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3 tips to improve employee retention

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One of the biggest issues plaguing employers is employee retention. A high employee turnover rate can not only affect day-to-day production but negatively harm your company’s reputation.

Given the great resignation, quiet quitting, and so many other trends that impact retention, now is the time for employers to focus on their retention methods. However, employee retention is much more than simply trying to stop people from leaving a company; rather, retention starts when you hire with purpose, provide an environment for your employees to grow, and meet employees where they are in their careers.

As part of our ongoing HR leadership series, we chatted with Shannelle Ogilvie, HR Business Partner and Team Leader with more than five years of experience in People Operations and managing teams.

Below, are three of her top tips to improve employee retention and how it can help successfully grow your business. Let’s dive in!

Hire with purpose

What does it mean to hire with purpose? It starts with understanding why you’re hiring for the role and the impact this position will have on the organization. It also means identifying ways the position could evolve with the company.

Consider if your new hire might have other transferable skill sets that could be tapped into as your organization continues to grow. If you are able to anticipate future stages of growth for your company, think through how this role might fit in and develop as your workforce does. 

Does this new hire, and the role you’ve created, support growth and change? If not, you might need to do a little more planning and strategizing. By being intentional with your hires, you will be able to better retain talent which will allow you to lean into historical knowledge and their experience with your company as needs continue to unfold.

When it comes to hiring, it’s not always easy to anticipate where the position or the company will go in the future, but it’s important to have a baseline idea. This will allow you to find the right fit with their current skill set and adjust as your company grows. Alternatively, it can also help you build out a roadmap for the anticipated tools, additional team members, and environment you need to provide them now to support that type of growth in the future.

Failing to hire with purpose can not only lead to rushed hiring decisions, where you may hire a candidate who is less skilled for the job or who won’t be a good addition to the culture. This could create more trouble with retention than you think you’re preventing.

Create an environment that supports employee growth

Let’s look a little more closely at the type of environment that supports long-term employee growth (and ultimately retention).

To successfully foster employee growth, HR executives and leaders can do several things, including:

  • Encourage cross-functional relationships and projects: As employees engage with colleagues in different departments, at various stages in their careers, they will learn new approaches and solutions. Encourage team leads to find projects that allow for employee connection both on work and non-work related projects. This not only helps your employees build connections but also learn from one another.
  • Create some healthy competition: Bolster team spirit and connections by offering a corporate challenge. If you are able to tie it to a wellness goal like drinking more water, getting more restful sleep, or minutes meditating you not only help their personal wellbeing but ultimately benefit from more rested, engaged, and productive employees. In addition, the relationships sparked through corporate challenges can improve processes and inter-departmental cultures.
  • Pay for educational courses or programs: Let’s say you want to expand your in-house marketing team. Instead of waiting for someone to develop the necessary skills on their own or hiring from outside the organization, offer your staff paid education and training courses. If you cover the cost, employees will be more likely to want to get involved. Plus, it can save you time and money from trying to hire and train someone who may not work out.
  • Understand your employees’ career goals: What part of your employee’s job interests them the most? Where do they see themselves in five or ten years? By asking questions, you gain greater insight into what they want and what steps you can take to foster their career development. Furthermore, this open communication lets your employee know they’re valued within the company, which helps with employee retention rates.
  • Be open to feedback: Oftentimes, employees may be too timid to be honest which holds back valuable information that can hurt the company. Regularly send out surveys that invite feedback, ask your employees to participate in internal leadership opportunities (i.e., wellness committee or plan social events for teams), and report back updates you’ve made each quarter based on what you’ve heard from your workforce.

Meet employees where they are

We’ve talked a lot so far about how to help your employees grow in their career, but what should you do if your employee is happy where they are? Just because they may not be interested in advancing their career to the next level, doesn’t mean you can’t (or shouldn’t) support them.

Meet them where they are. Instead of trying to convince them to accept a promotion or more responsibility, take proactive steps in enhancing their role in other ways, whether it be adding on additional perks and benefits, offering additional courses for them to enhance specific skills, or finding unique ways they can garner more enjoyment out of their role.

You might also consider giving them more responsibilities in ways that support organizational culture rather than a direct promotion they don’t want. For instance, ask if they would like to be a wellness champion, staff a job fair with the HR team, or provide a testimonial that can be used on your careers page.

This is a collaborative effort to work with the employee to find out what matters most to them. Try speaking with them to find out what they like most about their current role. If they enjoy data entry, for example, what projects can help expand upon their skillset and enjoyment level?

When it comes to managing employee retention, it’s not always about seeing how employees can get to the next level. Rather, it’s about identifying their current needs, future goals, and existing enjoyment level that foster positive retention rates and overall employee satisfaction rates.

Improving employee retention

As you plan for 2023 and set goals, start thinking through ways you can improve employee retention rates with these three tips.

By focusing on the employee, you can foster a healthier culture that will increase engagement, improve retention, and attract hires that are more likely to stay. If you are looking for additional ways to improve retention with a more robust benefits package that will support employees’ physical, mental, financial, and medical wellbeing (while creating connections), chat with the Burnalong team.

Together, we can reshape how HR supports workforces and helps employees thrive.

More about the author:

Shannelle Ogilvie, SHRM-SCP is an HR Business Partner helping growing teams hire and retain the right people for the right roles to move their business forward. She has worked with companies across various industries to improve their hiring, onboarding, and employee experiences. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

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