What does retaining your valuable team members require a business to do?
Since the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, businesses across the world continue to grapple with a high employee turnover rate. In fact, HR professionals agree that traditional practices to attain and retain a quality workforce no longer work. The need of the hour dictates that companies adapt and embrace broadminded strategies that work in favor of employees. This being without impacting their physical and mental well-being.
HR experts know the modern workforce now seeks a flexible and convenient workplace environment. As the digital transformation pushes companies into uncharted territories, adapting to a remote or hybrid work model may make all the difference for companies of all sizes to retain talented team members, who in the end, drive long-term growth.
The Story Behind the ‘Great Resignation’
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 4 million Americans quit their jobs in July 2021. Resignations peaked in April 2021. They have remained abnormally high for the last several months. This was seen in a record-breaking 10.9 million open jobs at the end of July 2021.
According to an article in Fast Company, written by a senior lecturer of the Questrom School of Business at Boston University, “A lot of stories have focused on the absolute number of workers who quit their jobs, such as 4.5 million who quit in November—on a seasonally adjusted basis. If quits for December 2021 are similar to November, I expect about 47 million people will have voluntarily left their jobs in all of 2021. That would mean about 33% of the total nonfarm workforce quit jobs last year. Again, that seems like a lot, but a huge swath of the labor force does this every year. In 2019, for example, about 28% of the U.S. workforce quit. So, is quitting higher than normal? For sure. But is it off the charts enough to earn the moniker of “great”? I don’t think so.”
What is it that Employees Really Want?
Most employees prefer an active and flexible workplace rather than career advancement at the expense of mental and physical health. Lack of support, communications, engagement, and recognition are also major reasons for employees who quit.
Employees oftentimes express concerns about ethical boundaries and the direction of the company. Additionally, dissatisfaction with organizational culture also dissuades talented team members from maintaining high-performance and production standards.
According to Pew Research.org, a majority of workers who quit a job in 2021 say low pay (63%), no opportunities for advancement (63%) and feeling disrespected at work (57%) were reasons why they quit. At least a third of respondents say each of these were major reasons why they left employment. Roughly half say childcare issues were a reason they quit a job (48% among those with a child younger than 18 in the household). A similar share point to a lack of flexibility in scheduling (45%) or not having good benefits such as health insurance and paid time off (43%). Roughly a quarter say each of these was a major reason.
Employers will have to be proactive to retain and demonstrate appreciation for their most productive and talented employees. Keeping in mind what employees need, the following are some essential practices Human Resource Managers and employers can follow to retain talented team members:
Broaden and Simplify Your Onboarding Process
Right from the start, you should set up your hiring process for success. So, make sure your onboarding and orientation process has training initiatives for new team members that would allow them to easily fit within the existing company culture. Whether it’s in-person or virtual onboarding and orientation, it is also crucial to provide proper support to new employees throughout the process.
Offer Training Programs
Mentorship can make all the difference for a new employee. Therefore, make sure to pair a new team member with an experienced employee. In short, extend your onboarding process and make it work for a remote and hybrid model. Through good training and mentorship programs, newcomers will feel welcomed and a part of the team.
Training also allows new employees to learn the technical aspects of the job from experienced team members, which will help form a better perspective of the position. This approach also allows organizations to spot areas that need more technical or professional growth and assist existing and new employees to learn specialized skills.
Employee engagement refers to how invested people are in both their everyday work and the success of the company. It goes beyond employee satisfaction, engaged employees have a positive emotional connection with their company and feel a sense of purpose in their jobs. Employees want to be known for what makes them unique.
Employees want relationships, particularly with a manager who can coach them to the next level. This is who drives employee engagement. One of Gallup’s biggest discoveries: the manager or team leader alone accounts for 70% of the variance in team engagement.
Ensure Work and Life Balance
Whether it’s reviewing consistent performance feedback or maintaining direct and transparent communication. Organizations have to ensure work and life balance for the entire workforce. One of the best ways to balance out work and life for every team member is to provide flexible work hours. Also, emphasize collaboration efforts and teamwork to streamline and clarify the work responsibilities and further alleviate the burden on employees.
Provide Health and Wellness Perks
HR managers should offer value-added benefits that prioritize the health and wellness of new and existing employees. Keeping the most talented employees mentally, financially, and physically fit works in favor of your company.
Whether it’s a hybrid, remote, or onsite workplace, make sure stress does not spiral out of control among your team members. The pandemic highlighted the need for health-conscious efforts, but now the burden of responsibility falls on organizations to roll out programs centered on stress management.
Celebrate Small and Big Victories
In 2022, one of the strategic ways to retain talented team members is to celebrate and acknowledge milestones. Whether it’s a small or big achievement, make sure to acknowledge and recognize the efforts of your team members. Without this acknowledgment, team members could become discouraged, feeling deflated and lose interest in their job altogether.
A show of appreciation goes such a long way. You can create an attractive rewards-based system to recognize different employees from departments for different reasons.
In fact, the ideal approach for HR professionals and employers should be to appreciate ‘every’ team member. An increased level of gratitude for all team members is bound to have a positive impact on the organization. Organizations can also use these reward systems to drive more innovation and brainstorm ideas that can optimize business processes.
Companies cannot afford to offer anything less than market competitive salary and compensation packages. Many companies now have started to offer pay increase packages including bonuses after continuously meeting performance goals. Also, make sure your compensation plan revolves around a retirement plan and healthcare perks to increase job satisfaction and win over the trust of employees at the same time. Employees want to know that you care about their overall well-being, not just what they bring to the table for your business.
In this day and age, the last thing employers want is to spend unnecessary time and money on hiring, onboarding, and training new workers. The right course of action for organizations is to make a collective and growth-driven decision by setting up an organized and directed employee retention program.