High employee turnover is expensive. According to an SHRM survey, 47% of HR professionals cited retention/turnover as their top workforce management challenge, while 36% listed recruitment as their most pressing challenge. Although it’s slightly less challenging to recruit new talent than to retain productive employees, it’s much more expensive to do so.
While many organizations struggle with retaining their top talent, those who do, enjoy a competitive edge over their counterparts. In today’s rapidly evolving workplace, employee retention relies on several factors, including company culture, flexible work arrangements, advancement opportunities, professional development opportunities, etc.
As such, business leaders need access to research-backed strategies to help retain employees and top talent. Data takes the guesswork out of deciding what retention strategy to implement by helping HR leaders to better understand patterns and trends in their workforce, and thus, make smarter decisions. To help you get started on the right path, let’s review some tried and trusted methods of improving employee retention
Professional Development Opportunities
LinkedIn’s 2019 Workplace Learning Report found that a whopping 94% of employees would stay longer in an organization that invested in their professional development. Not only are internal training opportunities a great way to help retain top talent, but they can also help organizations address the global skills shortage.
It’s becoming more challenging for employers to recruit candidates with the skills they need. This makes upskilling the existing workforce a lucrative endeavor for organizations looking to simultaneously retain talent while equipping them with sought-after skills to become highly productive employees.
HR personnel can use behavioral analytics to help identify highly motivated employees since these personalities often make the best candidates for internal training opportunities. Such employees are motivated by the responsibility of taking on more challenging work and the prospect of promotions.
Also, business leaders who take the time to design a bespoke learning and development program better equip their teams with the skills and expertise the company needs to succeed. Understand how your employees prefer to learn and design carefully structured professional development opportunities around these learning methodologies.
Choose Your Management Wisely
Your choice of management personnel affects employees’ engagement levels, and by extension, attrition rates. Advancing the wrong employees to managerial positions sets off a chain reaction that can ultimately result in employees leaving your organization. While there are several major reasons employees leave due to management (such as favoritism, office politics, informal threats, etc.), there are other more subtle reasons ranging from micromanagement to employees not feeling appreciated and motivated.
As such, exercising great caution when choosing their management staff plays a significant role in employee retention. Also, getting regular feedback from employees on how they feel about management is a valuable way to pinpoint their biggest pain points and figure out a way to proactively address them. Using anonymous feedback tools to get bi-monthly feedback from employees can help you design a clear strategy to address employees’ concerns on time before it increases attrition rates.
Use Your Data
There are unique workplace factors that cause high employee turnover. For some organizations, it could be a lack of adequate compensation/benefits or poor company culture while for others it could be personality differences between team members and management or even corporate politics and micromanagement.
Analyzing employee behavioral data is key to understanding the factors influencing workforce attrition rates within your organization. Likewise, measuring the right metrics can help you determine what new programs to implement and the effectiveness of existing employee-centric programs.
For instance, analytics models can help business leaders understand if their employee retention strategies are working. Prescriptive models can help organizations that are yet to implement an employee retention initiative develop an intelligent, data-driven course of action and determine where to invest their employee engagement budget for the greatest returns.
Make Employee Wellness a Top Priority
As the effects of the pandemic continue to drag on, employees are likely to feel more and more isolated due to the lack of in-person connection/interaction. Working, living, and staying at home can contribute to low enthusiasm for work and an “always-on” mentality, which eventually leads to burnout.
One multinational technology company leveraged workforce analytics to objectively measure and quantify the impact of the shift to remote work. After shifting to remote work, analysis revealed that workday lengths increased to an average of 10+ hours per day for 60% of the company’s workforce (while just 35% of employees worked an average of 10+ hours per day prior to the shift). Additionally, the number of employees working after hours increased from 20% to 55%.
In this case, the initial analysis revealed information of concern to the company, as working longer hours can lead to employee burnout. However, additional observations revealed that by spreading their working hours out over a 12-hour time span, employees were actually maintaining a better work-life balance by taking advantage of the opportunity to tend to personal or family tasks during breaks.
Prioritizing employee wellness is indispensable to employee retention in these troubling times. Going above and beyond in this respect shows employees that their health and wellness are of paramount importance to the organization they work for. And they are more likely to remain with your company even if they receive more lucrative offers from competitors looking to lure away your top talent. To promote employee wellness, business leaders can:
- Encourage employees to take time from work to recharge
- Help employees design work schedules that favor a healthier work-life balance
- Host guided meditation/yoga classes and offer incentives for taking online fitness programs
- Expand healthcare coverage to all available wellness options including mental health
- Enforce safety guidelines
The pandemic has disrupted the employee experience and is limiting the effects of traditional engagement/retention strategies. Supply chain disruptions caused by the pandemic are also reducing revenues and profit margins, causing many organizations to cut back spending on employee wellness initiatives. As such, business leaders require access to data-driven insights on how and what makes their workforce tick. They can leverage these insights to design intelligent strategies for retaining top talent and keeping their employees engaged.