10 Factors that Affect Employee Retention
Most managers understand the importance of employee retention and its impact on the overall health and vitality of an organization. The importance of retaining top performers will only increase over the coming years as the massive cohort of baby boomers begin to reach retirement age making it easy for younger employees to find work.
In a previous article we identified some useful tips to help improve employee retention in your organization. Given the importance of retaining your best employees, we have compiled another list of 10 important factors that can impact employee retention in your organization.
- Shorten the feedback loop- do not wait for an annual performance review or evaluation to come due to give feedback on how an employee is performing. Most team members enjoy frequent feedback about how they are performing. Shortening the feedback loop will help to keep performance levels high and will reinforce positive behavior. Feedback does not necessarily need to be scheduled or highly structured; simply stopping by a team member's desk and letting them know they are doing a good job on a current project can do wonders for employee morale and help to increase retention.
- Offer a competitive compensation package- any team member wants to feel that he or she is being paid appropriately and fairly for the work he or she does. Be sure to research what other companies and organizations are offering in terms of salary and benefits. It is also important to research what the regional and national compensation averages are for that particular position. You can be sure that if your compensation package is not competitive, team members will find this out and look for employers who are willing to offer more competitive compensation packages.
- Balance work and personal life- family is incredibly important to team members. When work begins to put a significant strain on one's family no amount of money will keep an employee around. Stress the importance of balancing work and one's personal life. Small gestures such as allowing a team member to take an extended lunch once a week to watch his son's baseball game will likely be repaid with loyalty and extended employment with an organization.
- Beware of burnout- staff adequately to reduce the amount of unwanted overtime a team member must work. Some employees enjoy the extra money that accompanies overtime hours, while others would rather spend their time with their families or doing other activities they enjoy. Burnout can be a leading cause of turnover. Recognize the warning signs and give employees a break when they need it.
- Provide opportunities for professional development and growth - offer opportunities for team members to acquire new skills and knowledge useful to the organization. If an employee appears to be bored or burned out in a current position offer to train this individual in another facet of the organization where he or she would be a good fit. Nobody wants to feel stuck in their position will no possibility for advancement or new opportunities.
- The ability to provide input and be taken seriously - everybody has opinions and ideas, some are better than others. However every team member wants to feel that their input is welcome and will be taken seriously without ridicule or condescension. Some of the greatest ideas can come from the most unlikely of places and people. Creating a culture where input is welcome from all level of the organizational chart will help your organization grow and encourage long term employee retention.
- Management must take the time to get to know team members- it's not a big surprise that one of the greatest complaints that employees express in exit interviews is a feeling that management didn't know they existed. Nobody wants to feel like just another spoke in a big wheel. Managers are very busy - everybody is busy, but it is crucial that managers and supervisors take the time get to know the team members who work under them. Learn and remember a team member's name, what skills and talents they bring to the table, and what their business interests are. The time spent by management getting to know team members is well invested and can eliminate the headaches caused by having to continually hire and re-train new employees.
- Provide the tools and training an employee needs to succeed- nothing can be more frustrating to an employee than a lack of training or the proper tools to successfully complete his or her duties. You wouldn't try to build a house without a hammer, so why should an office job be any different? Providing a team member with the tools and training she needs to be successful shows a commitment and investment in that employee and will encourage the team member to stay with the organization.
- Make use of a team member's talents, skills, and abilities- all team members have knowledge, skills, and abilities that aren't directly related to their job description, but are still useful to an organization. Utilizing a team member's talents in areas other than their current position will indicate to an employee that management appreciates and recognizes all that an employee has to offer to the organization. This can also provide work variety and helps to break up the everyday grind of work.
- Never threaten a team member's job or income - While threatening an employee with termination or demotion might seem like a surefire way to get the results needed from him or her, doing so will likely cause the employee to leave the organization. Put yourself in the employee's shoes, what is the first thing you would do if your job was threatened? Odds are you would probably update your resume and start checking for open job postings expecting the worst. If a team member's performance is not what you had hoped it would be, work with that team member on ways to improve his performance, saving termination only as a last resort.
Take some time and seriously evaluate what your organization is doing to encourage a high retention workforce. Having a seasoned and well trained workforce can deliver a competitive advantage that is difficult to replicate. The best part is most of your efforts to retain your employees come free or with little charge and offer huge returns on a manger's investment in time and resources.