It may seem counterintuitive for us, recruiters, to write a post about employee retention strategies, but as the talent shortage continues it’s worth doing all you can to keep hold of the talent that you have.
The Great Resignation took hold last year. Heaps of people started to leave in droves, moving on to companies that offered more. More benefits, more flexibility, more money. Thanks to the impending recession, we may see less confidence in the market in 2023, but it doesn’t mean that good people aren’t on the move.
Whether people are on the move or staying put, we’re sure that most people in business will tell you that your people are your most important asset and that keeping them should be one of your top priorities.
Let’s start by answering, what is employee retention?
It’s pretty simple. Retention is about keeping the people you have in the company and putting in place processes to ensure that employees choose to stay with you and don’t become passive or active job seekers. This should be a big focus for all employers, especially during times of talent shortages – competition is fierce so you’ll want to make sure you’re doing all you can to reduce turnover.
With that question now answered, the next question to ask should be what employee retention strategies should I put in place?
Again, the answer to this one is simple. You want to work on your culture and make the working environment the best that it can be. We know that this is easy to say and harder to put into practice, which is why we will break it down further.
To start, you can only improve employee retention by discovering the real reason behind people leaving. To do this, we recommend that you start arranging exit interviews with all leavers as it’ll provide you with insights and data that you can use to make improvements. To get the most out of these meetings, you’ll need to make sure the leaver is comfortable opening up and telling the entire truth. It might be tempting to go on the defensive, but try your hardest not to – you can only make improvements by taking on board feedback.
With the data you have from your exit interviews, you’ll be able to see where the company is falling short and will be able to create a bespoke strategy. However, if you want to start making improvements straight away, below are a couple of ideas to get you started.
- Set up for success
The retention strategy should start from the moment your new starter walks through the door. From having a streamlined onboarding process to implementing a buddy system and outlining expectations from the get-go, you could even look at your pre-onboarding to help settle any nerves – a full guide to this can be found here. All of these will help your new starter feel settled, valued, and invested in.
Times have changed, and it’s not all about salary nowadays, although it still plays an incredibly important part in retaining and attracting talent. It’s essential that you’re competitive and offering salaries that are in line with the rest of the industry (and, if you’re not in a position to be competitive, you best be offering a benefits package that people will shout about!). If you’re not sure of the salaries you should be offering, you can always contact us to find out what we’re seeing in the industry.
- Benefits Package
There is a lot of emphasis on benefits in 2023. As we said earlier, people are looking for more. More benefits, more flexibility, and more money! If you can offer this, you’re onto a winner. According to research, the benefits that are most valued by employees are above statutory annual leave, private healthcare, and flexibility – both in terms of work hours and working from home. There are plenty more benefits that you could incorporate too. A focus on well-being is something that lots of people value, so consider providing gym memberships and access to an Employee Assistance Programme. If you’re feeling particularly generous you could also look at introducing a 4-day work week. This was a benefit that was spoken about a lot in 2022, so we did some research to see if it was a worthwhile benefit, the results can be found here.
- Training and Development
This is a biggie. People are looking for opportunities to develop their skills and careers and as an
employer, it’s down to you to maximise those opportunities. To start, you’ll want to ensure that managers are having a regular catch-up with their reports, providing constructive feedback, and outlining areas for learning. From this, you’ll be able to provide relevant upskilling opportunities and put in place clear career training and development plans. Give people time to learn new skills, and provide as much training as you can – this not only shows that you’re invested in them and their career, but, as a company, you’ll reap the rewards too! It’s also important that you manage career expectations. If promotions aren’t available, look for sideways moves, invest in softer skills training, or compensate them for their learning.
Often this goes under the radar, but feeling appreciated in a role goes a long way to increasing morale. Recognise what your team does, oftentimes the big wins will be acknowledged, but you shouldn’t forget to celebrate the small wins too. Recognition doesn’t need to be a big thing, although you can implement rewards systems such as employee of the month, people appreciate a thank you. Tell your team why you appreciate them, how their work has helped, and acknowledge their own achievements, either inside or outside of work.
Lastly is collaboration. As humans, we like to feel as though we’re a part of something. Having an aim is important to people, so set company-wide goals that everyone can reach or play a part in. This will only encourage collaboration and teamwork.