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Employee Retention: 12 Strategies for Retaining Top Talent

Jan 10, 2022
Employee Retention: 12 Strategies for Retaining Top Talent
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According to the U.S. Labor Department, 3.0% of U.S. workers left their jobs in September 2021. These statistics show a spike when compared to the employee turnover rate of 2.1% in September 2020. COVID-19 is changing the dynamics of how people work, and those who seek jobs are reevaluating their career needs.

Many are naming this the era of “The Great Resignation.” Although, what is The Great Resignation all about? In a traditional aspect, many people quitting their jobs is usually seen as a positive sign. It shows the economy is strong and there are plenty of jobs to go around.

However, these times are abnormal, and this high-level wave of resignations is nothing like what we’ve seen in the past.

What Is Causing the Great Resignation Today?

Between businesses shutting down and salary cuts, the pandemic has brought about a financial challenge for most employees. Although these times are improving each day, why are people still resigning?

According to a study at Harvard Business Review, resignation rates increased for employees by between 30 and 45%, with an average rate of 20% between 2020 and 2021. For the younger age groups, the resignation rates decreased. For this reason, experts believe that people who wanted to quit decided to stay due to financial uncertainty.

While uncertainty is a cause for concern, this pushes people to rethink their professional development, career choices, and life overall. The people who choose to quit their jobs are the ones who are making a complete career shift, often to more flexible work. Another factor that's driving people to ditch their jobs is that they are feeling burnt out, stressed, and ready for a new path in their employee experience.

To help you retain and attract top talent during these uncertain times, here are a few strategies that enable you to accomplish your goals.

1. Build Trust With Your Employees

The first thing when it comes to employee retention strategies is to exercise trust. Workers seek trust and want to feel a safety net while being at work. When employees don’t trust you, they won’t believe that you’re working with their best interests in mind.

Essentially, without trust, employees feel that what they share could be used against them. Or that their manager simply won’t do anything to help. So how can employers build trust into their company culture with their employees?

It’s all about relationships. Consider creating a positive relationship, show empathy, and remind your employees you’re there to assist them. Work with them by letting your team make mistakes, show honesty, and allow them to be part of the decision-making process.

1. Prepare to Answer Questions

Since it can be very difficult to come up with a perfect answer to a difficult question, employers will often ask their potential employees to prepare for an interview by thinking of some questions they might be asked. Here are some potential questions and the best way to answer each one.

  • Describe yourself.

  • I am an accomplished individual with strong interpersonal skills.

  • What are your strengths?

  • I stay organized, am an excellent problem solver, and am capable of multitasking.

  • What are your weaknesses?

  • I can be impatient at times, but I also work hard to overcome that.

  • How has this company made an impact on your life? 


2. Support Career Development and Opportunities for Growth

According to Havard Business Review, their survey data shows that 68% of employees worldwide are willing to learn new skills and retrain themselves. Workers want more than what they have in their current jobs. Most do not feel like they are growing or learning anything new within their position.

They want a job that provides challenges and allows them to utilize their skill set and their time. How are leaders supposed to learn about what their employees desire? The best solution to this problem is to have conversations within the workplace.

Consider learning what their wants and needs are as well as their aspirations for short-term and long-term growth. You can start this as early as the onboarding process. 

With that said, a training and development program is an excellent way to increase employee retention. If your organization does not have the means to provide a training program, there are other ways to invoke growth. Managers can create development opportunities as a way to build talent and growth for their organization.

3. Provide Flexibility Within the Workplace

The pandemic caused a dramatic shift for office workers to continue working, but from home. This remote work development caused many new changes surrounding the work/life balance. Now people returning to the office say they would like to continue working a few days remotely out of the week.

Studies have shown that people who stayed at home were less likely to quit their jobs than people who stuck with working in the office. Instead of enforcing the standard 9 to 5, allow your employees to have more control over their schedules and where they work. Many employees will feel more engaged when they have a sense of control. Without it, this quickly leads to burnout.

Consider creating job flexibility so people can be there to pick up their children from school or come into the office on days they feel like it.

