Employee retention: How and why to enhance the staff’s value in the company
Retaining employees has become increasingly important for companies in a time marked by Great Resignation and the search for one’s purpose. Let’s find out how to do this in this article.
In the intelligent and painstaking work of our eight hundred workmen, in the methodical and unceasing study of our fifteen engineers, is the certainty of progress which animates us. The loyalty of our workers is our highest asset.
This was said many years ago by a man and entrepreneur of the calibre of Adriano Olivetti, and it still holds true today: employees are the highest “asset” for companies.
And while all the strategies of Talent Acquisition and employer branding are being implemented, what must never be overlooked are the people “in house”. Whether they were hired decades ago or have been in the company for less than 12 months, it doesn’t matter, but we can consider them as a fundamental part of our company and do everything possible not only to satisfy them, but also to “retain” them.
In the HR world, all this not only has a name, employee retention, but it also involves a whole series of actions that lead Human Resources not only to look outwards, but also to continuously monitor the inside.
- What is employee retention
- Employee retention strategies
- Why you should improve your employee retention in 2023
- How ATS software can help employee retention
What is employee retention
By employee retention, then, we mean the process by which a company ensures that its employees do not leave the company to pursue other work opportunities or for personal reasons. The opposite of employee retention is staff turnover, and it goes without saying that the two are intimately linked. Each company has a variable retention rate, given by the percentage of employees who remain in the company for a given period, which can be a year. To understand it better: a percentage could be obtained as follows: if the organization has a workforce of 1000 people and at the end of the year 550 remained (excluding new hires), the retention rate is 55% given by 550/1000 x 100.
Of course, beyond the numbers, it is necessary to work on the reasons why an employee may leave, which can be very different.
An employee may leave the company for personal reasons, such as if he or she is married and is forced to follow his or her spouse who is relocating for work, especially if higher earnings are expected. If the company does not have a nearby location, in the same city as the relocation, or does not provide the option of smart working at least half the week, it is very likely that the employee will leave. In such a situation, therefore, there is little you can do to retain him.
Another case might be an employee who made a very early career move and now sees no new opportunities and finds the whole environment unchallenging.
This is a person who could become a good passive candidate for other companies, and therefore needs to be involved by working on employee engagement, if of course it is realized in time.
Employee retention strategies
In order to avoid this and other situations, it is necessary to pay particular attention to the so-called premonitory signs such as low productivity and motivation, frequent complaints as well as continuous requests, lack of openness to collaboration, reluctance towards novelty – not to mention total rejection -, early exits, continuous leave, delays, references to those who have already left the company.
All this makes it clear how important it is to think about employee retention strategies. Let’s see what they are.
How? We talk about retaining employees and we talk about hiring? We’re obviously not straying from the topic, but the choice of who to hire is fundamental to employee retention. In fact, we are also talking about employee recruitment strategy, i.e. a structured action plan to effectively and efficiently identify talent, attract candidates and engage the most suitable ones. An action plan can be strategic for a number of reasons, including cost savings and less effort and time to retain people.
As the Wall Street Journal suggests, to reduce staff turnover and choose the right people, you need to start by interviewing candidates carefully, not only to verify that they have the right skills, but also to see how well they fit into the company’s culture, managers and existing employees.
In all of this, data are of enormous value, and a contribution during the interviews to collect them in the best possible way and to match what has been said with the objective to be reached comes from an ATS software such as Inrecruiting, but we will talk about this in an ad hoc paragraph.
Still staying in the realm of the importance of hiring the right candidates, let’s think about Starbucks characterized by a fairly low turnover rate. This is because it starts with its values, which are presented clearly and transparently.
We are sure that if we told you Starbucks, in fact, in addition to coffee, you would think of values such as feeling part of a community, being able to be yourself (in the cafés you can stay in peace, work, chat, read, etc.) as well as freedom in movement (think of the famous glass that can be easily carried around). So, from the values we continue in the direction of selecting and hiring candidates who already espouse them. And this continues even once you’re “on board”: the company, in addition to focusing on benefits and rewards, focuses on involving every team member in meetings and important decisions so that they have a say.
Focus on providing challenging work
It is also necessary to work to increase commitment, i.e. all those behaviors that increase the worker’s identification with the organization and its objectives. One way to do this is to offer a different project or a different role, or something that stimulates a skill that had been put aside. This can help to re-engage an employee who may be a little tired or who has achieved a lot and now feels uninspired.
This can provide a further boost to the employee’s career and create the feeling – exciting, as with anything new – of learning new skills and achieving new results.
Offer appropriate salary and benefits
Surely this is nothing new, in fact it is one of the most widely used talent retention actions, however, it must be carried out properly. If one of your employees is working on projects that are particularly complex or that represent a large part of the turnover at this moment, undoubtedly they should be rewarded. Even if it wasn’t initially intended.
