Employee Retention Strategies That Work: Keeping Your Workers Happy, Engaged, & Motivated

Employee Retention Strategies That WorkGlassdoor just released their Top 50 Winners for Best Places to Work 2015, and they did so right on the heels of the US economy’s best hiring month in three years. We’re finally out of the hiring slump and the wheels of commerce are turning again.

Along with this hiring increase has come a bolstered sense of confidence among the labor force, and those people who have been hunkered down at a job they don’t particularly like are now starting to explore their options elsewhere.

Is your company a place where your employees want to stay?

“Workers are not only reentering the labor force from the sidelines, data show, but also growing increasingly likely to have the to confidence to quit their jobs and move to better ones that pay more or more closely match their skills.”

Washington Post

The Importance of Employee Retention Strategies

At the most black and white level, keeping your workers happy saves you money. Happy employees stick around, saving you the expense of replacement costs, which can be as high as 50 to 60 percent of an employee’s annual salary (source). That cost of turnover sky rockets to 218% for executive level employees (source).

So we know that keeping your employees satisfied is good for the bottom line, but it has corollary benefits as well. Happy employees are more productive, they have better morale to weather the tough and stressful moments of work life, and they also act as a recruiting tool for your company. As Glassdoor has shown, people are very vocal about their feelings toward their organization. If they love working at your company, they’ll let other people know, which will in turn attract more talent to your workforce — no need for a team of recruiters.

So What Keeps Employees Happy, Anyway?

Employee satisfaction, motivation, and engagement are multi-dimensional components that all contribute to a company’s retention rate. If the employee’s needs are not being met on those various levels, turnover rates will inevitably increase.

In a powerful report put out by TinyHR, a feedback tool used to gauge employee satisfaction for HR departments, they outlined the 7 Key Trends Impacting Today’s Workforce.

Here is an abbreviated version of their list:

  1. Almost two-thirds of surveyed employees reported working at companies without a strong work culture.
  2. Only half of employees are highly satisfied with their direct supervisors. Poor communication and lack of interaction were the primary reasons.
  3. Two-thirds of employees don’t see good opportunities for professional growth in their current position.
  4. One-quarter of employees don’t feel equipped with the tools they need to be successful.
  5. Only 21% of employees feel that they are strongly valued.
  6. When the opportunity presents itself, 44% of employees will give each other recognition on a regular basis.
  7. Peers are the number one influence on co-workers, and the reason that 20% of employees will go above and beyond their normal duties. Surprisingly, camaraderie, not money, is the key driving factor behind your employees motivation.

Employee Retention Strategies That Work (Hint, it’s not a foosball table, catered lunches, or a kegerator)

Focus On Communication

Communication is key. Make sure that direct supervisors regularly interact with their subordinates. Open up channels of communication and acknowledge difficulties. Invest in communications workshops.

Create a Sense of Camaraderie

Team building is key. Participate in team building activities regularly, realizing that the more your employees care about one another, the more likely they are to do whatever it takes to help eachother out. And if you look at this from a macro-level perspective you will realize that “eachother” really refers to the organization itself. Camaraderie is what makes us care. Also, if you foster a sense of teamwork and caring in your office, you won’t always have to out-compensate your competitors.

Acknowledge and Praise Employees

Money is only a motivator to a degree. Acknowledgement of someone’s expertise, hard work, or creative contribution is far more intrinsically motivating than anything we can deposit at the bank. When you build a sense of personal value in your employees, that manifests itself in terms of your employee’s value to the company.

Provide a Path

Provide your employees a path to better themselves in terms of skill and their position within the company. It’s important to feel like you have a bright future within a company, or that you’re improving upon your current position in terms of skill and knowledge acquisition. A feeling of mastery and betterment is incredibly motivating and it is something that can be achieved through better and more thorough corporate training.

Create a Culture

Focusing on building a strong, positive work culture will pay dividends in terms of employee retention and satisfaction — the aforementioned strategies should form the baseline tenets of your company culture. As TinyHR’s survey has shown, a strong, positive, and thriving company culture is the best employee retention strategy of all.

Doug Ramsay

Doug handles the marketing and web presence for Adventure Associates. If he's not geeking-out with the latest, greatest web marketing tools, then you'll find him swirling and sipping his way through wine country.

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