It’s a harsh reality that a lot of companies nowadays don’t care too much about retaining employees. However, it’s important to realize that not everyone is replaceable, and having a tight-knit team of employees can be more beneficial than you realize.
Businesses that focus on employee retention not only attract better employees, but they get the best out of the employees they have. Furthermore, high turnover rates result in costs to the company, including lost productivity, time spent to fill positions, decreased employee morale, and more.
Here are some ways you can make an effort to retain employees:
Create A Comfortable Environment
This is obvious, but atmosphere goes a long way. If a company has a fun, safe, friendly environment, employees will be a lot more likely to want to come to work, and, more importantly, want to do a good job.
Also, stress is a normal part of most jobs, but measures can be taken to mitigate stress levels in the workplace. Make sure workloads are fairly distributed. In other words, don’t let one employee sit idle while another is saddled with all of the work if both have the necessary skillset to get the job done. When someone goes above and beyond, reward him with something tangible, such as a free dinner or a day off.
To truly create an ideal environment, you should start with your hiring process. Though it’s usually hard to get an accurate picture of someone during an interview, it might be wise to avoid hiring candidates you have any doubts about, even if they are extremely qualified. Sometimes instincts are right.
As a manager, you should encourage an ongoing dialogue with employees, but don’t just limit that dialogue to the task at hand. Ask for feedback, and be willing to listen to it. Many unhappy employees aren’t going to voluntarily make their unhappiness known until it’s too late. Their body language might suggest it, but many won’t mention specific pain points for fear of being penalized.
If you make it known that legitimate, constructive criticism won’t result in negative consequences, you might get some ideas on how to improve your organization while also boosting morale. There isn’t a line on the balance sheet for morale, but managers who don’t think it impacts their bottom line are naïve. Furthermore, it’s often true that the concerns of one employee are the concerns of many.
Consider scheduling regular meetings with your employees to check in with them. If they’re valuable when unhappy, imagine how much more valuable they could be if they were happy.
The dialogue doesn’t have to stop there, though. As a manager, it can be valuable to ask about your employees’ career aspirations. This will help you understand what’s important to them and how they hope to grow professionally, which will help you tailor their opportunities accordingly. Not doing this could eventually push them out the door if they think their needs will be better met elsewhere.
Treat Employees Like People
There’s always been debate about whether it’s better to be feared or loved as a leader. You might say, “I’m your manager, not your friend,” but respect usually isn’t a product of fear. Listening to employees and treating them like people, not like tools, is usually a good way to earn trust and respect.
Let employees know they’re valuable. While some may be content to come in every day, do their work and go home, many want to feel as if they’re part of a group and that they matter. Anonymity isn’t a great feeling, and it usually doesn’t take too much effort to combat it.
Defer to the expertise of your employees. Give them responsibilities that make them feel important, so long as they can handle it. Remember that they were hired for a reason, and make sure they have the resources they need to get the job done.
Also, encourage initiative. Some ideas won’t go over well, but arguably even bad ideas are better than no ideas. Just make sure you’re open-minded and patient enough to give every idea a fair chance.
Evaluate employee performance based on clear, pre-established metrics. Let employees know when they’ve done good work. When they haven’t done good work, try to figure out why and discuss how to ensure a good review the next time.
Furthermore, most employees probably deserve a second chance after a poor review. Hiring a replacement for an unproductive employee may actually be more costly to a company than keeping him if only some minor adjustments would turn his performance around.
Provide Good Benefits
It’s undeniable, and probably pretty obvious, that a good benefits package often plays a big part in retaining employees. In fact, a strong benefits program can give you the edge over other companies and earn you a reputation as an excellent employer. Poll your employees to see how they feel about your current benefits plan and get some ideas for how you can make it more competitive.