Top 10 ways to increase your retention
Posted on 30th April 2021 at 10:10
Why retaining your employees makes good business sense?
When one of your best employees resign, it gives you that sick feeling in your stomach. Apart from a lot of additional work having to find a replacement, it also leaves you feeling that there must have been something you could have done differently.
According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), it can cost between six and nine months’ salary to replace a role. Croner suggest that the average cost of employee turnover is £11,000 per person however, there are all the hidden costs on top of that. It can be significantly higher for specialist roles which are harder to fill. Apart from the obvious recruitment costs such as advertising and agency fees, there is also the time spent reviewing CVs, interviewing, and all the admin and organisation that come with that. And once the person is hired, there are all the costs associated with a great induction, onboarding, new equipment and any training needed. You might have had to cover the vacancy while you recruited with agency workers or freelancers, it’s all adding up. There is also the loss of productivity as it can take 24 to 28 weeks for someone to get up to speed and reach optimum productivity which means you are paying someone up to six month’s salary while not getting full value from them.
So, you can see why it makes sense that employee retention and job satisfaction should be high on every business agenda. Losing good people will only hurt your business. So, what can you do about it? Here are our top ten suggestions for retaining your people.
1. Pay them fairly and what they are worth
Are you paying them the market rate? Look to see what other companies are paying for similar roles, use a salary survey (there are plenty of free ones out there), so you can see how what you are paying your people compares. Don’t try to get them as cheap as possible as if you can find out this data then so can your people and they won’t stick around if they know they can earn more money elsewhere. When people start to feel undervalued, they feel demotivated and then restless. That said, not everyone is driven by a big salary, but people want to know they are paid fairly in comparison with their peers and the market. Losing a high performing employee for a few thousand pounds doesn’t make any sense especially as you now know the cost of having to recruit their replacement.
However, increasing salaries alone will not fix any retention issues. People usually leave for several different reasons and if everything is great about the business then paying them a fair salary will usually be enough. Salary is important —especially if you are paying below industry standards—but there are other ways to retain employees.
2. Make sure your benefits package benefit your people
Do you offer statutory holidays or more? Are holidays something that your employees value? Many medium and large companies go beyond the statutory allowance as time away from work is important to people. What is your pension scheme offering? Is it the minimum contribution or something more? Offering things like private healthcare, discretionary bonuses, discount schemes, enhanced sick pay, maternity / paternity policies all demonstrate to your people that you are a good employer and will help to retain them as they feel valued. Offering a flexible benefits package so employees can decide which benefits suit their circumstances and lifestyle is particularly attractive but can be costly to administer, so it’s about weighing up where best to spend your budget. Reviewing your benefits regularly and asking your people which they value the most - especially in smaller businesses - is a great thing to do to make sure you are offering what they want as part of your retention package.
3. Have an engaging induction and onboarding programme
Every new employee should be set up for success from day one. Having the basics in place like a laptop, login, phone and other equipment ready when they start sends a message that they are important and gets the employment relationship off to a positive start. A successful onboarding programme will allow them to get to know the team and key stakeholders more quickly, give them an opportunity to learn about what is expected in their job and how they can be successful in the company culture.
4. Develop your employees and invest in their skills
Investing in developing the skills and capabilities of your people pays dividends. It not only means that you are getting the skills needed to continually grow your business, but your people feel that they are growing personally and professionally. There’s lots of ways that people develop from on the job learning by getting involved in something new whether that be a project, attending a meeting or getting a mentor through to more formal and structured learning such as attending courses or studying for a qualification.
A big reason why people leave their job is because they cannot see their next move or any progression with their current company, so they look elsewhere to progress their career. In smaller businesses, it is difficult to progress through the ranks as structures are usually flatter but by talking to your people about how they can progress and grow as the business grows will help them see their future with you.
5. Allow flexible working
One of the big learnings from Covid is that we now know that many jobs can work more flexibly, whether that is at home or by doing different hours. Not having to be in the office everyday is a big win for some people and it allows them to manage the other things they have going on in their lives. Being flexible will help you to attract and retain high calibre people who do not want the structure of Monday to Friday – 9am to 5pm – everyday in the office. Giving people a choice about how and where they work increases their engagement and builds trust.
6. Give regular and meaningful feedback
How often do you give your team feedback? I mean proper feedback that will help them to learn and improve. How often do you tell them what they are doing well and what they can do differently? Having an annual appraisal once a year is meaningless and often becomes a tick box exercise instead of adding real value. Setting goals and objectives, reviewing them regularly and giving targeted feedback will keep your employees connected to your business. This is when you’ll discuss short and long-term goals and talk about their future with the company. Plus, feedback is two way, keep communication lines open so that your team knows that they can come to you with any ideas, questions and concerns.
7. Look after wellbeing
Keeping employees fit, mentally, physically and financially, is just good business. It reduces sicknesses and increases engagement. Everyone person wants to feel appreciated for the work they do so make a point of thanking them when they go the extra mile and build some wellbeing initiatives into your culture. Fruit Friday or walking meetings are low cost ways to get people more active and healthy. Build in some mental health activities into your culture to support your employees with any mental health issues. These things will set you apart from the other businesses your people might be tempted to work for.
8. Celebrate success
Whether you’ve just won another contract, or the team have finished a huge project and delighted a client, seize the chance to celebrate together. The celebration might be a collective thank you with cake, a team lunch or a grand gesture. Just make sure you celebrate the wins!
9. Have a culture to be proud of
By having a culture that is inclusive encouraging creativity, ideas and the stretching of boundaries will retain your high performers. Autonomy and authentically living up to your values increases the likelihood of employees going the extra mile and being really engaged in the business. And engaged employees don’t leave. Make sure your culture is developing in a way you want it to be – don’t let it become something you don’t believe in. And remember, people tend to leave their managers not their roles, so training your managers to manage and lead to get the best out of their team is pretty important.
10. Get the recruitment right in the first place
Review your recruitment process to make sure you’re asking the right questions and doing appropriate assessments to test competence for the role and cultural fit. Cultural fit is so often overlooked. Recruiting someone with similar values and attitudes to the business can sometimes be more important than their skills to do the role. Skills can be taught.
Are you being honest about the role and the business? Don’t sugar coat things just to get a person to accept the role – they will only leave if it’s not what they expect. Remember you must be right for them as much as they must be right for you. Transparency is key in finding the right employees who are a good fit and likely to stay.
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