Editors Note: This guest post by Michael Klazema – lead author and Editor for Backgroundchecks.com. His opinions are his own.
High employee turnover is more than a challenge that businesses occasionally face. In most cases, high turnover is a sign that something is fundamentally wrong with a business. It might be company culture. It might be a mismatch between middling salaries and high expectations. It might be management techniques. It might be one toxic employee, poisoning the experience for everyone else.
Whatever the reason, solving high turnover issues should be a top priority for any business. Turnover hurts productivity and morale, eliminates consistency in the workplace, and costs money thanks to the expense of recruiting, hiring, and onboarding replacements. Strong employee retention, on the other hand, usually indicates a happy team and a bright future. Here are eight tactics that employers and managers can use to cut down on turnover problems.
Employee retention starts with hiring. Qualified employees who are a good fit with your company culture are more likely to stick around for the long term and make a positive impact while they’re there. Hiring managers can recognize their role in fighting turnover and hire more carefully. That doesn’t mean you second-guess yourself when you find someone you like. Instead, it means thoroughly vetting your hires—with detailed interview processes, criminal background checks, resume verifications, resume checks, and skills tests.
Money isn’t everything when it comes to employee retention, but it is a major factor. In 2014, Forbes reported that people who stay with the same employer for more than two years (on average) end up making 50% less in their lifetimes than those who hop from job to job.
Employers give their workers an average annual raise of about 3%. By contrast, professionals typically see pay increases of between 10% and 20% when making a move to a new company. Obviously, employers can’t afford to give every employee a 15% raise every year. However, if you want to keep your top talent, you need to give them financial motivation to stay. Reward good performance with big raises and you will lessen the pull of external opportunities.
If you can’t afford to give bigger raises every year, look at your company’s benefits package: 401(k) matching; lots of vacation; flexible work schedules; the ability to work remotely or from home; professional development opportunities. These benefits are hugely attractive and hugely beneficial to many professionals—particularly millennials. An employee thinking about leaving for a bigger salary might reconsider if she would be giving up these benefits.
While there are industries where people still work around the clock (particularly in technology), the workaholic lifestyle is dying in many circles. Most professionals want work-life balance. They want to spend time with their friends, be with their families, travel the world, and enjoy life. Promoting work-life balance in your office—with flexible start and end times, more vacation time, and clearer boundaries between work and home—can decrease stress levels and create happier employees.
The best managers are often the ones who provide support and guidance but know when to get out of their employees’ way. The worst managers are the ones who actively waste their employees’ time.
Cut down meetings—both in length and quantity—to make better use of time. Research conferences and other types of business travel thoroughly to determine if they are worthwhile. Keep one-on-ones brief if there is nothing that either party wants to talk about. Giving your employees the gift of extra time will make them feel more productive, fulfilled, and accomplished, which can lead to greater job satisfaction.
One of the biggest mistakes managers can make is equating laughter and fun with a lack of productivity. Just because your employees are having a good time doesn’t mean they aren’t taking things seriously. On the contrary, employees who feel like they can make friends and have a good laugh at work are less stressed, more passionate, and less likely to quit. If you want something to tie your employees to your company, friendships and human connections are more likely to do the trick than money, benefits, or convenience.
Every employee wants to feel direction and momentum in his or her job. A dead-end job is a temporary job. As such, if you want to fight employee turnover, you need to promote long-term growth and development.
Managers should sit down with every employee to discuss goals and expectations. Find out which skills or experiences a person wants to get out of their job and help them get there. Exposing your employees to new challenges and helping them find professional development courses relevant to their goals accomplishes two things.
First, you show your employees that you care about their growth. Second, your employees start treating your company as a place where they can grow and evolve instead of just a place to earn a paycheck. Both outcomes emphasize longer-term employment.
No one on the planet got into their industry of choice because they wanted to listen to their manager yell at them over a minor mistake. Managers need to be firm and authoritative, but they do not have to be disrespectful jerks. Control your temper, be constructive in your criticism, and stop taking bad days out on your employees. Managers who are friendly, helpful, and supportive almost always foster better employee retention than combative power-drunk dweebs.
You can’t keep every employee forever. Even 100% satisfied workers will eventually walk out the door, whether because they are moving away, retiring, or got an offer they couldn’t refuse from another employer. Many employers are losing people they don’t need to lose—often because they aren’t following one of these tips. Adhering to these golden rules will help your business retain more employees for longer while also creating a happier workplace.
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