Employers can’t afford to have high turnover, which is why employee retention is so important
CREDIT: This is an edited version of an article that originally appeared on Organisation News Daily
Employee turnover doesn’t come cheap, and can happen even in bad economic times – if you want evidence of this, just look at Amazon. During the first few months of the COVID-19 pandemic the organisation’s turnover rate among frontline workers was double the industry average, The Seattle Times reported. This may not have hurt the e-commerce giant, but high turnover can put a serious dent in the finances of an organisation – in fact, replacing just one individual can cost one-half to two times the employee’s annual salary, according to 2019 research from Gallup.
In order to retain employees, organisations need to do more than offer competitive salaries and benefits; they also have to keep employees happy and engaged. How to do that depends on your organisation and budget.
Four ways to retain employees
Employee retention is very important for small organisations because it’s very costly and time-consuming to replace staff members, and it can hurt the remaining employees’ productivity when people leave the organisation and the positions remain unfilled.
“The cost of recruiting people is steep, in addition to the opportunity cost as a key position remain opens,” Rhiannon Staples, chief marketing officer at Hibob, told Organisation News Daily. “That team is not performing optimally.”
There are several effective strategies for keeping employees, and most of them are free or inexpensive. Here are four ways to improve employee retention.
Keep employees engaged
One of the worst things for employee morale and productivity is boredom. If an employee has a mundane job, and no opportunities for excitement, they’ll become dissatisfied and more likely to leave the organisation.
“The key tenant of retention is making sure you have highly engaged employees, day in and day out,” says Traci Fiatte, CEO of professional and commercial staffing at Randstad US. “Many organisations have very quick and easy weekly, biweekly or monthly employee surveys to gauge how employees are feeling.”
These questionnaires can be short and quick to complete; the idea is to spot any issues – and respond to them – before they lead to engagement problems.
Give them clear growth opportunities
To keep employees over the long haul, organisations have to provide opportunities for them to grow. Employers also need to make sure they’re getting the word out about these opportunities; it’s important for employees to understand how they’ll grow, even in tumultuous times, Rhiannon explains.
“You have to create new opportunities within the workplace to utilise employees’ other strengths,” agrees Angela Simpson, an HR knowledge advisor at the Society for Human Resource Management. “You have to make it interesting, so they aren’t looking elsewhere for development and growth opportunities.”
Make them feel valued
An organisation is only good as its employees – and that means everyone in the organisation. Showing employees they matter boosts morale and gives them purpose. “You have to make sure everyone in the organisation, no matter the job, understands how important their job is to the total,” says Traci.
If employees know the organisation cannot function without them, they’ll feel a lot better about coming to work every day, she adds. It’s about connecting the person’s job to the value it brings the organisation,” she said.
A free and easy way to help employees feel valued is to say thank you. As simple as it sounds, it is not a given in many organisations. “To me, that is the missing link,” Traci says. “You can never say ‘Thank you’ enough.”