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7 employee retention strategies to reduce staff turnover

Employee retention strategies are critical to any business that wishes to hold onto its best talent
Stock image of an office to accompany article on employee retention strategies

No matter the industry, staff turnover is an unavoidable part of doing business. In recent years, many companies have seen departures grow, so implementing employee retention strategies has become increasingly important.

As a result of the pandemic, many people rethought what they wanted to do with their lives. Some looked for improved opportunities or schedules that better fit their needs, and others began to do something entirely new, including starting their own business.

This led to droves of professionals leaving their roles in 2021 — a phenomenon for which management expert Antony Klotz coined the phrase “The Great Resignation.”

The pattern was first noted in the United States, with the retail, food, and hospitality sectors hit particularly hard by voluntary departures, but it quickly spread worldwide and to different industries. 

SEE ALSO: Why use a PEO? 4 great reasons to consider

The pandemic had forced many companies to rethink how they do business, and gave people a taste of remote and hybrid working, which many were reluctant to give up when employers began to call them back to the office.

Meanwhile, the pandemic also saw increasing awareness around employee wellness and work-life balance, leading many professionals to begin to demand more from current and potential employers.

As a result, companies were forced to better tune into the needs of thier people, and began seeking to retain staff by offering training, opportunities for advancement, additional incentives, and work flexibility.

With growing understanding of the value of human capital, solid employee retention strategies are rising in importance.

What is employee retention?

Employee retention relates to the proportion of employees who remain with an organization for a given period. The longer professionals stay with a company, the higher the retention rate.

While some departures are an inevitable part of working life, an ability to retain more people is generally seen to reflect positively on a company, because it suggests that its employees are satisfied with their roles and environment.

Staff turnover is another measure of retention, referring to the proportion of people leaving an organization, and usually needing to be replaced. When the departure of professionals occurs at a faster rate than they can be replaced, this is known as employee attrition.

Employee attrition was a significant problem for many businesses during The Great Resignation, because an inability to replace workers quickly enough inevitably affected service levels and the smooth running of normal operations.

When professionals stay with a company longer, teams tend to work better and be more productive, while the company avoids the costs associated with finding and training new talent. Reducing turnover to zero is almost impossible, but keeping it low and avoiding attrition can be critical to keeping the business viable.

If someone is comfortable with their job, in an environment where they feel happy, motivated and rewarded, they are likely to stay. Effective employee retention strategies work best when employers understand and recognize the needs and wants of their workers.

What are employee retention strategies?

Employee retention strategies are a series of steps that companies develop to reduce desertion rates and avoid attrition. These programs include policies that help organizations attract and retain qualified personnel.

A company’s objectives are important for employee retention strategies but they should also address employees’ specific needs. It’s important to understand what factors can drive good workers to quit and how to motivate them to stay.

Knowing why employees consider leaving organizations will help create more robust employee retention strategies. These steps will help to improve overall satisfaction rates and encourage employees to stay and focus on the company’s success.

A Serviap Global infographic of employee retention strategies.
Some employee retention strategies to consider

Employee retention strategies to consider implementing

The following employee retention strategies could help any business reduce their staff turnover.

1. Choose the right candidate

While it may seem obvious, choosing the right candidate in the first place is crucial among employee retention strategies. If someone is suited to the role they are hired for and environment they will be working in, they will have fewer reasons to consider leaving.

When an employment vacancy opens, companies must clearly describe the skills and experience needed to fill the position. Attractive and honest job descriptions are critical to finding the right professionals for roles.

Employee referral programs can be useful in this regard, as top professionals will tend to want to surround themselves with similarly good team members.

Making sure that the recruitment process adequately tests the abilities and aptitudes of candidates to properly judge if they are suitable is also important. Things like testing for soft skills, not just relying on qualifications, can play an important role in this.

2. Good financial incentives 

According to a Pew Research Center study, low pay, lack of advancement opportunities, and feeling disrespected at work are the three leading reasons for people to quit their jobs. 

That’s why one of the most effective employee retention strategies available is to offer competitive financial compensation, with a clear process established for evaluating and adjusting salaries. Even if base salary cannot be increased at a specific time, other forms of payment exist, such as bonuses and commissions.

In addition to a fair salary, benefits are also an essential part of the compensation package. That can include insurance, retirement plans, e-wallets, grocery vouchers, gym memberships, and many other types of perks. 

Additional incentives, such as courses or activities to promote professional or personal development and enhances the employee’s skills, also help companies avoid the talent drain.

3. Train your staff and give feedback to them

It’s important to recruit the right people from the start, but employee retention strategies don’t stop at that point. To retain workers, ongoing training and regular feedback are just as important.

