You spend a ton of resources on recruiting and training your employees, but what steps are you taking to keep them around?
Employee retention can be a challenge for many organizations, especially during periods of accelerated growth. When companies are scaling fast, often the focus shifts to acquiring the right people as quickly as possible. Which means that keeping those new, talented employees around (as well as the great ones that these organizations already have) can fall to the wayside.
Whether you already have a retention strategy in play or not, here are 5 highly effective ways to keep top performers onboard for the long haul.
Allow for Inward Mobility
People are beginning to think about their careers in a less linear way—think climbing a jungle gym instead of a ladder. Creating a culture that allows, and even encourages, employees to contribute to projects that may not be in their scope can be beneficial, on an individual and organizational level.
It brings fresh ideas, promotes teamwork and may even uncover hidden talents or unrealized passions. Promoting between departments can also help keep things fresh and exciting for your employees and offer additional opportunities for advancement.
Provide Ongoing Training Opportunities
Engaged employees are motivated to constantly improve their skills and grow professionally. You may already offer the option for your team to grow in their chosen discipline with conference and course spending budgets, but there are actually even more opportunities that you can leverage to keep employees engaged.
Creating training opportunities for your team members that are outside of their individual roles might be a less obvious approach. Why not allow for your internal operations team to learn about web development or for Finance to learn French? The chance for your employees to learn and hone skills that they otherwise wouldn’t have access to is a powerful reason for them to stay invested.
Creating fun, new learning opportunities doesn't have to be expensive. Leverage some of the talent your workforce already has and give experts on your team the opportunity to share their knowledge with their peers through mentorship programs and organized lunch-and-learns.
Develop Strong Leaders
Direct managers can make or break an employee’s loyalty to your company. Identifying the employees with leadership potential on your team isn’t enough, you need to be able to give them the resources that they need to build their leadership skills, too. If employees are promoted into leadership roles without an adequate understanding of how to manage people properly, it can be a recipe for disaster for your employee retention strategy.
Employees need to feel supported by the their leads on an emotional and technical level. They need to know that someone is in their corner who cares about their professional development. Giving your leads management training can help them level up their skills and give them the knowledge that they need to level up their teams too.
Consider Employee Perception
For your employees, perception is reality. It's important that they perceive the company as an equitable workplace with fair opportunities for advancement and recognition. Whether you’re hiring new employees or promoting current team members, always be sure to consider how your actions could be perceived as nepotism or favouritism. Your employees need to know that hard work can actually get them ahead if you want them to stick around.
If there are potential conflicts of interests within your team, try to structure your organization so that employees with intimate personal relationships are never in a position of direct authority over one another. Whether those employees are best friends or partners, this is a crucial step for promoting a more equitable work environment in perception and action.
Your team may love their work and their environment, but if they aren’t being compensated fairly, it can push them to pursue new opportunities elsewhere.
If budgets are tight, consider other options that can create the feeling of better compensation without breaking the bank. Flexibility is a perk that doesn’t need to cost your company money. Try allowing for more flexible hours—whether someone starts their day at 8AM or 10:30AM won’t make a difference to your bottom line, but will reduce stress for your employees and give them a more positive sense of work / life balance. Additionally, things like casual dress codes, pet-friendly offices and more comfortable, communal workspaces like couches are affordable ways to make your team feel appreciated at scale.
Finally, your employee retention strategy should also be about setting compensation expectations and following through on them. Have regularly scheduled review periods where employees can either expect to receive a pay increase for the work that they’ve put in, or at least receive an explanation of where their development is lacking, so that they can course-correct and improve in the future.
Which employee retention strategies have you seen success with? Let us know in the comments below.
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