Keeping hold of the most productive and creative employees is not easy. Headhunters are always willing to tempt them away with the promise of better employment terms, while any failure to satisfy the employee’s own ambitions will probably pave the way for their departure to greener fields.
But while remuneration is always an important factor, today’s employees look for more than just a good pay cheque. Job satisfaction, which includes such aspects as the working environment, recreation options and general engagement levels, is equally important. Get the overall package right and employee retention will be much easier.
Why Employee Retention Is So Important
It takes time to design and enact a dedicated set of employee-focused programmes. And of course, the idea is that there is a return on the investment. When retaining your best employees, the principal benefit is that key figures in your operation continue to produce results for you. But there are more.
A secondary benefit is that you keep an effective team together to continue to promote innovation, create new products or maintain high sales levels. In fact, research shows that the potential return on investment in meaningful employee retention strategies makes the effort worthwhile.
A study carried out by a team of economists at the University of Warwick estimated people to be about 12% more productive when they are happy. The study involved over 700 participants, with one group shown comedy films or given free chocolate before having their level of productivity in work measured. The second group was asked to recall recent personal tragedies, such as the death of a parent or loved one.
In his book, The Happiness Advantage, writer and journalist Shawn Achor underlines a happy and engaged workforce as being the single greatest advantage to the modern economy. He refers to a decade of research that indicated happiness raises sales by 37%, productivity by 31%, and accuracy on tasks by 19%.
So, taking whatever steps are necessary to retain your best employees is likely to pay off handsomely.
Secrets to Retaining Your Best Employees
Investment is the key to employee retention. But exactly where should that investment be made? Here are 4 secrets that are worth considering.
- Introduce ‘Stay Interviews’ – Taking the time to find out why loyal employees are happy to remain can reap some highly valuable information. It’s not unusual for a company to carry out Exit Interviews to find out why an employee has opted to leave. But this can suggest to others that the company is more concerned with leavers than ‘stayers’. By taking the time to host ‘Stay Interviews’, a company shows staff they are not being taken for granted. From the information learned, improvements can be made to existing initiatives to build greater satisfaction rates and improve employee retention. Good questions to ask include:
- Why have you stayed with us?
- What would prompt you leave?
- How is your relationship with your managers?
- What do you think should change?
- Promote From Within – This is an often overlooked method of retaining your best employees, though that might be because it’s not always a practical option. But when employees know a path to promotion is open to them, they are more likely to commit their long-term future. When advancement is unlikely, they are set to become frustrated and look elsewhere to satisfy their ambition. Simply put, it’s all about their future and knowing they have one with you.
- Foster Employee Development – If employees are looking for advancement opportunities, they are also going to be looking for further training and qualifications. Providing support for such initiative is a sure of way of retaining your best employees. Training can be provided in-house or tuition can be paid for if done at a local college course. With in-house training, it is also a good idea to get managers involved directly by requiring them to spend time coaching employees, and helping high performers to move to new positions.
- Communicate Your Business Mission – The idea is that if employees know what the company they are working for is trying to achieve, they are much more likely to feel part of the cause. This connection with the organization’s goals helps to build a strong team spirit, increase willing engagement and counter the risk of disenchantment. In fact, employees often choose to work for an employer because of the company’s mission. Essentially, it is a mental and emotional tie that helps in retaining the best employees.