According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, three million Americans voluntarily quit their jobs every month. Three million. And many more are actively searching for a new opportunity, just waiting for a reason to dip out of an organization. As employers, it’s important to craft a winning employee-retention program that reduces turnover and matches your company culture. So how do you introduce strategies and perks that are valuable to your staff—and that you can afford to sustain?
Tried-and-True Employee Retention Strategies
Employees may come and go, but to retain your top talent, you need to increase overall employee engagement. Finding ways to learn from your employees and develop their skills is a great start. Here are four tried-and-true employee retention strategies to help reduce turnover.
- Create a Culture of Feedback: Your team shouldn’t have to wait until the season of performance reviews to receive positive and constructive feedback. When you create an ongoing culture of feedback, there are no end-of-the-year surprises. It’s also a great best practice to allow employees opportunities to provide feedback about each other, their managers, and the company in general. It allows a free-flowing level of honesty and transparency that employees crave.
- Unlock Learning Opportunities: A recent study conducted by the recruitment agency Randstad found that 75 percent of employees say they need more training to do their jobs well. When you allow your team the opportunity to grow and learn, they are adding additional skills to their toolkits and their resumes. But as Virgin Group founder Richard Branson said famously, “Train people well enough so they can leave. Treat them well enough so they don’t want to.” It’s important to find ways to include your team in the process by allowing them some choice in the skills they develop. One way is to allow employees to unlock advanced training or education dollars based on their tenure with the company. This shows employees you are invested in their development, and lets them choose how to spend those dollars.
- Promote from Within: Take steps to train and develop your employees so they are constantly increasing their expertise. Honing new skills sets them up for success within the organization—in their current roles or for promotions. Post jobs internally and coach your people managers to encourage staff to apply when they see an opportunity worth pursuing. This illustrates to your organization that you value internal talent. And promoting from within, when it makes sense, is a sure way to retain employees and keep them engaged.
- Set SMART Goals: SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, Timely. When you set up this type of goal, it’s toward a purpose that’s been mutually decided upon by employee and manager. Involving your team in the goal-creation process ensures that they understand why these goals are in place and also how the goals impact them and the business more broadly.
Perks to Win Employee Loyalty
Your employee retention strategies will help keep your team engaged. But to build loyalty, it doesn’t hurt to also offer perks that go beyond the classic healthcare benefits package. There are many different ways to make your team feel valued. Here are nine perks that help reduce turnover.
- Turn Your Kitchen Into a Social Space: Add circular tables or picnic-table-style lunch tables for employees to easily gather and hang out in the kitchen during downtime. Distil Networks vice president of people, Stephani Martin says, “We added a whiteboard in the kitchen, which has now turned into a fun and interactive way for employees to share. Employees started adding fun topics like, ‘First Concert or a Childhood Nickname.’ It’s really important for us to have the kitchen be a space of gathering and learning things about each other.” Just like in your home, the kitchen should be a community-building space.
- Stock the Bathrooms: It’s little touches that can make a big difference in someone’s day. Add a mouthwash dispenser with small cups, floss, hairspray, lotion, and feminine hygiene products to your bathroom counter. It’s just a small way to show you care.
- Tailor Surprises to the Individual: When you can, surprise employees with something special for going above and beyond. “You don’t always have to provide the same gift or perk to every person,” Martin suggests. “Rather, listen to people and encourage managers and others to reach out and tailor their gifts to the individual.” For example, if someone just bought a new house, offer a gift card to a home-goods store. Or, if someone has been working extremely hard and loves music, consider a pair of headphones. The key is to show them you care and listen to them.
- Cater Meals: Everyone loves a free lunch, and it’s a great way to encourage conversation between employees or teams that don’t normally work closely together. Jackie Roberts, global director of employee engagement at DoubleDutch, says her company caters a lunch for the team every Wednesday. “It has become part of our culture to eat together at our lunch table. It has strengthened the bonds of our employees as everyone takes a break from work stress to get to know each other outside of our day-to-day job functions.”
- Recognize Employees Based on Core Values: Clearly define the core values of your organization, and then live those values. Allow employees to nominate one another for going above and beyond and for aligning their work directly with the core values. This could come in many forms, from a simple notice on the company whiteboard or intranet to an annual award ceremony. No matter what you decide, incentives for a job well done drive and inspire employees to live your core values. The incentives also help them to feel recognized and appreciated.
- Allow Employees to Work Remotely: There are many benefits to working collaboratively, face to face, in an office. But more and more, employees need time away from the office to feel productive. If a fully remote workforce does not work with your company vision and culture, offer a few ad-hoc days to show employees your flexibility and your trust.
- Schedule Lunch with an Executive: Exposure to the executive team makes employees feel special. Work with your C-suite to put together a program, so they can get to know the team and also share what motivates them every day. This could come in the form of a monthly lunch for new hires or scheduled one-on-one lunches. Either way, it provides an invaluable opportunity for employees to learn what makes the executives tick.
- Set Up a Game Room: Create a space for employees to escape and unwind. Add a puzzle for everyone to work on together, a video-game station, a ping-pong table for blowing off steam, or board games for downtime. Get creative and encourage your employees to bring their favorite games to share. With any luck this could turn into a regular company-organized game night. A game space allows the team to socialize and connect outside of office time.
- Provide Paid Time to Volunteer: If your employees are eager to give back to the community, encourage and support them with paid time off. You could offer everyone a day to choose their own volunteer project or find a way to bring everyone together for an office-wide one. Giving back makes everyone feel good, especially when you get the added bonus of team-building, too.