In an ideal world, companies could stick with their “dream team” of employees without devoting resources to long hiring processes or spending time onboarding new hires.
Unfortunately, reality looks quite different, and organizations find it increasingly difficult to retain employees. Attrition is exacerbated as younger generations join the workforce, with 41 percent of millennials expecting to be in their job for just two years or fewer. A good job market has made keeping talent even more challenging, providing ample opportunities for young professionals to leapfrog their way to higher-level positions.
High turnover rates aren’t just difficult administratively. Employee departures may take away key skills and knowledge, weaken team unity and cost your company financially. One recent study shows that replacement costs add up to about $15,000 per person. This is money much better spent investing in the talent you already have.
Three tips to inspire lifetime employee loyalty
Trying to retain employees is not a lost cause — they will stay and build careers with your company if you give them enough reasons. If great talent keeps slipping through your fingertips, here are three ways to cultivate a workforce that sticks around
1 .Engage with your employees
It’s hard to expect anyone to be invested in your company if you don’t engage with them and make them feel valued. Unsurprisingly, employees who feel underappreciated are more likely to resign. To counter this issue starting from the first job interview, set clear expectations for each position, show you care and build healthy communication channels.
Good communication is the foundation of strong employee-employer relationships, and gives you a chance to learn about and address problems before they turn into resignations. Outside of standard performance reviews, regularly setting aside time to discuss career goals, challenges and other feedback shows employees you value their opinions and contributions to the company. However, following up on these items is important, or your discussions may seem disingenuous. Act on employee suggestions to convince them you value their voice and are committed to improving their experience.
Even if you believe your current engagement practices are sound, it’s always worth revisiting that conclusion. Why? Only 33 percent of employees say they are fully engaged in their position. While this is a pervasive problem, most people aren’t likely to bring it up directly. It’s your job to surface issues and proactively ask employees how you could be doing better. Addressing this topic often requires one-on-one discussions, working with staff members to take full advantage of their skill-set.
2. Provide a path forward
People naturally want to improve and move ahead — being in the same situation for too long causes us to feel stagnant and trapped.
At every job level, employees are looking to advance. Even 90 percent of millennials, a group often perceived as chronic job-hoppers, say they want to grow their career with their current company. Small initiatives and incentives go a long way toward placating the frustrations of employees feeling stuck.
“A path forward” doesn’t necessitate higher salaries — although everyone certainly appreciates that. Professional development sessions, corporate learning events and cross-training in other departments all provide opportunities for employees to progress and expand their skills. More than two-thirds of millennials believe it’s management’s job to provide accelerated advancement opportunities at work. Helping employees develop shows them your company cares, making them more likely to stay in their position.
Seeing a well-defined career path gives entry-level team members in particular something to work toward early on, planting the seeds for future company leaders. Strategize a path forward soon, and avoid missing out on these forward-thinking, long-term hires.
3. Consider your company culture
You may not be able to offer Silicon-Valley-style perks and benefits, but giving employees more freedom and flexibility will make them more apt to stick around, as well as more productive. Remote working options, funding for education, childcare reimbursement and flexible hours are all policies gaining popularity. Not every business can provide these benefits, but there are still ways to improve your policies and show employees that you’re invested in their lives.
Increasingly, employees want to work for a “good” company. Almost 80 percent of consumers consider corporate social responsibility when deciding where to work. Beyond attracting service-minded individuals, corporate philanthropy grows camaraderie among employees and makes people proud of where they work — two positives for staff retention.
Essendant recognizes the importance of philanthropy with the Essendant Charitable Foundation and our Global Giving team. Global Giving focuses on disaster response and recovery. Employees company wide apply to join the Global Giving team, which unites everyone around a common goal and communicates our corporate values.
Ultimately, employee retention comes down to investing in your workforce and showing employees they are a valued part of your company.
The three tips above apply not just to the younger members of your staff, but also to baby boomers and long-standing employees — demographics whose years of experience often help companies in unacknowledged ways. Remember, staff members at every level bring unique contributions to your business. It’s important to show all employees that you are invested in their growth and continued success, whether they’re celebrating their 20-year anniversary with your company or starting their first day on the job.
While developing a stronger retention strategy may add new responsibilities and expenses up front, your efforts will pay off in the long run by creating passionate employees, saving you money and increasing productivity.