4. Invest in Employee Well-Being

Mental health issues are on the rise due to many workplace factors and financial stress on employees. These problems show that leaders need to take action on investing in a healthy work-life balance for their workers.

One way to invest is by opting for an employee wellness program. Wellness programs promote healthy workplace behaviors and can increase employees’ knowledge of health.

Other ways you can show initiative is by:

  • Offering mental health resources for employees

  • Providing resources for leaders and having conversations with team members about coming back to work in the office

  • Hosting small group meetings to discuss challenges

5. Communicate and Support Transparency

Communication and transparency are both drivers of employee engagement. Many team members come across the challenges of communicating with each other, especially in hybrid work environments. However, as distances grow between teams, you can still create clear communication.

Organizations are succeeding with this by attending regular meetings, engaging in thoughtful employee recognition programs, and implementing essential project updates. When you share information among the team, people feel valued and have a sense of belonging.

6. Create Purpose

While the pandemic has caused a significant transition for everyone, many people are starting to realize they want to make a difference. People don’t want to spend the majority of their time working. They want to go in a direction that helps them serve a purpose.

One way to give more meaning to employees is by discussing the organization’s overall purpose. Show workers the bigger picture and how they fit within their role. You can also cultivate a sense of purpose by asking employees how to make improvements within the company.

Giving people a chance to make a difference will provide more meaning to their daily work.

7. Develop Workplace Culture and Connection

After the pandemic brought forth social distancing, establishing a connection is more important than ever. Team building is what solidifies workers’ relationships with their organization. Social connection makes a significant difference in productivity in a positive way.

As a leader, you should consider prioritizing a culture of relationship-building to help manage employee retention rates.

8. Continue to Listen to Employees

As many organizations continue to evolve into hybrid workplaces, you should take a two-way approach to listen. First, permit leaders, management, and employees to add feedback through a variety of listening styles. For example, small group discussions and continuous listening are effective ways to address employee concerns. Then, give leaders the tools they need to address employee concerns.

9. Offer Incentives for Loyalty

To take the stresses away from financial uncertainty, consider offering your employees an annual bonus. Bonuses can help your team pay off student loans, contribute to child care, and provide stipends for people to work from home. One benefit to compensation is the opportunity to learn and correct payment iniquities for people of color, women, and mothers.

10. Increase Positive Feedback

Research shows that positive feedback improves learning performance and is more effective than negative feedback. With the implementation of positive and constructive feedback, you motivate your employees to do their best work and improve their job satisfaction. 

One way of improving yourself on giving positive feedback is to be self-aware of your negative comments. If you mention a negative comment, be sure to add more positive feedback to ensure work productivity is at its peak.

11. Encourage Creativity

Many companies value creativity, but they don’t necessarily have any initiatives in place to support it. To stimulate creativity in the workplace, start by:

  • Providing rewards. Recognize and incentivize employees who contribute to the workplace in the most tangible way.

  • Offer an outlet. Not all employees like public recognition for their ideas. Make room for both public and private feedback.

  • Demonstrate that you value creativity. Provide employees with the opportunity to think outside the box. Reward well-intentioned failures.

Establish teams of innovative employees. Give them space to come up with new ideas on a particular topic.

12. Foster Workplace Respect

Now more than ever, people are searching for jobs that instill respect. They don’t want to feel devalued within an organization.

You can foster a place of respect by implementing feedback, recognition, and so forth. It’s also important to empower your employees with tools and resources. Additionally, when you demonstrate kindness and thoughtfulness, you create a place where everyone would like to work.

Next Steps for Improving Employee Retention

When increasing employee retention, you don’t have to create change at a foundational level. Instead, you can prioritize each strategy one step at a time. If you’re unaware of where to start, begin learning about the underlying issues. Once you understand your organization’s turnover risk, you can seek areas of opportunity.


Author Bio: This article is written by our marketing team at HR Cloud. HR Cloud is a leading provider of HR solutions, including recruiting, onboarding, employee engagement, and intranet software. Our aim is to help your company improve employee engagement, employee productivity, and to save you valuable time!

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