It’s far more economical to retain employees than to hire new ones. Why? The employee hiring process can be expensive. According to statistics, the cost of replacing a salaried employee is 6-9 month’s salary on average. If you’ve set a precedent for high employee turnover, you may also be losing productivity, which can cost your company even more.
It’s true that not everyone is right for your company. However, when you find a winner, you’ll want to hold on to them. That’s why today, I’m providing a few retention strategies to retain employees.
Evaluate Employee Performance
We see trucks with signs on the back that display “how’s my driving?” We know that drivers don’t want people to rat them to the boss when they’re being less than perfect on the road. However, a bit of feedback can definitely go a long way.
What’s great about employee evaluations is it set expectations. It helps employees know where they stand within a company. One thing to keep in mind is evaluating employees is meant to rag on them about their negative performance. Rather, think of it as a time to help them be the best they can within the company.
When giving employee evaluations, be specific and factual. Give praise when warranted and suggested ways to improve. For example, “Jill, I’ve noticed you’ve really been bringing a lot of energy to your accounts. I think your clients are noticing it too because they’re really responding. Keep it up!” Or “Samuel, you’ve been late 7 times this month, 3 times this week. The tardiness creates a domino effect for the day, and customers are starting to complain about late deliveries. Let’s talk about what’s going on and see what we can do to remedy the situation.”
For an employee you want to retain, an evaluation is a great way to show that you value them and want them to remain. It says, “I’m investing time to provide you feedback because you’re worthy.” Also, employee evaluations can come from a variety of sources. It’s common to leave evaluations to supervisors. However, employees can provide self-evaluations, as well as receive peer-evaluations.
Provide Employee Support
Most people spend the bulk of their waking hours at work, preparing for work, or traveling to and from work. The time commitment might make it seem like employees live for the benefit of the company. However, that’s seldom the case. Work often is a means to an end. With that in mind, employees have friends, families, and complete lives that have nothing to do with work.
If you want to retain employees, a little empathy and understanding can go a long way. “Check your problems at the door” isn’t always realistic. People aren’t robots to be turned on and off at will. Sometimes the stresses from homelife travel with them. When it does, it can sometimes affect work performance.
Consider having programs available that can help employees deal with mental stressors. It might also mean giving your employee some time off (paid or unpaid) to handle their personal issues.
Other ways you can help with work stress is by giving as much warning as possible when changes are expected. Keep your employees in the loop by providing relevant information. You may find that employees who aren’t working blind are more productive and positive about job tasks. Additionally, they’re able to be more responsive because they’re aware. Keeping your employees in the know can also provide them with opportunities to be part of solutions. If they know what’s going on in the company they can step up to challenges. This can stretch their abilities and increase their strengths and even help them develop talents.
Give Employees Breathing Room
Micromanaging can stifle an employee. It can show that you don’t trust them to do their jobs effectively. And frankly, constantly nagging an employee is just plain annoying. That’s enough to drive an employee to look elsewhere for work.
In contrast, you can help retain employees by giving them a bit of breathing room. Let them show you that they can do a job well and work through challenges. This doesn’t mean you have to give them free rein on day one. However, it’s important that you step back after a trial period in order for your business to run efficiently.
Giving employees a bit of freedom can be beneficial for you, as a business owner, also. The more your business can run like a well-oiled machine without you, the better chance it’ll have to be successful. Think about it. If you can’t trust your employees to keep your business going during routine times, how can you trust them enough to go on vacation? What if you happen to get sick and can’t go to work for a week, month, or longer? Your business, and possibly a major source of your income will disappear. So, give up a little control and give your employees some breathing room.
Work Hard, Play Hard
I mentioned earlier that employees spend a lot of time at work. Make it fun. Make it comfortable. For some, it’s like a home away from home. Shouldn’t it be comfortable?
Take time to find out what your employees enjoy, and if feasible, bring it into the workplace. A better understanding of employee expectations and acting on them can have a positive change. It can even make the workplace feel a bit home-like and co-workers more like family.
Set aside time in the workday to have fun, as well as optional events outside of working hours. And celebrate wins! Company events can help co-workers grow closer and create more cohesive teams. It also opens relationship opportunities for you, as an employer or boss. Overall, developing a healthy relationship with your employees will not only benefit the employee but also the organization.
Some employers may think that throwing more money at an employee is enough… that loyalty can be bought. However, money only goes so far. Now don’t get me wrong. Money is good. Definitely show appreciation to your employees by paying them well. However, don’t end with the paycheck.
You can increase the chances of being able to retain employees with awesome benefits. In fact, some employees look at benefits as a form of compensation. Here’s example. You pay a salaried employee $50,000 a year. In addition, you match up to 10% into their retirement plan. That comes to be an extra $5,000 a year if your employee participates in the matching program. Paying a portion or all of their medical premiums can relieve a financial burden and put more money in your employees’ pockets.
It’s okay to be transparent about the costs associated with the benefits you provide. In fact, it’s more than okay but even encouraged, particularly if you’re spending a lot of benefits. Let employees know what you’re doing for them on a financial level. That way they can do the math of their full compensation.
One of the great things about offering employee benefits is that many of them can be written off on the company taxes, which decreases your overall costs.
Bonus Strategy: Train Employees
Though professional development is another type of benefit, it deserves its own mention. Highly trained employees can be a huge asset to your company. But what if they leave and go to a competitor? If you’re following all the other strategies, why would they want to leave? Plus, keeping your employees untrained and behind on technology certainly isn’t going to want to make them stay.
One thing to keep in mind is that professional development doesn’t have to benefit the company. You might ask, why would I help an employee learn another skill that doesn’t help the company or worse… prepares her for another career unrelated to the company.
Life is so unpredictable. People make plans and change plans. Because an employee learns a particular skill doesn’t mean she’s going anywhere. In fact, your willingness to help pursue professional development may be the key to keeping her on longer. As long as you’re fulfilling a need, leaving becomes less attractive. Not to mention, it shows you care. An employer who cares is priceless and a great way to retain employees
Finally, you may find your employee learns transferrable skills that can add value to your company or qualifies her for new opportunities in your company.
Final Thoughts to Retain Employees
Retaining top talent should be a high property for any organization. Not just because it’s cost-effective, but also because it makes sense. Employees leave for so many reasons, uncomfortable work environment, unappreciated, lack of support, poor compensation, few opportunities professional growth, or other reasons. However, that doesn’t have to be your company. Keep your employees top of the mind and treat them like your greatest resource.