Any relevant additional knowledge is essential and always adds up professionally and personally, so targeted and specialized training is a core part of good employee retention strategies.

Ongoing employee training helps, among other things, to maintain best practice at work, motivate professionals, develop hard and soft skills, improve processes and contribute to a better work environment. 

Feedback, meanwhile, helps to set short- and medium-term objectives, to recognize workers’ efforts, and to see what could be improved on either the part of the employee or employer.

Before implementing a training program, it is necessary to identify the skills to be developed. Then, set objectives, establish what resources will be provided to employees and tell them how they will be evaluated. Finally, follow up to see how effective the training was, or if there are areas for improvement.

4. Promote a culture of open communication

Having open and transparent communication with all team members helps to increase satisfaction rates, as they feel more confident sharing their needs and concerns, both with management and with each other. 

When professionals are listened to, they will be more committed to the company they work for, and often work harder, and generally think twice before looking for another job opportunity.

Promoting a culture of open communication can help solve or prevent the problems that lead to poor retention and high employee desertion. Accordingly, high-functioning employee retention strategies put open communication at the heart of their programs.

Today, with the shift to hybrid and remote work, good communication in the work environment is more critical than ever. That means leaders must proactively connect with each team member, such as scheduling regular meetings and making themselves clearly available to respond to issues.

5. Understand why your employees stay or leave

When designing employee retention strategies, exit interviews are a critical resource. These interviews provide insight into professionals’ reasons for leaving.

Not all departures are for negative reasons, but exit interviews can help an employer understand how they can improve in the future and what current employees could need now.

Some of the most common motives for leaving given during exit interviews are:

  • Unfair wages
  • Uncompetitive benefits and perks
  • Work overload 
  • Lack of growth opportunities
  • Inflexible schedules and working arrangements
  • Need for work-life balance
  • Desire to make a change in their life
  • More attractive job offers elsewhere

Alongside exit interviews, regular employee evaluation interviews allow companies to find out what motivates current employees to stay, what they like and any issues that can be nipped in the bud before they ask to leave.

6. Make wellness a priority   

A good work-life balance is something that professionals are increasingly demanding. As a result of the pandemic, many people are looking for career opportunities that not only give them job security but also allow them to develop in other areas of their lives. 

Promoting physical and mental health, stress management programs, retirement planning services, and work flexibility are examples of what a company can offer to retain employees and avoid attrition.

SEE ALSO: Q&A: Antony Malmo discusses employee wellness trends in 2023

Fewer people are willing to be available to their employers 24/7. They need time and flexibility to manage other parts of their life. As long they reach their targets, it’s often better to have a happy employee working flexibly than insist on specific hours.

And when special projects require employees to work overtime or at odd hours, giving them time off or some compensation is best. Valuing people’s time is a critical part of employee retention strategies.

7. Recognize achievements and provide career opportunities

In addition to receiving financial compensation for their work, employees need to feel valued.

When a person is not valued for their effort or performance, they may feel dissatisfied and frustrated and look for other job opportunities where they feel they might be better recognized. 

In this sense, to retain as much talent as possible, employers can highlight team achievements, work anniversaries, and other milestones that may motivate an employee to stay.

The recognition does not necessarily have to be face-to-face; it can be a simple online meeting or an e-mail. The important thing is to show the person that they are seen and valued. 

Likewise, there are fewer incentives for employees to leave if they have opportunities for promotion within the corporation. This is an important part of successful employee retention strategies because it allows good employees to move up into more demanding roles with greater responsibility.

Preventing is better than losing 

There is no magic formula to prevent professionals from leaving a company. Still, employee retention strategies can be implemented to reduce the talent drain, avoid attrition and help maintain a happy workforce. 

Listening to team members’ specific needs and concerns will help you get to know them better when designing employee retention strategies. 

It’s not all about money, as highlighted above. Because more and more people are looking for positions that help them balance their work and personal lives and see their efforts recognized, as well as offering ongoing training and professional growth.

Serviap Global can help you find and hire top international talent

At Serviap Global, we we provide international PEO / EOR services in over 100 countries worldwide, meaning that we find and hire professionals who report directly to our clients.

We also offer global talent acquisition services to help clients find top professionals they will hire directly.

Whether you need a small number of executives or IT professionals, are staffing up a call center or manufacturing facility, or seeking any other kind of worker, we can support you.

Our family-run company started out in Mexico over 12 years ago, before expanding throughout Latin America and growing into Africa, Asia, and Europe. Wherever you are seeking to hire, we are ready to help.

Contact us today to find out more.

Or book a call with a sales executive working with companies based in your region.

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