Effective Retention Strategies
There is ongoing discourse in all sectors (public, private, healthcare and non-profit) regarding the need for retaining talented employees. And there is consistent agreement that doing so can be more difficult and challenging than hiring them. The retention of good employees is a human resources strategy that contributes in many ways to the overall performance of an organization. Effective employee retention results in lower turnover and associated costs, increased customer and employee satisfaction, increased productivity, improved product quality, and greater financial success.
The challenge of effective employee retention has increased because many more organizations are competing in a global marketplace with a multitude of opportunities for high-performers. A company’s employee retention, growth, increase in market share, and even survival are directly related to the attainment of their strategic goals, and talented employees contribute significantly to the achievement of these goals.
Strategies for Effective Employee Retention
- Hire the “right” employee – utilize appropriate processes and tools to assess a candidate’s skills and organizational fit
- Onboarding – this process must provide an accurate picture of the organization, including its vision, mission and core values
- Establish clear expectations – there cannot be any doubt as to what is expected of the new employee, both in term of job tasks/responsibilities, desired outcomes, and behavior
- Allow employees to utilize their skills to learn, do, and “become”
- Provide employees with meaningful work
- Create career challenges and upward mobility opportunities
- Provide learning and development opportunities within a high-performing employee’s current role, especially when a promotion may not be an option
- Encourage creativity and innovation in job functions – including decision making and problem-solving
- Develop and execute a program of professional development
- Create a culture of open communication
- Create a culture of fairness and equitable treatment
- Create a culture of inclusion – employees want to be “in on things”
- Provide platforms for employees to speak their minds freely
- Provide quality management or supervision
- Ensure that employees know how they are contributing and feel valued
- Foster respect
- Help ensure alignment between the core values of the company and employees
- Pay market or better pay rates and benefits
- Create and execute an effective reward and recognition program
- Create and execute a feedback loop – positive and developmental
- Encourage work/life balance or harmony
Reducing turnover and retaining superior talent is crucial and can be the most challenging aspect of running a successful business. This is particularly true in leading a multi-generational workforce. Organizations need to be innovative and creative in their interactions with their employees. The research indicates that employees want to learn, do, and “become” more. And they want to be “in on things,” such as goal setting, problem-solving and decision-making. Engaging and retaining employees will continue to be a function of “fit” with the organizational culture and the challenge of retaining superior talent will determine which organizations are competitive and grow and which ones struggle.
Thanks to Charles Parnell of HPISolutions and Kevin Brunhall for their contributions to this article.