Happy employees during their office break

Employee turnover costs businesses a lot. Yet, several companies, including big and small, face increasing staff retention and turnover problems. Since the post-pandemic recovery began in 2021, a whopping 4.5 million American workers have resigned from their jobs. This trend was mirrored, albeit on a smaller scale, across the European countries.

During the third quarter of 2021, the number of resignations reached a record peak in France, the highest since 2007. The rate of job hopping in the United Kingdom touched an all-time high between October and December 2021. Driven by a cost of living crisis and inflation, many employees are still thinking of resigning from their jobs and even doing it the moment they get better-paid jobs.

Pandemic-induced changes in workplace expectations, growing remote work opportunities, a competitive job market, and an increasing focus on work-life balance are other factors fuelling high Employee turnover rates.  

This trend doesn’t show any indication of slowing down soon, making it increasingly challenging for many companies to attract and retain new talent. Gartner predicts that employee annual voluntary turnover in the US is likely to jump almost 20% this year, from a pre-pandemic yearly average of 31.9 million employees resigning from their jobs to 37.4 million quitting in 2022. When an employee decides to quit, it does a lot more than just causing a temporary internal disruption.

It adversely affects the rest of your staff’s morale, can create problems with client projects the person was handling and costs a lot to hire and train a new employee to fill the vacant position. It also damages your employer branding as you are perceived as a high-turnover company, which may trigger further resignations.

Some studies forecast that every time a company replaces a salaried worker, it costs them 6 to 9 months’ salary on average. For instance, if a manager makes EUR 1,20,000 a year, that’s EUR 60,000 to EUR 90,000 in recruiting and training expenses. However, it’s vital to remember that turnover tends to differ by role and salary of the employees.

Some companies may even experience a domino effect from the resignation of a single employee. For instance, when an employee resigns, the workload for the rest of the team goes up, which often triggers a decline in morale, company culture, and eventually, performance.

Does it mean there’s no way to beat this trend? No, there is a way for sure!

As a business owner, you need to ensure your employees’ happiness and satisfaction to prevent them from looking elsewhere for a new opportunity. And that’s exactly why you need to consider some effective employee retention strategies in 2022.

It will help to remember that the key to successful employee retention is understanding what your employees value the most at their workplace and acting on it. You should also make them feel heard and included. It’s equally essential to continually evolve and get creative with your employee retention strategies to ensure they align with your employees’ expectations and meet their needs.

Unsure about where to begin or the way to plan effective employee retention strategies? We bring you help by putting together the top eight employee retention strategies you should consider in 2022.

1.     Hire Right

This is the first step in employee retention. When you hire the right employees, it affects retention and even your business success. It’s crucial to assess your business needs and what your team requires before you start looking for candidates to hire.

From drafting job descriptions to screening the candidates and conducting interviews, you should ensure utmost transparency, as it’s vital to finding the best-fit employee for your company. Several new hires say they would have stayed at a job longer if they had better information about their roles and responsibilities during the hiring process. Therefore, it pays to be honest about what your expectations are from new hires and not omit important details just to fill the vacant posts faster.

When you invest adequate time to recruit and interview candidates thoroughly, it’ll ensure that there aren’t any surprises around the corner, and both the candidate and you are a right fit for each other.

2.     Have a User-Friendly Onboarding Process

Onboarding is a crucial component of an effective employee retention strategy. It’s your company’s golden ticket to showcase its corporate culture and make new hires feel energized to be part of a winning team.

Whether your company has an in-person or virtual onboarding process, ensuring it’s user-friendly and comprehensive sets the tone for the new employee’s tenure and plays a decisive role in employee engagement and experience.

With a thorough and inclusive onboarding experience, you can make new hires feel that their decision to join your company was right. This will increase their chances of sticking with the job and not jumping ship any time soon.

Onboarding is a vital period for making your employees feel included. It also influences how their journey will be with your company. Thus, it’s important to ensure that you aren’t simply conveying to them their job roles and responsibilities but also sharing the company culture with them.

3.     Create Professional Development Opportunities for Your Employees

Did you know the following?

