There’s no greater concern for a human resource department than employee retention. By presenting a quality pay framework and a functional and welcoming workplace environment, attracting talent is manageable. Instead, keeping your employees happy and ensuring you match or exceed expectations as an employer are the real challenges.
In 2021, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that employee turnover reached 57%. The COVID-19 Pandemic has heightened the importance of creating agile employee retention strategies while changing the goals and expectations of human resource managers. What should your modified expectations be for employee retention in the new normal?
Goal #1: Hire Right
Retention always starts with recruiting. From the moment you start screening applicants, you should be mindful of optimizing retention policies. You want to identify strategic and cultural aspects that you need to emphasize. Those aspects should be reflected in the applicants you interact with, ensuring you get those who are the best fit for your organization from the outset.
When turnover costs twice the annual salary of a lost employee, companies must take a big picture approach. Every ideal applicant for your organization should have long term potential and be a high driver of productivity. Their skill sets should not be just a match for the job description of the position you’re filling. They must also have the ability to grow into much more.
Your recruiting practices should ensure hires are consistently engaged. They should be aware of their value to the organization. Identify the candidates who have longevity with previous jobs, showing their capacities to work through the ups and downs with companies. These qualities speak to the level of engagement, loyalty and persistence that an employee has shown along their professional journey.
Goal #2: Use Onboarding to Learn
Onboarding is a two way street. It is not only important to start new hires on the right foot. The human resource department can also use it to learn more about an employee. This can provide insights to their personal workstyles, communication preferences and team dynamics. Afterwards, a specific plan can be tailored to their unique needs.
Find out what motivates your employees. Keep them engaged before they fully immerse themselves in their role under your watch. This improves the likelihood that employees will stick around for longer periods, especially if you’re giving them added incentive to remain loyal to you. Transparency is key, helping you set realistic retention goals in the short and long term.
Goal #2: Design and Maintain a Quality Employee Retention Plan
Human resource departments should set their goals and expectations for their employee retention strategies based on various factors. First, you need to have a retention strategy that works. You also need to have goals for employee approvals and nominations. The goals you set should be measurable and adjustable, depending on your financial sustainability as an organization, market conditions and organizational culture.
Goal #3: Bring Leadership Onboard
HR is not the only owner of retention strategies. It’s ultimately the leadership team’s responsibility to retain and protect employees. Leadership must review any strategy documentation that is drafted while the HR team measures all progress and failures associated with that strategy. However, they also rely on human resource managers for recommendations and proposals.
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HR must do a proper scouring of the market and consistently evaluate the best practices possible. Proper delegation of tasks and synergies between different departments is essential for designing strategies that keeps employees engaged and motivated.
Goal #4: Keep Alternatives Available
A quality retention strategy is good to have. However, human resource departments should always have alternatives readily available should the initial plan fail. There are also different groups of employees that you have to cater to, and they have different requirements. You should prepare various program levels so employees can achieve a higher retention status.
As an HR manager, you should collaborate with your employees and managers to fully substantiate the strategy. One of the most important pieces to be mindful of is communication. However, communication must also be tailored to specific employees. This is why several strategies must be developed.
Goal #5: Maintain Competitive Compensation
Employees are less likely to leave their jobs once they know there is a pay structure they can trust and they are duly compensated for their efforts. As a result, employee compensation is one of the most important things to tackle with your retention strategy.
Your staff should feel fairly compensated for the skill sets they offer and the volume of work they do each day. As an employer, you need to evaluate and adjust salaries to reflect these factors consistently.
However, pay raises are not the only factor. Bonuses, rewards and perks can be included in a complete total rewards strategy. You should also improve your healthcare and insurance benefits while helping employees establish a clearer path to retirement. These factors improve job satisfaction and productivity, potentially winning you some much needed organizational loyalty going forward.
Goal #6: Invest in Your Employees's Growth
When setting your HR goals for employee retention, make sure you factor in the human element, not just the financial. Furthermore, you should do your best to look out for your workers beyond what they can do for you. By offering a quality mentorship program, you can pair employees with mentors to steadily improve their abilities.
This is especially helpful for new hires. For example, the newest hires might be working from home and wants to become familiar with the company. Mentors will offer guidance to employees and be their proverbial ears to listen to their concerns and ideas. They also allow for vertical collaboration and keeps everyone invested in the company long term.
Goal #7: Emphasize Wellness
You also need to center your HR goals around wellness and communication when trying to keep employees long-term. The pandemic has been rigorously testing people physically, mentally, and emotionally since the beginning of 2020. You should offer financial wellness services to ease fears over their financial futures. You should also implement stress management programs and mental health days so that they feel their state of mind is valued within your organization.
Goal #8: Communicate
Your goals should also explore how effective internal communication is throughout your workplace. Instead of having constant team meetings, you should prioritize one on one sessions with your employees to discuss their professional goals and development. You can also help them peek into the future, looking at their long term prospects with your company as well as career advancement.
A comprehensive communication platform can bring all these strategies together and allow for HR to focus on the bigger picture.