Constructive criticism and honesty are the best mechanisms for improving the work environment and creating a better ecosystem for everyone. If the employee voice is strong in a company, there is more fluidity when it comes to presenting ideas that may potentially benefit the business overall. Moreover, when there are issues they can be resolved more directly without a festering cancer of whispers and hearsay.
Having open channels of communication, particularly when it comes to sharing thoughts and concepts that are important lead to overall comfort at the workplace and ultimately production for the team as a whole.
Employee Retention Strategies Conclusion
All of these concepts are meant to cultivate the individuals who call your business home, and they are tactics for evolving their talents. All of these employee retention strategies can be implemented to greater or lesser extents, but making a conscious effort to apply them to your business operations can have a lasting impact for the betterment of your business, and more importantly the individuals who contribute to the daily endeavors and the overall, collective success of the organization.