“It’s so hard to keep good employees around these days,” you mutter to yourself, as you mull over the next influx of new candidate applications. The cycle of employee turnover seems to never stop. The process wears out company resources, funds and your patience, but it’s a necessary evil. Or, is it?
Keeping your team happy and engaged will increase retention rates, reducing employee turnover and the dreaded quest for new candidates.
Stop the turnover chaos in its tracks and get your retention policies in gear. Here are seven tips on keeping your team happy at work over the long-term, as well as how to onboard with your mission to rule the business world.
Employees Are More Than Worker Bees
If your employees are doing their jobs, what else should you worry about? While employees may put in the hours, their interest and investment exited stage left. Soon, your shot at retaining these employees goes with them — out the front door with their two-week notice.
Employees are more than worker bees and deserve your respect and engagement as professionals. Get to know these employees as people, who possess work-related and outside interests. How do they lead their lives beyond work? Their external experiences affect their work ethic and performance.
Their real-world experience and interests offer valuable contributions to the company. Encourage employees to develop outside interests, and if they don’t interfere with work duties, let them have time off to pursue personal and professional development opportunities. Reward employees when they support each other. Engage in conversation and say hello from time to time. All these approaches build trust and positively affect retention.
Offer Feedback More Than Once
Alternatively, don’t wait for good feedback, either. For many employees, the annual review serves as the only direct route to feedback, and they don’t want to wait again for a potential payoff conveyed but never delivered in the past.
Positively reinforce employee contributions year-round — , both daily and weekly — especially millennial workers, at 72 percent. More than 75 percent of employees say feedback contributes to success, and 45 percent want input from clients and peers, but less than 30 percent hear this type of feedback. When delivered appropriately, constructive feedback efficiently boosts performance, according to 92 percent of respondents.
Formal annual reviews govern the feedback process, but employees crave and deserve immediate and direct interaction. Do yearly reviews give the accurate day-to-day picture of employee contributions? No. Provide year-round reviews to complement annual feedback and keep your employees engaged.
Don’t Encourage or Participate in Favoritism
Cultivate a culture of respect, equality and accountability over favoritism, which leads to employees feeling undervalued, invisible and resentful. The negative ramifications of nepotism often push employees to quit instead of pursuing paths to success. The consequences extend to reinforcing toxic work culture only to decrease morale and discourage growth.
Do you look the other way when a talented employee breaks the dress code or shows up late repeatedly? Do you dock others in areas where you consistently fail to reprimand a “good” employee? Fair rewards, feedback and reprimands across the board encourage loyalty, retention and success.
While larger companies possess more resources to replace an employee or two, smaller businesses cultivating cultures of nepotism risk losing more with high turnover rates. Regardless, losing talented employees because of favoritism affects all employers. Participate in a culture of respect and equality, such as implementing the same base annual salary for those who possess the same job title.
Develop Mentorship Opportunities
Mentorship programs aren’t outdated, nor are they reserved for high schoolers and interns. These programs boost employee morale when offered. Mentorship opportunities allow employees to learn desired skills to climb the corporate leadership ladder. Let employees gain skills in a separate department and enable senior employees to give back to the company by passing on their skills to new hires.
Doing well in your job boosts your morale and sense of well-being. Developing mentorship programs creates a chain reaction of positive psychology that directly affects productivity and work culture — opportunities to workers, from career development to leadership. Don’t get left behind.
Stop Abusing Break Times
Every government mandates set breaks for employees depending on their work status, such as contract, part-time or full-time. Outside of breaks, do your employees get enough time to recover mentally and physically from their duties? Do they feel short-changed?
Eye strain is on the rise among employees, while productivity plummets — regularly at work, taking at least one break. Staring at a screen for prolonged periods also leads to painful headaches, costing the economy $17 billion in medical care, absenteeism and productivity. Convertible standing desks allow the body to shift from sitting to standing, and brief walks also enable employees to stretch their legs.
Provide employees with realistic break time to maintain productivity and engagement. Some employers give the bare minimum when it comes to break time to cut costs and wrongly believe it will provide employees with more time to do their jobs when the opposite is true.
Offer Tuition Repayment Contributions
Millennials carry more college debt than prior generations and will make up , just a few short years away. As the most educated generation yet, employers should take advantage of the situation and offer education benefits to help their millennial employees repay student loans.
Financial concerns burden employees. Increase benefits packages to include education, and your employees are
less likely to seek higher-paying work elsewhere, especially millennials, who have also earned the title of “job hoppers.” Employees may receive these benefits through a company program that pays a set monetary contribution after the first six months of employment, or through more creative means, such as bonuses for stellar work performance or cash-in credits for pursuing approved professional development opportunities.
Implement Summer Fridays During Winter
Who wants to work on a Friday afternoon in the summer? Nobody, that’s who! So, let employees out to play and relax.
who successfully implemented the flex-time policy of allowing employees an afternoon off — which, depending on the size of the company and demand for services, may mean staggering the time off among employees or letting everyone off at once.
But what about wintertime, when seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is at its height and affecting employee productivity? If the trend is so successful, why not implement summer Fridays during winter? Set a new norm and leave other employers in the dust.
Don’t risk a bad hire. Retain the employees you have by cultivating a work culture of equality, respect, flexibility and engagement. Your employees will be happy and stick around longer, and remember — the returns of investment on current employees pay off in the end over sustaining employee turnover culture.
About the Author
Sarah Landrum is the founder of , a career and happiness blog. As a freelance writer, Sarah enjoys writing about a variety of topics from career and business to healthy living. Catch her on Twitter for more great advice.
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