Monday Management Minute: Retaining Employees

You know that employee turnover can be costly, and losing valuable workers is detrimental to productivity and even the ultimate success of your organization. But when it comes to investments in your company, employee satisfaction may not be the first item that comes to mind. It should, however, if you want to enjoy long-term profits and smooth operations. In this Monday Management Minute, we'll outline some tips for constructing an effective employee-retention strategy.

A warm welcome

The work of retaining top employees starts on their first day with your onboarding program for new recruits. When you take the time over the first few weeks to outline your company’s products, services and organizational structure thoroughly, you can significantly alleviate new workers’ anxiety about the job and workplace and shorten the path to productivity. And by starting out right, they are more likely to develop long-lasting positive feelings about the job.

Financial expectations

Salary and benefit packages aren’t the only things driving high levels of satisfaction and employee retention. But they’re certainly high on the list for most workers. Make sure you’re offering compensation packages that meet or exceed the average for your region and industry; if you’re not sure how your company stacks up, take a look at reputable salary guides. In addition, be straightforward about how pay and benefits work, and consider establishing a reward and recognition program, which can also go a long way toward fostering good workplace vibes.

The importance of mentoring

Mentoring should be a part of not only your new-hire onboarding but also your strategy for employee retention. Mentoring is a confidence and morale booster. Mentors can show new employees the ropes, but mentoring is not a one-way street. Individuals who become mentors stand to gain as well. For example, serving as a mentor can help even the most accomplished long-term employee improve her management skills. In addition, new employees often bring with them fresh perspectives and enthusiasm that can benefit a tenured mentor in return. In either direction, mentoring is a valuable retention tool.

Internal advancement

Talented people love challenge and a good chance that their hard work will pay off. Hiring from within sends a message to employees at all levels of your organization that good performance gets rewarded and that employees have a reason (apart from the regular paycheck) to focus on quality. It also demonstrates a commitment to career development and internal opportunities, which boosts retention. There’s no better way to avoid excessive turnover at junior levels of an organization than to offer excellent advancement opportunities.

Striking a balance

It’s important to help your employees maintain a reasonable work-life balance. Alternative work arrangements such as flextime and telecommuting can help workers achieve this goal. What’s more, flexible scheduling can actually increase productivity and reduce employee turnover. For instance, certain jobs lend themselves to remote work because they require deep concentration, away from the noise and constant distractions inherent in an office environment. Similarly, when employees can start the day before or after rush hour, they arrive fresh and ready to work, instead of frazzled from dealing with traffic. 

Adjusting workplace policies

Giving your existing employees greater freedom to choose when and where they work may require creating new policies. However, adjusting “the way we do it” in order to keep key contributors happy and productive — and boost employee retention — is far better than the alternative: Hunting for candidates in a challenging hiring market and potentially risking the cost of a bad hire.

Communication and teamwork

A sure way increase employee turnover is to treat the workplace like a dictatorship. Make sure that when it comes to communication with employees, you’re not issuing directives from above, but rather encouraging dialogue and training everyone in the office to use good communication methods. This kind of give and take helps employees know they are valued, and it encourages employee feedback — both positive and negative — that management can use to improve the work environment. Good communication is also critical for team building, which is itself an important employee-retention strategy.

Do you have a great retention track record? Has your organization found a way to lessen the cost of hiring employees? Discuss what works for you in the forum below.