  • Companies with strong learning cultures have 30-50% higher retention rates than their counterparts who don’t.
  • 70% of employees would be fairly likely to quit their present jobs to work for an organization that spends on employee development and learning.
  • Employers can keep 86% of millennials from leaving their present position by offering them training and development opportunities.

Creating a culture of learning and putting in money for your employee’s professional development are vital factors that help retain them. Instead of considering such expenses as costs, you should see them as business investments that will bring significant results.

For one, with an agile learning culture, you can empower employees to demonstrate their ability to quickly adapt to new environments, market demands, and protocols. This, in turn, will let your business stay relevant and a few steps ahead of the competition.

Supporting and facilitating your employees’ upskilling needs or sponsoring them to attend refresher courses, workshops, training sessions, bootcamps, etc., are other ways in which you can invest in their professional development and leadership skills, thus giving them a big reason to stay.  

4.     Review Management Skills and Feedback of Managers Periodically

You must have heard the saying: People leave managers, not companies.

Since your company’s management affects the level of engagement of your employees, how the managers treat their teams and the individual members are likely to decide how long those people will stay at your company.

It pays to hire your managers right. If you choose the wrong individual as your manager, nothing will fix that bad decision. Not salary, not benefits, not compensation – nothing!

But the biggest question is – what exactly do employees hate about their managers?

Let’s dig a little deeper to find the answers.

Sometimes, obvious transgressions by managers like discriminating, making informal threats, or inappropriate advances could drive your employees away. But there could also be more subtle reasons too that drive employees to leave their managers. From feeling micromanaged and lacking growth opportunities to not getting credit and appreciation where they are due, the reasons for quitting could vary.

To retain your employees, you and your managers need to pinpoint the employees’ biggest pain points and address them proactively. Instead of depending just on an annual review, you can collect anonymous feedback regularly to know your employees’ true intent and problems. Ensure they are comfortable sharing feedback, and you promptly act on them.

It’s also crucial to review your managers’ management skills and train them periodically to ensure they don’t end up driving away your company’s top talents. Above all, you shouldn’t take too long to address your employees’ problems and concerns. Else, they will consider it an indication of their issues not being treated as a priority and believe it’s time to explore other career opportunities.

5.     Offer Attractive Benefits

A competitive salary alone won’t help you retain your top talents. From vacation days and health insurance to paid sick days, performance bonuses, wellness programs, flexible work options, and retirement plans, attractive benefits are becoming increasingly important to employees. You can offer them, in addition to competitive pay, to retain your employees.

Be it counselling and therapy, medical, vision, and dental insurance, complimentary meals, discounted club and gym memberships, or even perks as subtle as free parking, a wide range of benefits will make employees feel taken care of and valued, which will encourage them to stay.

A 2021 survey by Workhuman found 66% of respondents waiting to review their company’s new benefits offering before deciding if they should stay or quit. The scenario hasn’t changed much today, as offering competitive benefits could just tip the scales in your favour and make your employees stay instead of having one foot out the door.

Probably your company already offers certain benefits, but you need to ask if they are the right ones and align with what your employees really want. If you aren’t sure, you can conduct a survey to understand what your employees think is important to them. You may be surprised at the results such a survey yields.

You may even realize that you spend significant money on benefits your employees don’t find useful or important. This can help you tweak them to ensure the benefits appeal to your employees and help them stay in the long run.

Happy employees at work

6.     Monitor turnover risks

According to a 2021 Gartner research, 1 in 5 employees, on average, is actively seeking a new job. If you anticipate turnover hitting your company, it’s vital to assess the risks so you can plan and mitigate their effect on business continuity and results, and even implement employee retention strategies.

Employee retention isn’t something that you achieve once and then stop working on. You need to constantly monitor your turnover risks, keep an eye on both voluntary and involuntary turnover, and review if your turnover rates are healthy in terms of the industry you serve.

It’s important to remember that turnover rates vary across industries and verticals. Thus, having the proper benchmark is vital when reviewing your company’s turnover rates.

