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4 Ways To Improve Your Employee Retention

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Financial Review, early this year reported record numbers of people are thinking of changing their job, career or location and approach to work in the wake of COVID-19.

Employee Retention and Attrition is a delicate balancing act. Employers must balance cost optimisation  and creating an inclusive and resilient employee experience.

Gartner’s Annual Turnover Survey found employee turnover can cost anywhere from $33,000 to $1.7 billion per organisation based on their size. Due to the high costs associated with turnover, organisations need to be constantly looking for ways to improve retention.

All efforts must be taken to retain those that  contribute to the growth of the company. Maintaining a highly productive, skilled, innovative and satisfied workforce is crucial for the growth and stability of the company.

Job Satisfaction and Company Culture are two main reasons whyemployees ‘stay’. Next, the more compatible an employee’s work ethic is with the company’s values the more engaged he/she is.  Increasingly, work-life balance is becoming the reason for why employees are thinking of leaving their current employment.

Now we want employees to stary for the right reasons – job satisfaction and culture, not simply because it suits personal needs like – close to home, good schools or financial responsibilities.

How can retention be improved?

1. Purpose

Align company and employee’s Purpose, by providing conditions compatible with employees’ values for working and living.  

2. Stay conversations

A retention strategy that’s gaining popularity among top employers is having regular ‘stay’ conversations.  Use it to engage one-on-one with your high achievers. A ‘stay’ conversation is not a check-in, a performance appraisal or about career development. It is a separate conversation.

The purpose of these personalised conversations is to find out what is motivating them to stay with you and what might entice them to work for your competitor.

A stary conversation can reveal employees at risk of leaving the organisation, helping you plan for turnover. It is a powerful strategy to uncover the rationale of an employee‘s commitment to stay engaged.

This is a proactive approach to address retention issues as you have identified it before the employee has decided to leave.

You don’t need to wait until an employee is leaving to have a ‘stay’ conversation, when there may be little you can do to change his or her mind.

3.     Build a Culture of Learning

A learning culture, is one in which employees continuously seek, share and apply new knowledge and skills to improve individual and organisational performance. The importance of the pursuit and application of learning is expressed in organisational values and permeates all aspects of the organisation’s system.

A study done by RMIT (Australia)  found –

  • 56% of respondents prefer dedicated training over free lunches at work
  • 52% of respondents prefer a learning culture over a fun culture at work

You can develop a learning culture by rewarding your people, not only with praise or a promotion. But, by creating a culture where curiosity, speaking up and challenging status quo is encouraged even if it causes disagreement, this is important to support innovation.

Highlight a knowledge gap – managers often avoid having difficult conversations with their team. However, negative feedback must be provided in a constructive and delicate way, since the best way to trigger curiosity is to highlight a knowledge gap.

If you want to nurture your team’s curiosity or unlock learning in your organisation, you must practice what you preach and lead by example.

4. Hire curious people

Good selection makes training and development much more effective. Research shows that aligning people’s drive and interests to the characteristics of the job and culture of the organisation increases motivation to learn and their performance.

When you have a team of highly motivated people in a continuous learning environment with goal-oriented behaviour you achieve a high retention rate and subsequently your goals as an organisation. 

In sum you can retain your best employees without having the big budgets. By reinforcing your purpose, managers making time to have genuine ‘stay’ conversations, building a learning culture and hiring people with high learnability and a hungry mind are all likely to improve retention.

Are you looking to hire? Talk to an expert.

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