All business leaders I meet seem to be facing some sort of staffing problem or another. It has become a common conversation subject. As I keep repeating, while recruiting new staff is important, retaining the good staff you already hold in your team is even more important.The challenge is severe. Many employers are presently seeing unprecedented levels of employee turnover. I believe that the current turmoil in the labour market isn’t likely to subside any time soon. This means that to recruit new employees it will likely take significantly longer than prior to the pandemic and many times well beyond the established notice period of the employee leaving. This yet again, pushes the argument in favour of bolstering employee retention while ramping up recruiting efforts.
Below are some actions that research is indicating to be effective with regards bolstering employee retention.
At the end of the day, people work to earn a living – to satisfy the lowest levels of Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs. So at the very basic level, employers need to make sure that their employees are paid enough that their wage is not a problematic consideration anymore. However, in addition to updating the overall compensation packages of team members, consider offering employees incentives that really make your team members appreciated and rewarded for their efforts. This could be in the form of one-time bonuses or other mechanisms. You may use this opportunity of reviewing and updating compensation packages to address any inequalities, with regards people who do similar jobs and having pay differences.
2. Provide opportunities to grow
Pretend your best people just handed in their resignation notices. How would you change their minds? Ask them, “If you could shape your dream job here what would it be?” Then look for ways to make it happen. Forward-thinking organisations have been doing retention interviews for the past months — asking each employee what it would take for them to stay – before they actually resign. You need to show current employees that you value them even more than potential new employees being employed, by providing them with new opportunities to grow and advance. Workers are hungry for this vote of confidence.
3. Bank on your purpose
Purpose is the timeless reason for which your business organisation exists. It should be the main reason why employees should join and choose to stay. Research shows amply that in turbulent times a belief in what an organisation is trying to achieve is even more important than in quieter periods. Proving to employees that there’s more to your organization than the bottom line is very strong retention tool – however it is not just about talking on this purpose but in actually using this purpose to shape what you do and how you do it. (Please read a recent Blog Article I published on Purpose)
4. Build Connections
As a business leader, you should give importance to making time to connect and build relationships with — and among — your people. Not only will this solidify their relationship with your business organisation, but research indicates that such a connection also has a significant positive impact on productivity.
5. Invest in taking care of your employees and their families
Beyond acknowledging the personal sacrifices your employees have made and are doing in these turbulent times during the pandemic – you need to show you care for your employees, with some initiatives that do not necessarily break the bank, whilst having a big positive impact. Initiatives like providing mental health resources, health insurance for the employee and their family members or helping parents with small children by providing or subsidising child care, beyond what is offered for free by government. The message is to do whatever is required to take care of your team members.
6. Embrace flexibility (not fight it)
The future of work is going to be providing flexible work environments in terms of place, time, job description and career paths. Embrace it. At the end of the day, you need to judge your employees by the value of their contribution and not the hours they spend in any particular place.
This leads also to a flexible mindset when it comes to recruiting people. Some requirements are so stringent that recruiting the ideal person becomes an unachievable quest. Consider employing candidates who don’t fit all of your profile if they have 75% of what you’re looking for. With the right mindset and support, people who come up a bit short on paper can learn what’s missing.
Recruiting is an expensive and time consuming exercise. Any funds invested in bolstering higher employee retention will pay dividends in a short period of time. We don’t have to resign ourselves to a continuing tide of resignations. Decisive action is what’s needed, and it’s needed now.