Employee Retention: How to Stop Good Employees from Leaving

July 15, 2021
Izza A.

An organisation is only as good as its people. When employee retention is poor, it affects productivity, innovation, and morale. Employee turnover increases recruitment and training costs, hurts company reputation and deters the right talents from joining. 

Employee engagement is crucial to retention and should be one of the core objectives of any firm. Employee retention cannot be the responsibility of the human resources (HR) department alone. It requires a combined effort from the leadership team as well. 

To help you, here are five ways in which companies can stop their good employees from leaving.

5 ways to ensure good employee retention

1. Provide a good onboarding experience

New employee onboarding programmes need to go beyond the usual pleasantries and introductions to make a meaningful impact. From the employee’s point of view, it’s their introduction to a new culture and system. HR should make the process simple, structured, and welcoming.

An effective onboarding should start before the employee’s first day at work. HR can send an email telling them what their first day would look like. They can also request managers to call up the employees and have a brief conversation. That will make them feel as if they’re already part of the team.

Companies should also ensure that an employee’s first day is not spent on cumbersome paperwork. HR should have their documentation, badges, and workstation ready. They can also add informal introductions and schedule lunches with their coworkers.  

2. Be transparent & communicate often

Transparency builds trust. When employees know that their organisation shares the necessary information with them, they will feel valued. But far too often, management either never reveals the true picture or does it late.

This has a negative trickle-down effect. If employees think that the management is not honest, they too will have no incentive to be open among their team members. 

Communication has become crucial in the age of remote work. Leaders and managers should ensure that they listen to their employees. They should encourage their team members to give feedback and treat it with empathy and respect. 

3. Give more employee recognition

Employees will stay where they are recognised and appreciated. Employee recognition shouldn’t solely be a year-end exercise, but an important part of the organisational culture. This is crucial for innovation and employee retention. When employees’ work is appreciated, they’re more encouraged to experiment and create. 

Companies should recognise smaller victories too. Punctuality and attention to detail are things that can be appreciated regularly. Even a handwritten note can do wonders if it recognises someone’s performance. It’ll make employees feel special, which in turn increases their engagement. 

4. Be a good leader

Traditional management systems were aimed at creating successful leaders, even if that came at the cost of employee alienation. However, a good leader puts their people first. 

A good leader works in sync with the team, providing necessary guidance and removing obstacles for team members to maximise their creativity and potential. Instead of micromanaging, leaders trust in their employees’ ability to perform and deliver.  

Good leadership also means having the ability to quickly make important decisions and allocate responsibilities. The longer a manager decides, the harder the project and the more frustrating team members will be. 

When employees enjoy collaborating with their leaders and creating meaningful impact together, it improves employee retention and engagement.

5. Organise employee engagement activities

The key to better employee retention is having a set of planned activities throughout the year instead of ad-hoc events. More importantly, the process should involve the employees.

For example, companies could plan weekly mystery lunches, monthly game nights, or even quarterly parties to create a sense of belonging among the employees.  

Oftentimes, companies plan their employee engagement activities by only considering the impact on productivity. Whether it’s competitive games, parties, or lunches, the focus should be to provide a fun and engaging environment for employees to enjoy. 

Final thoughts on employee retention

Employee retention should be a long-term business objective involving the entire organisation. While providing attractive salary and benefits is crucial, it is not the main driver for employee retention or engagement anymore. 

To make good employees stay, organisations must constantly make them feel welcomed, appreciated, and respected throughout their employment. Employee retention must be a high priority for organisations in order to thrive in a competitive business environment.

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