One of the biggest keys to company success is finding, and keeping, great employees. While paying appropriate wages is definitely a factor here, the truth is that there are a lot of other things that go into employee retention. Preventing high turnover rates can be a rather complex issue, and there are multiple factors that must be addressed in order to close that revolving door of employees.
Making things even more difficult is the fact that the classic, go-to employee retention methods are proving themselves increasingly effective. Today’s qualified workforce have more options than ever, and they are also more prepared to relocate when better opportunities arise. The good news is that HR departments and managers can take other actions to keep their best employees from looking elsewhere in the first place.
It all starts with taking a close look at the top challenges of employee retention today and understanding how to navigate them.
1. Issues Often Stem From the Top
When employees feel they do not have great leadership, they are more likely to leave. It’s important to understand that leaders who are micromanagers and too overbearing are often considered just as bad as those who do not appear to do anything at all. A good leader must walk a fine balance between being an effective and hardworking member of the team AND someone who can step back and hand over the reins when appropriate. They must both inspire and lead by example. By taking the time to adopt good leadership practices and build a respected management team, employee retention rates can be greatly improved in the long run.
2. Employees Often Feel ‘Stuck’ When it Comes to Growth
Many employees decide to leave when they are looking to grow their career, yet their employer has limited room for advancement. The problem can be worsened if employees see that their company often does not promote from within. This problem can be fixed by employers making it a policy to look internally first to fill new positions, and it is also a good idea to regularly review department structure and potential need for promotion. Of course, not everyone can be promoted. To help accommodate for this, employers should consider offering leadership seminars and assistance with higher education to help employees achieve personal progress.
3. A Positive Work Environment Can’t Be Forced or Faked
One of the biggest keys of all to improving employee retention is fostering a happy, positive work environment. Many employers do this by setting up work outings, special events and celebrating birthdays. But the thing is that it all has to feel genuine, or employees won’t go for it. For example, employees will see right through a manager singing “Happy Birthday” to an employee they barely know or bother to interact with, but they will appreciate it from a manager who they feel genuinely cares about them. It is therefore worthwhile for leaders and coworkers to be given opportunities to get to know each other more personally and form friendships.
4. Money Can’t Buy Happiness
Ah yes, the money issues. Many employers mistakenly assume that they can solve their employee retention problems by simply throwing more money at the employees they feel are at risk of leaving. But the reality is that it should never even come to that. First of all, employees should already be making a wage that is appropriate for their skillset and local living costs (their market value). After that, more money has been shown to not do much in terms of increasing employee happiness and likelihood of staying. If anything, being offered a raise or bonus without any other issues being addressed may actually be viewed as an insult. Employers will be wise to remember this.
The Bottom Line
At the end of the day, it’s all about understanding what employees want the most out of their jobs. While employers definitely shouldn’t shortchange their employees by paying below market rates (that’s a surefire way to see employees leave quickly), the vast majority of employees are looking for something deeper than money. Whether it is personal fulfillment, working alongside close friends, being inspired daily, etc., employees need to recognize that their individual employees are people with their own values. When these values are being met in the workplace, they will be less likely to leave. Happy employees who are dedicated to staying are the real key to company success!