remote working
Workplace strategy
7 min read

The best strategies to improve employee retention

According to research conducted by Microsoft, 41% of the entire global workforce are thinking about handing in their notice at work. Record numbers of people are switching jobs or (particularly when it comes to older age groups) quitting work altogether.

There’s a record number of job vacancies in the UK, the USA, and Australia, leaving many employers struggling to fill roles. Employees are leaving in search of early retirement, a better work-life balance, improved mental health, and work that simply feels more rewarding.

So what can businesses do to combat the Great Resignation?

Take a look around, and you’ll see brands offering impressive bonuses and improved starting salaries for new workers. There’s also renewed focus on employee retention, with companies trying to hold onto the talent they already have in-house.

With that in mind, here are eight strategies to improve employee retention at your organization.

8 strategies to improve employee retention

Refresh your onboarding and orientation

According to research, 1 in 4 new hires quit within their first 90 days of a job.

That means a ton of recruitment time and money down the drain for businesses. And finding a new candidate for the role is much easier said than done in the current climate.

Hanging on to new hires has to be a company priority. To do that, you need an excellent onboarding program that helps new employees feel productive and part of company culture from their very first day.

What does good onboarding look like?

A good onboarding program should begin as soon as a new employee signs their contract and continue until they’ve been in the role for at least three months.

Onboarding should include:

  • Information on company policies and benefits
  • Information on company brand and culture
  • Information on team structure
  • Details of company objectives and where the employee’s role fits in
  • Health and safety information
  • A schedule of training
  • Workstation setup
  • Opportunities to get to know the team and details of who to turn to with questions
  • Your expectations and employee goals for the onboarding period
  • Feedback on initial performance
  • Regular check-ins with a manager

How does onboarding work for remote employees?

These same guidelines still apply but often have to be tweaked when dealing with hybrid or remote working structures.

For example, regular check-ins are essential because there are fewer opportunities for a remote hire to seek informal help from colleagues and managers to notice how a new start may be struggling.

You may also want to arrange informal video conferences (so new starts get to meet their teams) and create processes for ensuring new hires have all the equipment they need for safe and productive remote working.

Create mentorship programs

Mentoring is another excellent way to improve the employee experience. So much so that an incredible 70% of Fortune 500 companies run their own in-house mentorship programs.

Traditionally, a senior member of staff is paired with a junior member of the team. The senior staffer then supports the junior with personal and career development. Younger employees are also mentoring senior staff members to support their new tech knowledge and generational mindset.

Whichever way you approach mentoring, there are benefits for mentor, mentee, and your employee retention stats:

  • Mentees receive industry and company knowledge. They get someone to talk to about career concerns, and they boost their confidence.
  • Mentors develop their leadership and listening skills. Importantly, giving something back makes their job feel more rewarding.
  • Research from the University of Cambridge shows that both mentor and mentee experience improved mental health. A mentorship program can reduce stress and anxiety for everyone involved.
  • In one seven-year study conducted at Sun Microsystems, employee retention rates improved by around 70% on the back of their mentorship program.

Make sure your compensation package lines up with industry standards

During a labor shortage, employees have more choice over where they work. They can shop around for the best work environment, the best job prospects — and the best salary.

With rising living costs a cause for concern across much of the developed world, making sure your compensation package aligns with your region’s economic situation and industry standards is key to retaining staff.

But if you’re a smaller player unable to outcompete bigger businesses within your industry when it comes to pay, all is not lost. Go as high as you can in terms of salary and then think about what else you can offer employees.

For example, company shares, involvement in company decision-making, or the opportunity to do ground-breaking work can all help compensate for a salary below the industry average. So too can the right perks and benefits…

And make sure you’re offering perks and benefits that your employees actually want and need

What do your employees want when it comes to perks and benefits? Healthcare? Gym membership? Company away days? Flexible work schedules?

According to research conducted by McKinsey, 52% of workers would prefer a hybrid working model post-pandemic, with an extra 11% preferring to work remotely. It seems that companies who embrace flexible working will find it easier to hang onto employees in the years to come.

But wide-ranging surveys won’t tell you everything. It’s essential to involve your own employees when developing or updating a benefits package.

Conduct a survey. Find out what your workers would find valuable. And then do your best to implement their ideas.

Update your technology to keep pace with remote and hybrid working

Remote working trends — brought about by the pandemic — are set to stick around. The best employers support their employees in remote and hybrid working by implementing the best equipment and software.

Slow and outdated systems affect employee retention. They cause stress and disengagement, leaving employees feeling frustrated and unproductive.

That’s why business owners need to seek out up-to-date tech and software fit for the workplace of the 2020s. From video conferencing to project managing to remote collaboration — there’s great software out there that can help your teams do all of the above.

There’s even software like Smartway2 that will help your teams book conference rooms, desks, equipment, parking, and lunch when they decide to venture into the office.

Pick the right technological solutions to streamline your operations and make it easy for your teams to get the job done.

Rethink performance feedback schedules and style

How often do managers at your company sit down with employees to conduct an appraisal?

If you leave a year between meetings, that’s twelve whole months in which an employee could be left feeling bored, frustrated, or struggling with a particular situation. Regular reviews allow you to spot these issues early and nip them in the bud.

As well as frequency, consider your review style. An informal review process is more likely to encourage an open dialogue — where employees feel comfortable coming to managers with their ideas and concerns and where both parties find ways to improve their performance.

The right approach enables managers to see where a training program, a new challenge, or a team change could benefit. You can support your employees more effectively — helping them feel good and do their best work — and keeping their attention away from those job boards.

Boost training, development, and opportunities

According to LinkedIn’s 2018 Workforce Learning Report, 93% of employees said they would stay at a company longer if that company invested in their careers. Offering your team good training and development opportunities can significantly improve retention.

Luckily, it’s a win-win situation. Employees get to develop skills that will help them progress in their careers. Employers benefit from a loyal and well-skilled workforce.

With the right training alongside progression opportunities, a company can improve productivity, outpace competitors and hold on to their best talent.

Training is crucial for preventing another big reason for employees leaving — poor management. By training your managers, helping them develop the soft skills they need to lead teams well, you may find your employees stick around for longer.

Clearly define company purpose and values

Increasingly, workers want to feel that they’re part of something bigger than themselves. They don’t just go to work to earn a wage and move up the company ladder. They want to feel that their work has a purpose and that they’re doing something good for the wider society.

That’s why pinning down and regularly acting upon your company values can create a more engaged and loyal workforce.

So strive to become a brand employees can be proud of. That might mean sponsoring a charity, volunteering within the community, or finding ways to minimize your company’s impact on the environment.

We hope these strategies for improving employee retention help your company navigate the Great Resignation. And if you want another way to improve employee experience in a post-pandemic workplace, look no further than Smartway2.

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Smartway2 is a workplace scheduling solution. We make it quick and easy for collaborative companies to book meeting rooms, desk space, equipment, and parking. Request a free demo to see our platform in action.


Marketing Smartway2

Last updated December 22, 2021
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