10 Quick tips to boost retention cover image

10 Quick Tips To Boost Retention

Wisetail | 6 min read

Retaining existing employees is crucial in today’s tough market. Every successful leader understands the importance of retention. Let’s look at ways to improve your odds and boost retention rates.  

What We Know About Retention 

Retention is essential for many reasons. A stable employee base impacts the overall work culture and employee morale, helps maintain valuable institutional knowledge, creates diverse work communities, and ensures healthy production levels and happy customers. Especially during an economic downturn, retention is crucial — you need your top talent on board. Here are some other notable facts about retention: 

1. Since January 2022, about 4 million employees have left their jobs voluntarily each month. While people leave their jobs for many reasons, it’s important to have a firm grasp on the common drivers of voluntary attrition.

2. About 31% report having quit a job within the first six months. Top reasons for leaving? Poor onboarding experiences, lack of clarity about the job role and expectations, or poor leadership. 

3. The cost to replace a highly trained employee can exceed 200% of their annual salary. Recent research shows the true cost is even higher, as excessive turnover leads to lower morale, poor engagement, and even more turnover. 

4. More than a quarter of employees are in a high-retention-risk category. Many of these employees possess critical skills and may very well be a company’s top performers.

Five Focus Areas 

If improving retention is the goal, managers should consider the five areas most critical to improving retention:

1. Professional development opportunities and dedicated career paths. 86% of professionals are willing to leave their jobs if another company offers them better professional development opportunities. In order to keep top-tier talent onboard, organizations should: 

  • Offer and encourage professional development and training. Training and development should be considered a benefit like any other. Supporting development and helping employees create dedicated career paths ensures a more engaged, loyal, and vibrant work community.
  • Maintain salary parity for your location and industry. In organizations where salaries are at market, you’ve created a culture that attracts and retains employees.

2. Work-life balance. Employees, having survived the disruptions caused by the pandemic, have returned to work with a new set of priorities, and work-life balance is at the top of the list. 

  • Develop policies that encourage well-being: appropriate workloads, clear and transparent communication, healthy corporate culture — all are important elements of employee well-being and retention.
  • Wherever possible, be flexible. Encourage remote or hybrid work opportunities, manage PTO to allow more employee autonomy, and listen to employee feedback regarding flexible schedules.

3. Organizational culture. Culture drives worker satisfaction and, thus, retention. Strong corporate cultures share a few key traits:

  • Clearly articulated values and purpose consistent with policies and processes and communicated to employees through both policy and company leadership behavior.
  • Strong commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Leaders who are empathetic, supportive, and transparent in their communication and expectations.
  • Opportunities for collaboration and connection among employees and teams.

4. Job security. Do your employees feel their livelihoods are safe in their current roles? Almost half of employees list job security as a top reason they’d choose to stay with their current company, making security a major driver of retention. Leadership should prioritize helping workers understand their value to the organization. 

5. Recognition and rewards. Strong employee-recognition programs reduce turnover rates by over 30%; lack of recognition at work is the third most common reason why employees leave their jobs. Recognition boosts individual employee engagement as well as increasing loyalty and productivity — both factors driving higher retention rates. 

Five Strategy Guidelines 

It’s easy to talk about retention strategy, but where to begin? 

1. Make a plan. Don’t just be reactive to retention — develop a strategy that begins with employee feedback. Exit interviews provide valuable information, as do surveys and simple conversations with active employees. Pay attention to what employees are looking for and why they’re opting to leave. 

2. Maximize transparency and communication. The best time to begin retaining employees is before you even hire them. Ensure job descriptions, roles, expectations, and responsibilities are clear and concise, and be prepared to address concerns and questions from both candidates and current employees. 

3. Measure and preserve company morale. Losing even a few employees can create a cascading effect. Establish a plan to address the impact of attrition in advance. 

4. Be proactive. Leaders must make efforts to stay in communication with team members at every level. Invite feedback on a regular basis regarding job satisfaction, engagement, and the employee experience — and act on recurring areas of concern. 

5. Develop a culture of continuous learning and improvement. Employees today, especially millennials, look for companies willing to support their development. Curate a culture that values continuous learning, supports development, and provides an attainable career path for every employee. 

In today’s volatile employment market, organizations can’t afford not to address employee retention head on. Employees are a company’s most valuable asset — investing significant time and energy into crafting a robust employee retention strategy just makes business sense.

To further support your employee engagement and retention strategies, check our webinar series, Putting the Human Back in HR. This collection of virtual events aims to bring awareness, inspiration, and action to your people-centric learning and development strategies. Featuring Dr. Casey Cox, Founder of Ascend Coaching Group, learn how to build trust amongst your employees, build a reputation for retaining top talent, and learn how you actually sit on the same side of the table as your team members.