Employee Retention Secrets

Employee Retention is Mission Critical

Employee retention has never been trickier. Throughout the first months of 2018, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has shown payroll employment rising and unemployment numbers dropping to record lows. In this competitive job market, top talent can pick and choose from jobs they want.

Additionally, according to Gallup, millennials — who comprise an increasingly large part of the workplace — are three times more likely to switch jobs than the generations before them. Sixty percent of those surveyed by Gallup said they were open to a new job opportunity.

You’re not the only one looking to recruit and retain your top talent. So, how can you boost employee retention? Focus on creating an employee experience that makes them want to stay.

Why Employees Leave

Sometimes employees leave because they want a higher salary. But often, an employee who is getting paid enough to meet their needs will stay in a job that they like. So, what are the key job elements that affect employee retention?

Our own research surveying more than 850 employees for the Employee Experience Quantified showed that more than 50% of the employees had left jobs because they didn’t see an opportunity for growth. Other top reasons? Nearly 30% of employees left jobs because they felt stifled, their jobs didn’t have meaning, they didn’t connect to the people they worked with, or they didn’t feel appreciated.

Facebook researchers crunched their HR data to find similar results. Of employees who stay at Facebook the longest, they found their work enjoyable 31% more often, used their strengths 33% more often, and expressed 37% more confidence that they were gaining the skills and experiences they need to develop their careers. In other words, they knew that their jobs had an impact.

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The Real Cost of Losing an Employee

What’s your real cost of losing an employee?

  • Hiring: Advertising, interviewing, screening, and hiring
  • On-Boarding: Training and management time
  • Lost Productivity: Estimated 1-2 years for new employee to reach productivity of existing person
  • Lost Engagement: Morale of other employees who see high turnover and disengage or lose productivity
  • Customer Service Errors: New employees take longer and make more errors in solving problems
  • Training Cost: Businesses likely invest 10-20% of salary on training

Adding all of this up: For an employee at an average $50,000 income plus 30% benefits (total all-in cost = $65,000) plus a 90-day expected length of vacancy, the minimum estimated turnover cost per employee comes in around $10,000. For a senior-level employee making over $100,000 per year, who may take 6 months to replace — that cost jumps up to close to $70,000.

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Tips for Boosting Employee Retention

Clearly, it pays to invest in employee retention. We’ve combined talent management best practices with our experience with more than 400 organizations that span industries, locations, and company sizes to come up with 12 tips. Each of these tips is designed not just to boost employee engagement levels in the short term but to build on the 4 pillars of a great employee experience over the long term: connection, meaning, impact and appreciation.

Say thanks

Recognition is perhaps your most powerful and simple approach to retaining top talent. Recognize contributions, accomplishments, and behaviors aligned with core business objectives and company values. Giving recognition frequently for specific behaviors has a huge impact.

Link recognition with company values

Our research for the Employee Experience Optimized shows that having leadership demonstrate clearly communicated core values is a critical part of an excellent employee experience. Tying these values to recognition makes it clear that employees’ work is meaningful and linked to a bigger picture.

Publicly celebrate top performers’ successes

Using a public forum like the company all-hands meeting, intranet, newsletter or social recognition feed where employees and leaders see who’s giving and receiving recognition amplifies the recognition’s power. Not only does it mean more to the person getting recognition – but others can be inspired with a clear message of what it takes to succeed at the company.

Offer more flexible work options

Not every job can be done remotely. But if it can, offer employees the freedom to work at home when needed. For shift workers, or other work that can’t be done remotely, think about ways to reward employees by offering them freedom to switch or request shifts that allow them to take care of their outside-of-work needs.

Automate your recognition

The workforce is increasingly tech-savvy. Finding a way to recognize employees in the ways they most relate to shows that you do understand them. Plus, most online recognition platforms let your HR teams save time by automating employee of the month, years of service awards, birthdays, peer-to-peer recognition, and more.

Offer challenging projects to unfulfilled employees

Provide more opportunities to learn and encourage participation in professional development training. Check out options by Udemy.com and Lynda.com if you don’t have a formal L&D program in place.

Allow top performers into strategy sessions with their leadership.

Not every company is big enough for lower level employees to joining the exec team’s staff meeting – but they can jump into skip-level meetings. Then, ask the employee for their feedback and ideas. They may be able to help solve your company’s or your team’s biggest problems.

Give transparent communication about company progress

Performance management studies have shown that employees who can link their personal goals to company goals are three times more likely to be engaged. This is even more critical for a top performer. Telling your team what challenges or goals the company is facing at any given time helps employees know how to prioritize work and solve problems.

Invest in team and cross-team connections.

One of Gallup’s questions on their engagement survey is “do you have a best friend at work?” Those work friendships are powerful motivators for people to perform – and to stay at their jobs. In our own research, we found that people would often stay at jobs where they liked the people they worked with, even if other elements of a great employee experience were missing.

Provide opportunities for employees to interact with executives or mentors

This may involve assigning a non-manager mentor for an employee with potential, or setting up an opportunity for executive coaching sessions. Or, ask your executives to have monthly open office hours or lunch and learns where employees can ask questions that are on their minds.

Encourage cross-functional team projects.

Not only do cross-functional projects create more connections across the company – but they also build employees’ own expertise. Having customer support work with someone from finance gives them both a chance to build their skills and get more on-the-job learning.

The good news? The Kazoo Employee Experience Platform makes it easy for you to implement many of these suggestions in your company’s everyday operations. Request a demo to see how Kazoo can help you increase employee retention today.