But the reward doesn’t have to be or not just a coveted pay raise. Once again, the Wall Street Journal advises on how to do this: offer certain benefits such as health insurance, perhaps extendable to a wife or husband, a pension plan, a company car or other. As well as flexible working and the possibility of smart working. All things that, as we know, make a lot of difference to Millennials, but are increasingly appreciated by those who are a bit more adult as well.
Other things in terms of work-life balance and that are not a reward for the individual, but for all employees are company daycare, company concierge services (such as those who pick up clothes from the dry cleaners or go to the post office to pay bills), the office gym, yoga classes, ad hoc services designed for children, and anything else that helps increase employee satisfaction and, in turn, employer branding.
Create a work environment and company culture that suits your workers
People who work as employees are busy for eight hours or more a day, probably longer than they are with their families. That’s why it’s important to take great care of your work environments, focusing on comfort, letting employees be free, and most importantly, making them feel comfortable. An office must be well ventilated (and in times of pandemic this has become even more necessary), have an adequate temperature and with the right choice of furniture and colors. It is not a question of aesthetics, but of well-being that will also have its influence on retention.
It also applies to company culture: making your values known and making sure they really fit your industry engages employees and motivates them. As John Tabis, founder and CEO of The Bouqs Company tells Fast Company: you get a similar result if the culture is personal and authentic. And, we would add, if you understand how to best communicate it by making your employees an active part of it.
Training has become one of the most valuable commodities in recent years. Working in a company that does not promote it either internally or externally can be a boomerang. That’s why an employee retention strategy must include training courses for its employees, not only in relation to the work they do, but also to give them the opportunity to acquire new skills and discover new abilities.
Updating and lifelong learning are increasingly important to engage employees. Which can then translate into classroom courses, webinars, but also books, mentorship programs and more.
Listen to your employees
Often HR, so caught up in having to find new talent, forgets how important it is to listen to and consider the needs of those already in the company. Yet this role is critical; it’s the human part…of HR. Listening can mean not only hearing their complaints, if any, but also their suggestions that managers may not have taken on board. And then if you’ve heard that the employee is going through a rough patch, asking them what you can do to help can make them feel even more welcomed.
Listening is also key when there are employees who are leaving: finding out what things really made them feel bad can be both a good way to say goodbye and a useful avenue to follow to avoid the same mistakes.
Provide quarterly reviews
Letting an employee know how things are going, doing so-called reviews, perhaps quarterly, can be a great opportunity to create a regular appointment to better clarify goals and see with the employee how to achieve them. Constructive one-on-one conversations, then, from all angles.
Recognize employee successes
Recognition is one of the most important things: there’s nothing worse than working hard on a project and not having a thank you or, even better, rewarding the employee by perhaps having them actively participate as a speaker at a conference, rewarding them with new responsibilities or new training opportunities. If you don’t want to do all that, even a nice email can give you a lot of satisfaction.
Why you should improve your employee retention in 2023
There can be several reasons, and some of them we’ve already mentioned. The job market has become increasingly competitive and in light of the Covid-19 pandemic that has crippled many industries so many companies, hiring the right talent who aren’t just looking for a position, but want to grow the company, is increasingly crucial. So is trying to retain good ones.
Also, if certain industries are “crippled” there are many others that have boomed and are willing to look for the best people so, beyond boom or not, in a situation unlike any we were used to, it may be necessary to take advantage of the brightest minds out there.
These past few years have highlighted this: those who can adapt more easily to situations, those who are willing to experiment with new skills and new technologies are a valuable resource and therefore coveted.
That’s why once you find the right resource, it’s best not to let it slip away. In addition, those who work well inevitably influence all the other employees of the company, highlighting how recruiting is increasingly becoming an aspect of marketing.
How ATS software can help employee retention
Even ATS software like Inrecruiting can make a significant contribution to the development of employee retention strategies. In a number of ways: starting with the hiring interviews, of course, by collecting responses, categorizing them and matching what is expected of candidates with what they actually are. But that’s not all: it can help create talent pools and pipelines of both job seekers and passives as well as monitor engagement to understand how the engagement efforts you’re pursuing are going.
What’s more, with an ATS you can better collect all the information you have on employees, how and what they’re working on, and also have an eye on what their skills are, even those they’re not currently leveraging.
And all to retain those who are truly valuable
Giornalista, content strategist e formatrice
Siciliana trapiantata a Milano, città che ama molto come la sua terra. Giornalista, SEO copywriter, formatrice e amante del live tweeting, scrive per varie testate e blog aziendali di lavoro, risorse umane e tanto altro.
Ha scritto nel 2020 il suo primo libro “Scrivere per informare” insieme a Riccardo Esposito, edito da Flacowski e nel 2021 altri due: “L’impresa come media” e “Content marketing per eventi“.
Ama il mare, la bici, la pizza, i libri, le chiacchiere all’aperto.