Unless you monitor your turnover risks and communicate with your employees regularly, you won’t notice the red flags and could fail to meet their expectations. It’s crucial to try to find out the employees’ pain points and address them fast. From a toxic manager or coworker to a poor pay package, work that goes unrecognised and unawarded, and poor employee engagement, the reasons for a high turnover rate could be many.

You should also find the causes of employee departure, try to resolve them, and even detect if your existing workforce is currently happy at your company. All these are important steps to make your employees stick to your company and not look for opportunities elsewhere.

7.     Ensure Appreciation and Recognition for Your Employees

This is an easy strategy to tackle turnover rates and make your employees stay. Even something as simple as a “Thank You” note or a few words of appreciation — either written or spoken— for the work employees do every day can go a long way in making them feel acknowledged and appreciated.

Giving employees new work opportunities or added responsibilities (without overwhelming them) are other great ways to recognize their good work. A manager’s positive feedback also goes a long way in making employees feel happy and engaged. The feedback from colleagues is equally impactful.

Be it awards in cash or kind, timely appreciation, or recognising work the employees put in, everything has a significant impact on making employees want to stay at their current company longer.

Well-timed appreciation and recognition are vital, as they help build an environment that attracts and retains the best talent. When managers or the company’s top bosses recognise and appreciate their contributions and achievements, no matter how big or small, employees feel motivated and appreciated. This can foster a positive work environment with a strong culture of caring and trust that encourages people to continue working at their present company, irrespective of whether your business is passing through a difficult phase or enjoying good times.

8.     Avoid Making Your Employees Feel Overwhelmed and Overworked

A 2016 global study by WHO, a first of its kind, found long working hours triggered stroke and heart disease that claimed 7,45,000 lives!

The research also revealed these shocking facts:

  • Working 55 hours or more weekly was linked to a 35% higher danger of stroke and a 17% higher threat of dying from heart disease, compared with a 35 to 40-hour working week.
  • Almost three-quarters of those who died due to working long hours were men in their middle ages or older.
  • Often, people died much later in life, sometimes decades later, than the long hours they worked.

We don’t want to scare you with these disturbing statistics. But there’s no denying that overworked employees are under tremendous stress, which often manifests as various physical ailments, and could even claim lives.

In the post-pandemic era, where organisations are increasingly focusing on their employees’ health and wellness and a job market having a high demand for talented workers, top professionals are unwilling to tolerate work conditions that make them overwhelmed and overworked.

If you believe overworking employees is a smart management strategy, know that it isn’t. Research proves that productivity takes a nosedive for every additional hour after a certain point. Additionally, overworked and stressed employees fall ill more frequently and commit mistakes that can cost your company dearly.

This is an unsustainable environment. Though you may get some short-term wins, it will hurt employee job satisfaction, trigger burnout and frustration, and eventually make employees leave. Those who quit are likely to share their negative experiences with other potential candidates or on social networks, thus denting your corporate image irrevocably.

It becomes vital to notice the signs that your employees are overworked, such as leaving the workplace late at night, lamenting about missing family events, etc. And if you spot such signs, you should implement an open and direct dialogue system between employees and their managers, where employees can freely speak their minds about their unmanageable workloads and seek the support they need.

Encouraging employees to take vacations (or workations) and use their unused paid time off, as well as hiring additional employees, are other ways to prevent them from being overworked and leaving the company.

Final Words

There are various ways to retain employees, including

  • hiring right
  • having a comprehensive and user-friendly onboarding process
  • giving them adequate learning and professional development opportunities
  • reviewing your managers’ conduct
  • offering attractive benefits together with a competitive pay
  • monitoring turnover risks
  • ensuring timely appreciation and recognition
  • not making them feel overwhelmed and overworked 

Additionally, regular and effective communication to build trust and help employees strike a work-life balance are other ways to ensure your employees stay happy and satisfied with your company. And when you retain your employees, you steer clear of steep recruitment costs and preserve valuable knowledge that a new hire can’t replace. Additionally, you protect your employer branding by making sure those who quit only have good things to say about your company.

What other employee retention strategies will you consider in 2022?

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