An employee quitting can feel like a breakup. You were both so excited when you met, had so many good times, and now it hurts to see them go! Of course, there are times where a relationship naturally runs its course and you wish each other the best. It’s nobody’s fault, it’s just time.
In the work world, that’s called retirement. If an employee is leaving for another position or for unemployment to cure burnout, it’s natural to start asking yourself questions like: How can we better meet our employees' needs? How can we make sure they are happy and engaged in their work?
The answer lies in your retention strategies. Retaining staff is a top priority for any workplace that wants to create a successful business. There is no one-size-fits-all solution here, but there are a few key tactics you can employ to ensure your employees stay happy and productive.
Employee Retention Strategies to Retain Top Talent
In today's competitive job market, employee retention is an important part of HR’s responsibilities.
The cost of replacing an employee is significant. First, there’s the time and resources it takes to find a new hire. It costs an average of six to nine months of an employee’s salary to replace them, according to an affiliate study with the Society for Human Resource Management. Then there’s the lost productivity and disrupted team dynamics. A department is likely to see a productivity drop when it loses a staffer from the start of the recruitment process through fully onboarding that new employee (and finding a new workflow that addresses the needs of this reshaped team).
This all makes frequent turnover an operational drag — and means boosting retention is a powerful way for an HR department to increase a company’s efficiency. Fortunately, there are plenty of strategies HR professionals can leverage to proactively develop and implement effective retention strategies across all levels of the organization.
Establish an Inclusive Company Culture
An inclusive company culture values diverse backgrounds and experiences and makes everyone feel like they belong. This sense of belonging nurtures a work environment where employees feel comfortable sharing their opinions and ideas. It can be fostered at every juncture of a company’s operations, from where and how you promote job openings to promoting open communication channels and hosting diversity and inclusion training for all team members.
These initiatives can lead to a quantifiable retention boost. After all, a company culture that recognizes, respects, and values employees as they are fosters loyalty that can translate into longevity. And employees without inclusion are already voting with their feet: Nearly a quarter of employees surveyed by Deloitte reported leaving a job because they did not feel included in the company culture, and 72% of workers say they’re willing to leave their current organization for one they believe is more inclusive.
Provide Professional Development Opportunities
Employees value upskilling opportunities that help them to keep up with industry trends and gain new abilities. Professional development also helps to increase confidence and motivation levels, which can lead to increased job satisfaction.
In fact, 61% of employees said that career development opportunities like learning new skills were the most important factor when considering staying at their current employer.
You can help pave the way for your staff's career advancements in many ways. Throughout the year, consider rotating through a mix of these initiatives:
- Mentorship programs for new or junior employees.
- Sponsorships and scholarships to conferences, workshops, and online courses.
- Webinars or seminars related to their roles.
- Monthly in-house training sessions for different departments.
- Industry networking events.
- Certifications or continuing education programs.
Implement a Wellness Program
Wellness programs provide employees with access to resources for both physical and mental wellbeing. Providing these types of resources can help staff members feel cared for by their employers, which can translate into higher employee retention rates.
Consider offering nutrition counseling, exercise classes, and preventive health screenings. To support mental wellness, consider stress management services such as meditation classes or adding mental health days to your sick leave policy.
Allow for Flexible Schedules
Time is our most valuable asset. When so much of it is spent at work, it's important to ensure employees feel like they have a certain degree of control over their time.
Flexible scheduling can give employees the freedom to balance their work and personal lives, helping to mitigate burnout. It helps show employees that you value their time and are willing to work with them to be productive, happy, and healthy. This, in turn, can encourage employee loyalty and reduce employee turnover rates.
Flexible work options can include:
- Hybrid or remote work arrangements
- Shorter days on specific days of the week
- Alternating schedules for parents
- Compressed workweeks
- Time off in lieu of overtime payments
As a bonus, a flexible workforce is not only more likely to stick around, they’re also more likely to do better work. Workers with flexible scheduling are more likely to be highly engaged with their work than those who don't have options, according to a Gallup study.
Plan Team-Building Exercises
Team-building activities allow employees to have fun together while building trust. This builds group relationships, and employees who are emotionally connected to their company are less likely to leave their job.
Fun team-building exercises you can deploy as part of your employee retention strategy include:
- Team Challenges: Design interactive tasks such as building towers with limited materials or brainstorming silly company logo ideas.
- Charitable Work: Volunteer at local charities together to create positive experiences and strengthen community ties.
- Escape Rooms: Engage in problem-solving activities as teams work together to solve puzzles that allow them to find their way out of a “sealed” room.
- Creative Workshops: Host painting, pottery, or cooking classes that get employees interacting in novel ways.
- Trivia Contests: Test your team's knowledge of current events, pop culture, and trivia facts with fun quiz competitions.
Offer Benefits and Perks
Benefits like health insurance or 401(k) plans are important for retaining your best employees. Seventy-eight percent of employees say their employer must have a benefits package, according to a survey conducted by MetLife.
If you don't already, consider offering a robust benefits package that helps reduce financial stress for your employees. This includes:
- Coverage of health insurance plans
- Retirement savings options
- Paid vacation and sick days
- Performance bonuses
- Parental leave policies
- Tuition reimbursement programs
Moreover, offering non-traditional perks such as gym memberships or pet insurance can also positively affect employee morale. A survey by Trinet found a trending increase in the importance of non-traditional perks, such as discounted free catered lunches or bringing in your pet to work.
