A Guest Post By Molly Edwards
One of the most challenging and frustrating parts of being an employer is the hiring process. This is especially difficult when it’s due to quality employees leaving for better opportunities. While companies’ cannot always be ‘best’ in the employer competition, employee retention is a skill. And like all skills, it must be worked at. In order to form both a successful business and team, continuity is key. There are many strategies in place that work to keep employees at their positions. Some of which work better in some industries and others that are more universal. Ultimately, the goal is to find what works best for your business.
Salary and Benefits
The most obvious method of retaining employees is offering a competitive salary. Realistically, most people work to make a living and support themselves and their families. While there are those who work purely for passion, they are few and far between. A Glassdoor survey found that 45% of employees who quit, left for salary-related reasons. Increasing salaries, offering financial incentives, or creating a bonus schedule are all methods of appearing more attractive to your employees. This being said, not all companies can afford to increase their salaries. To compensate, the other option is to increase benefits. While some benefits come with financial costs, e.g. health insurance and 401K match programs, others are relatively inexpensive to implement. In a recent study, 49% of employees said they prefer a hybrid schedule over a full-in-office position. Additionally, 1 in 3 employees said they look for a new job if required to work in person. Flexible schedules are inexpensive for offices to implement. In fact, a reduced number of employees in offices could allow for building downsizes which would save on other expenses.
If this past year taught us anything, it is that wellness matters. Not just physical health, but mental health as well. While standard health insurance is still greatly appreciated by all those who are employed, that is the bare minimum in terms of perks these days. Stress has an immense impact on the body in nearly every facet. It affects sleep, emotional stability, physical health, and even oral health. Providing employees with access to counselors, therapists, and psychiatrists not only helps their mental health but helps the company as well. Happy and stable employees perform better than those who suffer from unaided mental health struggles. Research shows that 86% of employees who were treated for depression and depression-related issues reported improved work performance. Adding more sick days to account for mental health days legitimizes mental health issues as equal to other ailments. When promoting your company culture, include mental health resources and benefits. Employees who feel like their employer cares about their mental stability are more likely to stay than those who do not. In fact, a 2019 study shows that in 1,500 respondents, 33% said they have left a position in part due to mental health struggles.
Recognition and Rewards
Aside from increased salaries and benefits, the number one driver for employee retention is recognition. In a study conducted by O.C. Tanner, 37% of employees said that more personal recognition would cause them to produce better work more consistently. With that, feedback, affirmation, and reward were the most effective methods of producing a culture of recognition. Too often, especially in larger companies, employees feel overlooked and undervalued in the workplace. While teamwork is a common value amongst major organizations, it should not be the end all be all. Valuing team accomplishments and recognizing individual efforts are not mutually exclusive, nor do they need to be. Exemplifying a specific employee’s work does not undo the work of the team. There are a series of strategies that a company can implement to be more effective in its employee recognition. The first being timeliness matters. Recognition that comes too long after the fact is not nearly as effective or well-received as one that is prompt. It not only values an employee’s work right after it happens, but it shows the company values the accomplishment enough that its recognition takes priority. Therefore, it is important to pay attention to each employee as soon as they achieve certain goals, and service awards for employees will especially boost company morale and motivate them to work more productively. It is also important to note, recognition does not always mean financial compensation. While that is a method, it is not the only one. Taking the time to understand how your employees prefer to give and receive appreciation. Especially if you do not have the funds to constantly give out bonuses, there are other, just as meaningful rewards.
Be A Brand People Want To Be Apart Of
As younger generations begin to take over the workforce, the priorities of potential employees are beginning to change. We are in an age of activism, where employees want to work for companies with strong morals and values. Companies that work to better the community around them are becoming more and more desirable. Whether that is through charitable donations, local community centers, and advocates for major issues like the environment or equality. Building a brand identity based on activism is a major point of attraction. Think Patagonia and its unwavering stance on all things sustainability. When you become a brand that people want to be a part of, your job to keep employees gets much easier. Employers who show that they care about the world they’re in and work to be a solution more than a problem are ones that attract the new wave of workers. Now more than ever, employees are so much more than cogs in a machine. They are living and breathing people who care about what they do, who they do it with, and who they do it for. Be the company that they want to work for.
Also published on Medium.