5 Steps to Develop a Strategic Approach to Improve Employee Retention

Unemployment is at an all-time low which means that employers must be extra diligent to retain their employees. Workers can take the time to search for new opportunities to challenge them and give them exactly what they want in a job. It’s time to create a strategic approach to improve employee retention in your organization. 

State of the Workplace 

Work Insitute’s 2019 Retention Report discovered that 3 in 4 employees who could have been retained by their employers. They found that some of the top reasons that employees quick their jobs were:

                  Opportunity for Career Development 

                  Better Work-Live Balance 

                  Manager Behavior 

                  Better Compensation and Benefits 

                  Personal Well-Being 

                  Job Characteristics 

                  Unhappy with the Work Environment 

The good news is these are all things that we can work on within our organizations. We have to be better and be committed to retain and engage our employees. We all know that employee turnover is VERY expensive. The Work Institute estimates that it costs around $15,000 to lose a worker in the United States, and that is a conservative estimate. So why isn’t employee retention a top priority for all organizations? 

Employee Retention Strategies 

It’s vital that key leaders in every organization understand that there is a problem and that it CAN be fixed. Developing a strategic approach is the first step to resolving retention issues. Retention is at the core of many other problems that if you work on fixing it you will alongside be improving engagement all the while attracting top talent 

  1. 1. Identify the problem 

When developing any strategy to improve business outcome it’s important to fully identify the problem. This means getting any key decision-makers identified, clearly lay out goals, and also assess where your company is currently at and benchmark key performance indicators. 

Calculate Your Employee Turnover RateEmployee Turnover Rate Calculation

2. Get Employee Feedback 

There is no better way to determine why your employees leave then to actually ask them. They know their reasons better than anyone else. It’s important to conduct exit interviews to reveal the real reasons why they are leaving your organization. Beyond exit interviews, it’s important to reach out to your current workforce and see what the state of engagement is by sending out an employee engagement surveyIdentifying the cause of turnover before it happens is the BEST way to combat it and improve employee retention. Make employee retention a proactive strategy instead of reactive to reduce turnover. 

  1. 3. Analyze 

The results of the exit interviews and employee engagement surveys should be reviewed by leadership and HR professionals. The top information you will want to pull out will be: 

                                     Reasons for Leaving 

                                     Turnover Risks 

                                     Strengths and Weaknesses 

                                     State of Engagement 

                                     Employees at Risk 

  1. 4. Plan and Implement 

Now that you’ve assessed the current state of your workforce it’s time to make some change based on the evidence you’ve found! You’ll need to create a strategy that encompasses all the areas you identified as your weaknesses while keeping up with your current strengths. Some Ideas on how to combat different issues are:

  •     Career Development: Identify areas that employees want to grow in and provide them opportunities to get there. Reward them for obtaining new skills and for their accomplishments. To finish it off, be very transparent with your hiring. Show what positions you are hiring for and promote hiring from within first before looking at outside candidates. 

  •     Manager Behavior: It’s no surprise that employees don’t leave jobs, they leave bosses. It’s important to focus on developing trust in leadership. Build trust through continual feedbacklistening, and communication. Be encouraging and recognize employees for what they do good to reinforce positive behavior instead of pointing out the negative. 

  •     Well-Being: Put employees' health and well-being first. Promote healthy behaviors throughout the office through wellness programs. Reward healthy behaviors like eating healthy and activity levels. 

  •     Job Characteristics: People want to find meaning in their work. We want to know that our efforts are helping the company's success. Be transparent and create rewarding work for your employees. Hear them out and find out what they are passionate about and give them opportunities for achievement. Recognize their contribution to your bottom line and let them know they are appreciated.  

  1. 5. Continuing the Conversation 

This strategic plan isn’t a one-time thing. It’s a continual conversation and effort between leadership and employees. Continue getting feedback from exit interviews and employee engagement surveys. Analyze those results and adjust your plan as necessary. Being a better employer is a commitment and an ongoing effort. We are excited you are taking your first step towards improving retention in your organization!

To learn more about Retention Strategies and the state of the workplace check out the Work Institute 2019 Retention Report 

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