It’s only natural that people change jobs. And throughout a pandemic, both employees and employers have changed their views on what factors contribute to retention in the workplace. Whether an organization is sourcing, onboarding, or upskilling an employee, keeping employee retention strategies at the forefront of the recruitment process is an excellent strategy for a productive, mutually respectful and loyal workforce.
As the world opens up again to a new normal, people are looking for new job opportunities and are confident to move roles and careers. Unemployment rose in 2020 and will remain high in 2021, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD), where people began to rate job security higher than job satisfaction. To avoid losing talent to competitors and ensuring you have the best employees in your industry, it’s crucial to appreciate the talent the business already has while onboarding new staff for long-term success.
The speed of employment is picking up again and the demand for talent has become worryingly competitive. Employees may be headhunted by competitors offering higher salaries, better benefits and attractive employment packages. It’s important to identify the top talent within your organization (hopefully that’s all your staff) and ensure that you do everything possible to keep them with you, content in their role.
Implementing a retention strategy should be in place as a preventative measure rather than a solution to something that has already happened and needs to be addressed. It will inspire employee and job candidate confidence and loyalty to know that they will be given opportunities to grow, get promoted and thrive within your organization.
New hires should be equipped with everything they need to know about their new role and where they fit within their new company from the get-go. This includes regular training and support, colleague and management check-ins (in-person or virtual), giving them a sense of value, purpose and participation. Relocation, verifying credentials remotely, culture shock, new colleagues and a lifestyle change are all part of the experience too. Ensuring a seamless and effective onboarding experience rules out any second thoughts while contributing to a prosperous employer branding strategy.
Whether it’s a manager or a colleague, pairing new hires and current employees with a peer or seasoned team member is an excellent way for mentees to learn the ropes and for mentors to see fresh viewpoints. Depending on the setup, these relationships can be conducted remotely or in person at regular intervals to provide value to both parties and the organization. Particularly for new hires, this experience is a critical element to the onboarding process.
Whether it’s an employee of the month initiative, career promotions, continuous professional development, upskilling or team bonding activities, it’s important to give back to employees for the value they contribute to your organization. Often a salary might not cut it. Candidates want to join companies for other reasons. Dedicated training days for upskilling, the reputable company culture, annual bonus or promotion, job benefits and flexibility, compensation, remote work options, paid parental leave, or meaningful social responsibility initiatives are great benefits to offer. Exciting activities and opportunities like these keep employees engaged, stimulated and increase morale. Offer what you can to ensure that organizations don’t poach your talent with better options, benefits and salaries.
Businesses that grow rapidly often experience a lot of change. It’s important that when faced with disruption or change, that the details and plans to adapt are communicated with your team. Take the mass exodus from office space to home office as an example. Managing staff expectations and keeping them as informed as possible will ease any stress or anxiety that comes with the new change of environment. Reassurance, insight and constant communication will allow you to navigate through these changes united.
5. Healthy Offerings
After a trying year of uprooted plans and uncertainty, it’s important to support employees and new hires mentally and physically. Prioritizing employee well-being is crucial to making them feel supported, as well as being beneficial for your organization. Depending on the budget, in-house counseling, fitness classes, healthy snacks, stress management offerings and space to take a moment throughout the day are all great ways to provide spaces for healthy minds and bodies.
This also covers a healthy work/life balance. Although job security has overstepped job satisfaction for many, a healthy work/life balance contributes to better job satisfaction. Employees who work from home are equally deserving of this opportunity as office staff are. Personal lives outside of work can also be stressful so compensating with time off or some recognition for working overtime to get a project over the line will make for a happier and more productive work environment.
6. Learning and Developing
Skills in demand are forever changing. Updated digital skills are desirable attributes to have for many reasons. Staying relevant, increasing efficiency and keeping up with technological changes and advancements with continuous learning and development will allow employees to adapt as businesses and their requirements evolve. Not only is it beneficial for employees, but recycling those skills back to your organization is incredibly valuable in staying competitive and having a reputation that talent will want to associate with.
7. Growing Internally
Focus on growing top talent from within. Develop your current workforce by creating clear career pathways to ensure resources are in place to diversify talent and to be better positioned for the future. This way, you can align strong talent with the relevant roles going forward. Create opportunities for newer employees to speak to their seasoned colleagues for mentoring and to gain a deeper understanding of the industry, the technology and to gain confidence in their roles. Continuous education, conferences and networking opportunities are just some great ways to advance and build leaders out of your current workforce.
8. Working Options
The newly adopted “anywhere workforce” (for those that can work from anywhere) has come with an abundance of benefits. So much so that 1 in 3 people who work remotely or from home would change companies if they were required to return to the office full time. However, if permanent remote work isn’t an option, ensure that if your industry can cater for it, you offer your new and existing employees other flexible work opportunities.
Regardless of the task or the milestone, recognition of achievements, big or small, should be marked. It doesn’t need to be a big fanfare every time, but marking a work anniversary, a completed team project, or getting something over the line ahead of time is a great way to keep morale high. Have a team Zoom call, send a note, pay for lunch, give a bonus or compensate your staff members in some way. A SurveyMonkey and Bonusly survey said that 63% of employees who are recognized are very unlikely to job hunt in the next 3-6 months. Feeling a sense of purpose, accomplishment and contribution through work and recognition is a great recipe for a happy and loyal employee.
The best way to retain your talent is to understand your employees’ needs and future goals and see how you can remain aligned with them. Listening to the source is invaluable and allows you to get a deep understanding of areas that need to be addressed and optimized. Inevitably people come and go, but supported and valued employees leave with a positive experience and might come back and work with you again.