In today’s economy, the U.S. unemployment rate hovers around 7%, it’s probably tempting to let these employees quit and replace them with someone who’s willing to work for less. But first consider this: studies have shown that the cost of replacing an employee can be as high as 20% of their annual salary, due to lower productivity while the position is vacant, not to mention the recruiting, training, and other HR challenges.

employee retention
Image from Randy Glasbergen

However, these costs can be avoided and employee retention can be controlled through the implementation of policies and programs that benefit employees, keeping them satisfied, and keeping employer budgets out of the red. Here are some ways to do just that.

Provide Up-to-Date Resources

It’s usually an exciting experience to work for an established company that has been in business for years. But one thing every employee dreads is arriving at a work station with outdated equipment. Whether it’s computers, office furniture, software programs, or construction tools, employers should strive to provide their employees with all the resources necessary to complete their jobs.

One way to do that while minimizing the financial burden on your company is to adopt a program that encourages employees to bring their own device to work and access company files and systems through them. The BYOD trend has been spreading like wildfire, and for good reason. Employees love it because it allows them to complete their work on their own terms, while allowing for a greater degree of connectivity. It also allows them to use devices with which they’re already familiar, enhancing the overall workflow.

Implementing a BYOD policy benefits the company as well, and it goes beyond employee satisfaction. It alleviates the budgetary burden of constantly renewing plans for wireless devices. You’ll still want to keep your in-house systems up to date, but letting employees bring their own devices is a bold step toward enhancing their performance and job satisfaction without burdening your budget.

Attract the Right Candidates

By being selective in the right ways during the hiring process, you will eliminate a lot of potential hurdles down the road. For instance, give priority to applicants that live near the office, as long commutes aren’t conducive to a healthy work-life balance, and they can cause stress and resentment in the minds of employees.

Many companies are also beginning to use in-depth personality tests, which help gauge how they’ll potentially mesh with your company’s values and office culture. Choosing an employee who’s the right fit from the start will inherently reduce employee turnover.

Keep Your Finger on the Pulse of Company Morale

As with any company, employee resignations are inevitable. Sometimes it will be for personal reasons, but more often it will be due to a better job opportunity elsewhere. You’ll never know how you can improve employee retention if you don’t know why they’re leaving in the first place. To that end, human-resources-facilitated exit interviews are a fantastic way to get honest feedback from departing employees. This is where you can find out why they are actually leaving, whether there was anything you could have done to make them stay, and pinpoint any action you should take in the event that other employees feel the same way.

But don’t wait until employees start to leave to find out whether people are happy. Make it a point to incorporate a section of any weekly meetings to poll your managers to see how everyone is doing. If morale is down and it’s within your power to improve it, make every effort to do so.

Communicate Honestly

Employees appreciate transparency in their workplace. It’s easier to stay focused and to work toward goals when you understand how your hard work is affecting the overall well-being of the company. To really communicate how important their work is, make sure they understand how it all circles back to affect them directly.

Every company has ups and downs and hiccups along the way. Communicate clearly with your employees the details of these peaks and valleys. Not only will they appreciate your transparency, but they will also feel more personal accountability and a better sense of ownership if they know exactly what is happening with the company beyond their specific department.

Employee retention is essential to the continued success of any company. Replacing employees who leave after a short period of time is costly and time-consuming. A healthy combination of choosing the right people in the first place, communicating with them effectively and giving them everything they need to get the job done will certainly help keep them around longer.