We’ve been talking about employee retention a lot here on the CiVS blog. Discussing its connection with mental health and employee satisfaction, plus how to improve it using career experiences. However, we have never shone a direct light on it — despite it being such an important subject. In April 2021 an HR survey done by Gartner revealed a quarter of Australian employees are seeking a new job. Employee expectations around work are changing, but it looks like companies aren’t quite keeping up. It’s clear that if companies want to hold on to their current employees and retain top talent, they need to take a proactive approach.
Why not let them leave?
Out with the old, in with the new, if they want to leave — let them. Why should companies bother spending resources on retention when they could bring in new employees at the same cost? Turnover comes with a price attached. When a new employee enters the workspace, they’ll require an adjustment period. That’s all the time that it takes to get them set up at their desk and become familiar with their tasks. It’s a period of low productivity, and as a result, a loss of profits. That’s not even considering the onboarding cost. I.e., the cost of coordinating HR and recruitment to find and move them into the office in the first place.
Plus you have to consider what high turnover does for the workplace culture. Social elements play a huge role in what makes a workplace great. Employees always moving in and out will demotivate current employees and cultivate a poor social culture. Recall the lesson given to us by Henry Ford. In 1914 Ford drastically increased the wage of his employees, and it resulted in a 20% profit rise and a productivity increase between 40-70%. A significant amount of this productivity was the result of retaining employees. The company’s previously high retention rate caused delays for training and ‘getting settled’ in the production line. This in turn caused major productivity losses which were saved by the increased wages.
How do I retain my employees?
There’s a few different angles to tackle the problem of employee retention from. Let’s think of it as past, present, and future. Breaking things down from the recruitment stage, to where your employees are now, to where they’ll be in 2-3 years. At every stage there are different elements to focus on and different strategies to undertake. In this article we are going to go through each stage step-by-step.
Take a look into how you came to hire your current employees. Did you undergo a comprehensive hiring practice? Or was it more of a quick get in here and go? Good employee retention starts with hiring the right people for your company. This means more than just checking their experience and skills. Your employees should have values that align with your company’s, fit into your culture, and ultimately be able to see a long-term career with you. It also means looking for candidates who you know can develop any skills that might be necessary to advance their career with you. Recruitment software company Simplicant talks about these elements in depth in their article on good hiring practices. The article stresses the relationship between recruitment and retention and is worth a read if you’re looking to spruce up your recruitment process.
Now we’re turning our attention not to who you should hire, but who you have. This section entails taking a hard look at the current state of your company. In particular, asking the question “is this a good place to work?”. Whether or not your company is an appealing space to work in will be the major factor for retention.
If you’re looking for specific elements to judge yourself on. Consider the ones we’ve listed below, all of which are correlated with retention rates
- Is your work environment supportive? In a study of 225 respondents a direct and positive relationship was found between a supportive work environment and academic staff retention. It’s no stretch that the findings of this study could be applied to the corporate workspace. Being supportive includes supporting employees mental health, work-life balance, and personal endeavours.
- Does your company keep up with the market? Take a look around, what are other companies doing? Can you compete with them when it comes to not just wages, but perks as well? Today’s working environment is becoming less about wages and more about what else a company can offer. Data surfacing from the last five years has been showing a certain trend — employees care about more than salary. There’s many areas employees are paying attention to, but flexible work is one of the big ones. If you’re not keeping up in that space, it might be time to revaluate your position.
- Do you give recognition to your employees? Employee recognition is crucial to retaining your employees. Yet, it’s not always an easy task. Recognition is a tricky subject and some traditional tactics have been proven to worsen the work environment. We suggest taking a look at our previous article on recognition and seeing how your company compares.
Finally, you have to question whether your company is a place for employees to envision their future. Do you provide growth opportunities to help your employees progress? If you’re looking at low retention rates it might be more about employees leaving for a new position, not a new company. Ensure that your company is helping employees develop their skills. This can be done either through direct training programs or something more relaxed such as job shadowing. In our discussion of career experiences we also talked about the benefits of moving employees between roles for skill development. Any of these strategies can be implemented to provide your employees with a sense of growth.
To solidify this feeling, you’ll also want to make sure your employees have a clear path for progression. They should be able to see a future with your company, and the clear steps to achieve it. Make it clear that there is space for them to grow. Having something to aspire to within the company will stop them from looking for external opportunities.
Are my employees on their way out the door?
Poor employee loyalty can boil beneath the surface, hidden from managers. To get a clear vision on how your employees feel about their future with you, a survey is recommended. This survey must be anonymous and completely confidential so that employees know they can answer honestly. A survey can also help you to pinpoint the specific reasons why employees are looking to leave. Not every element outlined in this article will be relevant to your company. So, there’s no point in pouring resources into every single one. Cut back on resource waste by learning where your company stands on these criteria first. This will allow you to focus in on the elements which are most important and carry out plans effectively.
With a CiVS employee survey these types of insights are delivered to you effortlessly. They come in a comprehensive easy-to-read report compiled by industry professionals. We take all the clutter out, so you can focus on what matters. Pushing through the numbers to deliver data that sticks out. Helping your team to implement changes that will make a real difference.
Spark your interest? contact the CiVS team at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call at (08) 6314 0580.