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    6 Employee Retention Strategies to Try This Year

    6 mins

    While salary and benefits remain top priorities for most U.S. workers, more than good pay is needed to ensure workers will stick around. To keep their people, organizations must develop dynamic strategies for employee retention, ones that address the modern workforce’s wants and needs – better work-life balance and integration, more flexibility, and a sense of purpose and belonging, just to name a few. 

    Looking for steps you can take to improve retention at your organization? In this article, we’re covering six actionable strategies you’ll want to try.

    1. Ensure Your Hiring Practices Are Prioritizing the Best Candidates

    How does your organization handle hiring? A successful strategy for employee retention starts with a staffing approach that ensures your people are the best fit for your business. The best candidate for your organization may not necessarily be the one with the most storied resume, most relevant past job titles, or highest level of education.

    If retention is a goal for you this year, it may be time to test out a skills-based approach. When implemented correctly, skills-based hiring can help employers attract a more diverse pool of talent more likely to be better fit to their roles.

    2. A Strong Onboarding Process Is Crucial

    According to a survey from BambooHR, most new hires decide whether a job they’ve accepted is a good fit within the first month, and employers typically have upwards of 44 days to influence whether a new hire will stay on as a long-term employee. Naturally, those first months spent orienting and onboarding are crucial to creating the connections necessary to ensure a candidate is in it for the long haul.

    What are the earmarks of a strong onboarding process?

    • New employees have a clear, responsive, and knowledgeable point of contact for questions. There is ample support available for completing necessary onboarding documents.

    • Effort is made to ensure the employee feels welcomed and included at your organization and on their team.

    • Job necessary tools and equipment are ready as soon as possible – this is especially crucial for remote and hybrid workers.

    • Adequate training on company culture, policies, compliance, job tasks, and products or services.

    • Ongoing support is available for the new hire, possibly through a mentor. Check-ins are done regularly.

    • The process dynamically addresses the unique challenges of hybrid, in-person, and remote work environments – whatever is most relevant to your business.

    3. Create a Comprehensive, Competitive Compensation and Benefits Package

    Your top priority in crafting a successful employee retention strategy should be offering a compensation package that lets your employees know they and their work are valued. 

    Across the United States, the minimum wage is no longer a living wage, and a living wage is the absolute bare minimum you should offer. To stand out and retain talent, your organization should offer truly competitive salaries, competitive benefits, and a solid plan for increasing wages based on performance and tenure.

    To ensure your total compensation package is enticing…

    • Research compensation packages in your industry and operating locations to ensure you match or exceed offerings.

    • Build a thorough compensation strategy that allows for growth opportunities and promotion and pay increases outside the traditional managerial track.

    • Offer benefits that will appeal to your employees’ specific wants and needs. Through market research and internal surveys, you can pinpoint what perks and benefits are most in demand for your people.

    • Prioritize meaningful perks and benefits over gimmicky ones like ping-pong tables and pizza parties.

    • Ensure benefits and perks offered emphasize a commitment to your employees’ physical and mental wellness. 

    4. Establish Work-Life Integration Strategies that Create Flexibility while Setting Boundaries

    Flexibility remains a top priority for U.S. workers. Study after study has shown that return-to-office mandates often greatly increase the chance of employee turnover. On the other hand, in 2023, the vast majority of workers surveyed by Buffer (98%) liked the idea of working remotely at least some of the time for the rest of their careers. 

    Flexible schedules, condensed work weeks, and remote work options can help employees struggling with the demands of modern life regain personal time and combat burnout.

    At the same time, maintaining boundaries is also essential. The Buffer survey found that establishing boundaries between professional and personal lives was an important consideration for 71% of respondents, but was not always easy or successful to implement. It will be up to you and your HR team to help employees establish firm limits on when they are available for work.

    • Work with employees to establish clear work hours and availability, particularly if they are remote or hybrid.

    • Discourage overworking. Employees should take time entirely away from work unplugged, and that time should be respected.

    • Ensure employees are accessing work only during work hours, and that they know they do not need to respond to correspondence outside of work hours.

    5. Invest in Your People with Professional Development Opportunities

    Continuing to invest in your employees past the onboarding stage is crucial to business success, in general, but it also results in happier, more productive, and engaged employees. 

    How can you invest in your people and get them to invest in your organization?

    • Learning stipends and tuition reimbursement allow employees to access training resources like classes, webinars, and conferences.

    • Upskilling benefits your people and business, preparing your workers for lateral and upward mobility.

    • Mentorship and coaching opportunities can put employees on the path to promotion. Internal promotions are much more likely to stick around than outside hires.

    6. Foster a Culture of Open Communication

    An organizational culture that promotes clear communication at all levels can boost employee engagement and reduce the risk of burnout – leading to reduced turnover. 

    Here are some ways you can push your organization’s culture toward positive, open communication:

    • Ensure leadership and all managers are adequately trained on how to engage their teams. Good communication is not just being an apt speaker, either. Active listening and empathy are key, as well!

    • Promote constant and consistent feedback at all levels. When seeking employee opinions, make sure that they feel heard by responding to and acting on the feedback you receive.

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    Kristina Dinabourgski
    Kristina Dinabourgski
    Has a passion for demystifying benefits 🎉

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