The economy is slowly recovering, which means employers who have abandoned trying to keep a company going because their employees have nowhere else to go should start to worry.
Employee retention is always important for business. Turnover was expensive, and some businesses built a reputation for being a terrible place to work, meaning employees started leaving in droves as fast as they could.
If you’re struggling or concerned about retention, here are some tips to consider.
1. Attract the Right Candidates
Attracting the right candidates for the job in the first place can go a long way toward increasing employee retention. This means having a thorough interview process and if possible, a trial period to see if the employee is a good fit. Employers should make it clear in the interview process what the company’s expectations are and that they are looking for someone who will be the best at the job, not just showing up to work every day.
Some other ideas the company is trying are giving priority to those who live close to the office because long commutes tend to be a reason to leave. Companies have also experimented with offering more flexible vacation packages that offer as many days as employees choose. This provides the flexibility top candidates may need if they have family or other obligations.
2. Get to know Personality
Not every employee will be motivated by money or power, and it can be difficult for managers to understand how to motivate employees who are not their own. Try to get to know the prospective employee’s personality during the interview process and learn through trial and error and short interviews what you can do to increase employee satisfaction. Share information about the employee’s personality with the many supervisors and co-workers with whom the employee interacts so that positive feedback can be provided through multiple channels.
3. Improving Group Dynamics
Instead of creating a competitive or divisive environment by awarding only one prize per quarter, reward teams for their best performance. This could be an iPod for each team member or a nice dinner. The team environment helps motivate those who may not care about the award but don’t want to let their team down. Having positive feedback as a group can also help employees feel more attached to the team and ultimately have greater loyalty to the company.
4. Keep in Touch
Small businesses face a much greater disadvantage when an employee leaves because much of the knowledge an employee has has not been formalized, and it is difficult for someone to pick up right where the employee left off. Therefore, small businesses in particular need to stay in touch with their employees to find out what motivates employees and what de-motivates them.
Ideally this would be a regular conversation with the boss, so the CEO or owner would have months of warning that an employee might be leaving, not two weeks. These conversations will also provide an opportunity to make the changes necessary to retain valuable employees.
5. Make Work a Challenge
It may be counter-intuitive to some to make employees work harder to keep them interested, but employees are happiest when they live up to their full potential. Allow workers to solve their own challenges and learn something new. Open their assignments, so they can be free to make mistakes in the learning process and make improvements to work processes. Employees who feel they own their jobs are far more committed than those who mindlessly do as they are told.
6. Express Appreciation
The majority of employees need to feel that they are valued in their work, and that they are contributing something important to the company. This doesn’t mean you have to spend a lot of time giving compliments or handing out generous bonuses to express employee appreciation, but giving an immediate “thank you” when employees go a step further and recognizing them in front of their teammates will create a more fulfilling work culture.