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A Comprehensive Guide to Retention

The big things to keep in mind when developing your retention strategy

by Nikhil Bendre - March 23, 2022

Employee Retention Statistics

Employee retention is one of the most important aspects of any organization. Not only is it a reflection of the company from an internal perspective in terms of performance and employee morale, but it also sends a message to potential applicants and ultimately factors into their career decisions. That’s why it’s best to be as informed as possible on the topic and to have retention strategies in place. It pretty much goes without saying that the past couple of years have been wildcards for the workforce due to the pandemic and other worldly events, so let’s look at some recent statistics on employee retention.

  • Roughly one third of employees resign within the first six months of employment.
  • 25% of people fall into the category of high employee retention risk, as more experienced/top-performing employees are harder to retain.
  • 40% of employees will leave their jobs because of poor performance from higher-ups in the organization.

As employee retention becomes more of a priority for HR professionals, it seems as though the task becomes less simple to navigate. Now that you have an idea of just how difficult employee retention is becoming, let’s dive deeper into what retention truly means and how you can combat employee turnover in your own organization.

What is Retention?

In a professional sense, retention refers to an organization’s ability to hold onto its employees. The definition is fairly self explanatory, but the real complexity lies in understanding the constantly changing nature of this subject and how to make sure you are maximizing your own retention. There’s a multitude of factors that go into this bigger picture, some of the main ones being quality leadership, flexibility, and work-life balance.

The overarching theme is that in today’s workforce, the ball is in the employee’s court, so to speak. Company loyalty is no longer a prevalent thing in people’s careers, especially the younger generation. Trends such as job-hopping have yielded effective results in terms of salary growth and career development, so it makes perfect sense that candidates would jump jobs to propel themselves forward! Let’s consider the key aspects we listed out earlier and how those play into retention.

Quality Leadership

It’s not far-fetched to assume that the state of a company’s leadership is a pretty solid reflection of how the rest of the organization is doing. If leaders are organized, fair, and grounded, the company will likely have a solid connection throughout the ranks and a real sense of goal-oriented direction. However, if the leadership team doesn’t have it together, is disconnected from the rest of the organization, or lacks basic empathy, that negativity poisons the rest of the company. Why would anyone sit and accept that when they could leave and find a better position elsewhere? That’s why it’s imperative that your leadership team is in tune with the rest of your organization, understanding of both their professional and personal needs, and willing to level with the people that work so very hard for them. For more information on this, take a look at our article on Leadership Development and its impact on retention!

Flexibility

If we’ve learned anything from the changes to the workforce brought about by the pandemic, it’s that most corporate jobs can in fact be done from anywhere. A bonus fact is that productivity tends to either remain unchanged or actually increase when working from home. Here’s something companies need to accept – a lot of your employees aren’t coming back. They realize that there’s no need to sit in an office for 8 hours a day away from their homes and families, and that doesn’t even include commute time. Revisit your policies and consider making remote/hybrid work a permanent thing. If you won’t, your employees very well may find someone else who will!

Work-Life Balance

The days of people’s careers being the center of their lives are coming to a screeching halt. In these times, it’s more typical for work to be viewed as a part of our day to fund our real passions and interests outside of work. When upper management understands this and encourages employees to prioritize their lives, the result is a healthy and productive professional relationship and a positive work environment. However, there are still organizations out there that expect you to sell your soul to the company. That simply does not work anymore – your employees will leave to find another employer that sees them as people and not machines. Keep those communication channels open, be empathetic, and remember that your employees are people with lives just as important and complex as anyone else’s!

Tips to Stay on Top of the Battle for Retention

Taking the statistics and topics previously mentioned into consideration, let’s look at how those can translate into actionable insights for your organization!

  • Communication is key, so make sure to encourage your team to share their thoughts without fear of retaliation.
  • Understand that all employees are not the same. Different people have different needs. A big factor in this is age – we have a great resource on Understanding Different Generations for Better Retention! Know your audience and act accordingly.
  • Be selective in your hiring processes from the start. The best cure is prevention, so make sure you are strategic in hiring people that show potential for long-term growth within your company. On that note, make sure that growth opportunities are present! If people feel stunted in the development of their careers, they’ll find a company that puts them back on track.
  • Check out our article on Reskilling and Upskilling the Existing Workforce for Better Retention.

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