Start a Recognition Program
Employee recognition programs give employees well-deserved acknowledgment for their hard work and accomplishments. This can increase personal satisfaction and pride in their work. Moreover, implementing an effective recognition program can help organizations mitigate the estimated $322 billion cost of global turnover and lost productivity each year, according to a Gallup Wellbeing & Workplace study.
Depending on your company's guidelines and budget for this program, you might include a mix of tangible rewards and public acknowledgment. You can recognize employees with compensation such as gift cards, bonuses, or extra paid time off. Or you can announce exciting milestones such as anniversaries or promotions on social media channels or internal emails.
Leverage Exit Interviews
Exit interviews are a great way to gather valuable employee feedback about what can be improved at your organization. After all, there is always a reason somebody chooses to leave their job, and you can’t know what it is if you don’t ask. These conversations can help you uncover potential gaps in your initiatives to increase employee retention, especially if similar reasons come up in multiple discussions. This data can help you make informed decisions about adjusting and improving your hiring process, workplace policies, and overall culture.
Boost Retention Through Employee Wellness
At the end of the day, keeping employees at your organization is about keeping them happy. People don’t leave jobs where they’re comfortable, well-compensated, fulfilled, and experiencing a healthy work environment. There’d be no reason to give that up!
Supporting your workforce’s wellbeing can be a powerful way to make all of that a reality at your organization. Seventy-eight percent of workers believe their wellbeing is just as important as their salary, and 70% of workers would consider leaving a company that doesn’t focus on employee wellbeing. A wellbeing program systematizes that support, which can translate into increased employee satisfaction and retention.
If you need help designing a workplace that prioritizes mental and physical wellness, speak to a Gympass wellbeing specialist today!
- Employee Recognition: Low Cost, High Impact. (June 28, 2016). Gallup. Retrieved April 12, 2023 from https://www.gallup.com/workplace/236441/employee-recognition-low-cost-high-impact.aspx.
- Essential Elements of Employee Retention. (October 29, 2017). Lynchburg Regional SHRM. Retrieved April 12, 2023 from https://lrshrm.shrm.org/blog/2017/10/essential-elements-employee-retention.
- How to Encourage Employees to Pursue Professional Development. (February 1, 2023). BNB. Retrieved on April 12, 2023 from https://www.businessnewsdaily.com/10092-encourage-professional-development.html.
- Human capital at work: The value of experience. (June 2, 2022). McKinsey. Retrieved April 12, 2023 from https://www.mckinsey.com/capabilities/people-and-organizational-performance/our-insights/human-capital-at-work-the-value-of-experience.
- Is Working Remotely Effective? Gallup Research Says Yes. (January 24, 2020). Gallup. Retrieved April 12, 2023 from https://www.gallup.com/workplace/283985/working-remotely-effective-gallup-research-says-yes.aspx.
- Making Work Less Stressful and More Engaging for Your Employees. (November 5, 2019). HBR. Retrieved April 12, 2023 from https://hbr.org/2019/11/making-work-less-stressful-and-more-engaging-for-your-employees.
- New Gallup Wellbeing and Workplace Study Finds Employee Recognition Can Help Mitigate $322 Billion Cost of Global Turnover and Lost Productivity. (October 6, 2022). PR Newswire. Retrieved April 12, 2023 from https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/new-gallup-wellbeing-and-workplace-study-finds-employee-recognition-can-help-mitigate-322-billion-cost-of-global-turnover-and-lost-productivity-301642022.html.
- Seventy-Two Percent of Working Americans Surveyed Would or May Consider Leaving an Organization for One They Think is More Inclusive, Deloitte Poll Finds. (June 7, 2017). Cision PR Newswire. Retrieved April 12, 2023 from https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/seventy-two-percent-of-working-americans-surveyed-would-or-may-consider-leaving-an-organization-for-one-they-think-is-more-inclusive-deloitte-poll-finds-300469961.html.
- The Advantages of Employee Care: Creating human-centric employee experiences and work environments. (2023). MetLife. Retrieved April 12, 2023 from https://www.metlife.com/content/dam/metlifecom/us/noindex/pdf/ebts-2023/MetLife_EBTS_2023.pdf.
- TriNet Survey Highlights Increasing Importance of Non-Traditional Benefits as Unemployment Rates Remain Low. (August 29, 2018). Trinet. Retrieved April 12, 2023 from https://www.trinet.com/about-us/news-press/press-releases/trinet-survey-highlights-increasing-importance-of-non-traditional-benefits-as-unemployment-rates-remain-low-.
- Unleashing the power of inclusion: Attracting and engaging the evolving workforce. Deloitte. Retrieved April 12, 2023 from https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/us/Documents/about-deloitte/us-about-deloitte-unleashing-power-of-inclusion.pdf
The Gympass Editorial Team empowers HR leaders to support worker wellbeing. Our original research, trend analyses, and helpful how-tos provide the tools they need to improve workforce wellness in today's fast-shifting professional landscape.