1. Provide relevant training opportunities
During Schawbel's investigation into the root causes of employee attrition, he discovered that employee training and development were dealt with differently by management and workers. Sixty percent of managers have clear paths for advancing their careers, compared to 36 percent of workers. The discrepancy needs your attention, because you ignore it at your peril: Employees (especially those you'd most like to retain) have not been paid properly. Their skills are in demand, so they have more power than they once did. Schawbel's study found that 41 percent of employees say that they would leave their present companies if they found a position that offered better career advancement.
It appears that there is more to the equation than simply providing training and development opportunities. As well as providing your workers with opportunities to develop their skills, you should ask for frequent feedback to ensure that these opportunities are perceived as relevant and useful.
2. Encourage healthy work-life balance
A negative balance between work obligations and the rest of their lives is perceived as a "major pain point" in employees' careers. In his article for CIO Magazine, Rich Hein highlights these statistics. These days, the average tenure for an IT worker is less than four years, and the high turnover rate can be attributed to an unmanageable set of work demands.
In addition to offering flexible work schedules or telecommuting options, Hein points out that you cannot eliminate a person's outside challenges. According to multiple studies, providing flexibility to employees results in fewer sick days, higher employee satisfaction, higher productivity, and fewer stress levels.
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3. Keep your managers in the spotlight
It's a well-known truism that people don't quit jobs; they quit bosses. Although you're well aware of this basic human resources principle, it never hurts to be reminded that your management-level staff are crucial to retaining your workforce. In a short period of time, a manager with poor people skills can damage the culture and effectiveness of an organization, according to Maricopa County CIO David Stevens. People with outstanding technical knowledge are often promoted to leadership positions, where they require an entirely different set of skills. You can enable your middle management staff to perform at their best through management training and coaching.
Laura Vanderkam, a productivity consultant, adds an interesting twist to this standard piece of advice. Despite the benefits of retaining "rockstar employees", a manager may feel reluctant to provide them with development training that advances their careers. Vanderkam urges executives and HR professionals to recognize managers whose exceptional employees are promoted to diverse positions. By creating new career paths for employees, the manager's individual loss will be the organization's gain.
4. Show your employees that you appreciate them
Wayfair CEO Niraj Shah identifies employee rewards and recognition as one of his three key ways for retaining employees. He acknowledges how easy it is for busy managers to put employee retention "on the back burner," and he finds that continuous positive feedback is his go-to method of letting employees know how valuable they are to the company.
There's an art to employee recognition best practices, however: It's important to provide feedback on an ongoing basis, but workplace expert Lynn Taylor points out that it can't be "robotic." Your appreciation needs to be authentic and varied, delivered in a variety of forms. To keep a sense of freshness present in your appreciation, you can change up the channels: Providing your workers with a chance to recognize and praise each other's contributions will nurture teamwork. Similarly, you may sometimes recognize the unified efforts of a whole team or department, so that it's clear that everyone benefits from strong employee alignment.
Recruiting and hiring are significant investments for you. Your HR challenges don't end once you've onboarded those top-notch employees, however. Lynn Taylor reminds managers, "Retaining the best and brightest is what ultimately matters. The most innovative and successful companies today [have] taken retention efforts to an advanced level." To learn more about the current retention epidemic.
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