There is a lot of talk, articles and HR professionals touting the importance of employee retention. At this point in employment history, if you don’t agree with the importance or costs savings associated with Employee Retention, this article is not for you. I could spout off a million reasons WHY retaining your employees is essential, but you’ve been there, heard it, seen it… Today, I want to focus on HOW to keep your employees, vs. just opining about the gravity of employee retention.
Here are a few areas of focus that can easily be baked into your culture and help you improve your retention rates:
1. Empower growth
Seems a little buzzy, right? “empower and growth” are allusive concepts and mean different things to different people. The only way to empower the growth within your employees is to have a transparent vision for your business, so they see and feel overall company growth. Second, create a career path for every role you hire, whether the pathing positions exist yet or not. Share the growth path with your employees. Provide clearly stated objectives and milestones.
2. Build a pipeline of potential employees, nurture the pipe
To ensure your current employees don’t burnout, it’s crucial to have a proactive, ongoing hiring strategy in place. In your 80-hour workweek, set aside 4 hours to actively network with professionals that you feel may align with current and potential business needs. The hard part is the follow-up. Stay in touch quarterly; create a touchback calendar. You can slash the time and effort involved in hiring if you have a talented pool of professionals at your finger-tips. This process will mitigate the need for your current staff to pick up the slack due to an increase in business, or inevitable attrition.
3. LOVE them up!
Coaching. Mentoring. Managing. These are three different things, and all three are needed for employees to feel invested, valued and acknowledged. Give your employees a constructive and routine way to give and receive feedback, understand areas of growth, be acknowledged/recognized for areas of strength, and of course, have a clear path to advance their role. Focus on training and encouraging areas of employee interests. We are not always in a position to provide more monetary compensation, but spot bonuses and gifts for a job well done can go a long way.
4. Do what you say you’re going to do
This concept is surprisingly much harder than one may think. We get caught up in our work and allow unconscious bias to creep in. If you say you support a flexible work environment, don’t “clock watch,” trust your employees are being productive. If you say you want to build a collaborative culture, embrace an open-door policy, too many secret, closed-door meetings can instill fear and suspicion. Give yourself and your leadership the time to be available to your teams. If you say puppies are welcome, then all puppies need to be welcome. (AHHHH puppies!) Live by your commitments and definitions of work/life balance brought forward by your company. Implement, enforce and manage what those work/life options are and that they are granted consistently and enjoyed.
Gain and keep staff trust and confidence in leadership—lose trust and confidence; you will lose staff. Adopt methods of controlled, meaningful transparency. Stay informed about trends in employment and compensation analysis. As a leader, you should stay abreast of market compensation, economic factors and hiring strategies.
Remember: speed to hire, successful onboarding and clear paths to employee success are all instrumental in strong employee retention. And strong employee retention can make or break every company—especially a startup.