The Four Pillars of Employee Retention

The numbers are bleak. Turnover is now at its highest level since 2008. Almost a third of workers leave their job before reaching the half-year mark. The cost of replacing an employee can exceed 200% of their annual salary. And according to a recent Gallup study, 87% of people are disengaged from their work.

When it comes to your company’s workforce, hiring the right people is only half the battle. Being able to retain your top talent is where the real return on investment is made. Unfortunately, for too many business owners and managers in small startups and large corporations alike, employee retention efforts are oftentimes based primarily on items related to compensation. While this is undoubtedly an important factor for many workers, research shows that getting someone to stay at your company goes well beyond just incentivizing them with more money.

So what’s the solution? Here are four vital factors that need to be taken into consideration when developing a retention strategy:

Make sure they are a good culture fit

Retaining employees starts before they’re even hired. Every company has its identity and making sure someone’s personality aligns with the vision and core values may mean passing on someone who has all the skills and experience needed but doesn’t fit with the culture you are trying to create. Implementing hiring strategies such as outlining the company culture in the job description and including interview questions related to soft skills will make a big difference toward fostering a collaborative, positive environment that draws people toward your company instead of driving them away.

Opportunities to learn and advance

The desire to learn and grow is an innate quality in each one of us. So it’s no surprise that the number one reason people change jobs is for career advancement. Investing in your employees is a continual process, one that should include regular training opportunities such as leadership programs, conferences and courses to help build the knowledge and skill set needed to excel on the job. A stagnant work environment is a surefire way to lose good talent and a recent study showed that over 40% of workers who changed jobs would’ve stayed if their employer had done something. No one wants to be stuck in a dead-end job!

Flexible work hours and a good work-life balance

While putting in 80-hour weeks may be a badge of honor for some, the reality is that most people value their lives outside of work. This is especially true of millennials, who now make up the largest segment of the working population. In a firmwide survey of millennials by PWC, 95% of respondents said that work-life balance was important to them. And in a recent FlexJobs survey, it was ranked the most important factor for millennials when evaluating a job prospect (84 percent). Flexible work hours and conditions should also be considered, as this can help alleviate the feeling of a 9-5 grind. Of course, putting parameters in place is wise and oftentimes necessary, but giving the option to work from home once a week, for instance, can go a long way in increasing an employee’s overall job satisfaction.

Appreciation for a job well done

Simply put, people want to be recognized for their accomplishments. It feels good and helps validate their efforts. It may seem insignificant but more than enough research proves it’s essential for keeping your employees around and boosting productivity. A recent Globoforce study found that 85% of workers like to have their efforts recognized and 69% say they would work harder if their efforts were better appreciated. And while there are many employee recognition services that can help foster appreciation with different tools, sometimes a simple “nice job” can work wonders.

Retaining good talent is no easy task and can’t be solved overnight. Knowing what employees truly value in a job, however, is a crucial first step toward fixing the problem and creating a thriving workplace.

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