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Employee Retention: 5 Ways to Keep Employees from Jumping Ship

by Guest Post | Last Updated August 16, 2016
Employee Retention

Gone are the days when employees spent the better part of their careers (say, 30+ years) with one company.

Today's workers—especially those in the younger generation—are quick to jump ship (as much as four times in 10 years) if they feel their employer isn't meeting their needs.

And employers are not blind to the rising problem of employee turnover.

Employee retention and employee wellbeing are the top concerns for human resources professionals today.

HR leaders know it's hard to build a strong team and maintain a high level of productivity when a company is constantly filling vacant positions and getting new employees up to speed.

So how do companies keep employees on board and avoid the time and money suck often associated with high employee turnover?

The short answer:

Hire the right people in the first place and keep them engaged. Easy, right?

Wrong.

But here are five employee retention strategies to help you take a step in the right direction and cut down on employee turnover.

Strategy #1: Write good job descriptions so
expectations are clear from the start

Write Good Job Descriptions

Before you post a job opening and start accepting applications, make sure the job description gives candidates a clear picture of the position and company.

An effective job description will include easily digestible lists of desired skills and job duties, as well as a revealing company description.  

If you're looking for candidates with specific skills and experience, make that clear in the description. If you want to find candidates who are comfortable with your fun, flexible culture, write a personality-filled company description that puts your culture on display.

Setting up expectations from the very beginning (before someone even submits an application!) can decrease employee turnover in the long run.

How?

Great job descriptions help job seekers better determine if an opportunity is right for them—which means you get only the best applicants in the first place.

Strategy #2: Use effective recruiting and hiring tactics to find employees who are the right fit for the job

Effective Recruiting Hiring Tactics

It can be tough to find the perfect candidate to fill an open position at your company, but hiring the right person is highly important if you want to boost your  retention rates. Employees who are the right fit for the job and company are happier and more invested in the company's success, which means they tend to stick around longer.

To give yourself a better chance of finding the right employees, you need develop effective recruiting and hiring strategies.

For example, create an employee referral program that allows current employees to help with recruiting.

If you have awesome employees, they likely know other awesome people who would make great employees. Having an insider who can vouch for the work ethic and personality of a potential candidate can be invaluable.

When it comes to interviewing, make sure you uncover a candidate's long-term qualifications.

For example, is the position or company part of the candidate's long-term goals? Why did the candidate leave his or her last employer? Does the candidate have a good attitude?

If an interviewee doesn't seem like a long-term fit, move on and find a candidate who is less likely to add to employee turnover.

Strategy #3: Create an onboarding program to
help new employees get acclimated

Create an Onboarding Program

Up to 20% of employee turnover happens within the first 45 days of employment.

This means proper onboarding is crucial if you want to boost retention rates.

Get new employees plugged into your company right away with an onboarding manual or video that introduces them to all essential processes, people, tools, and products. And provide proper training and direction to make sure new employees don't feel over- or underwhelmed by the job.

According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), onboarding is key to retaining and engaging talent.

One study reviewed by SHRM revealed significant benefits for companies with onboarding programs:

  • 66% report a higher rate of successful assimilation of new hires into company culture
  • 62% report higher time-to-productivity ratios
  • 54% report higher employee engagement

Strategy #4: Be intentional about company
culture and employee engagement

Clear Company Culture

In a recent report by Deloitte, “culture and engagement” was rated the most important issue overall for businesses.

What does that mean?

It means your top business priorities should include maintaining an attractive company culture and keeping employees engaged—especially if you want to avoid high employee turnover.

These days, only 13% of employees worldwide feel engaged with their organization. And 50–60% of workers admit that they search for a new job frequently.

It's clear that engagement is a problem at many organizations.

To help your employees love their jobs and stay loyal to your company, you can offer flexible scheduling or work arrangements, incentives or rewards for high performance, company-paid lunches, team-building activities or company events, volunteer opportunities, and more.

You can also make sure all employees have a voice and feel comfortable approaching peers and leaders regardless of title.

If you are creative, there's lots of great ideas to keep your employees engaged.

Strategy #5: Conduct performance reviews
to keep everyone on the same page

Conduct Performance Reviews

Performance reviews are far from exciting, but they can be an important strategy for employee retention. Some employees won't ever speak up (positively or negatively) unless a formalized review process is in place.

Giving employees and managers the opportunity to exchange feedback can help everyone maintain a healthy work life.

Quarterly or annual performance reviews can help bring concerns or issues to the table that would otherwise go undiscussed. They can also give employees a chance to voice their goals and future plans so managers can work to give employees the opportunities they seek.

Employees are much more likely to stick around if they feel heard and valued by their managers.

Concluding Thoughts

Employee turnover is an important issue for many businesses today. It's pretty easy for people to jump from job to job, so you have to be intentional about preventing employee turnover.

This guide offers five employee retention strategies for keeping your employees on board, but there are certainly other avenues you can take.

What is your top employee retention strategy?

Let us know in the comments!

Miranda Nicholson

Guest Post by Miranda Nicholson

Miranda Nicholson is the Talent Department Manager at Formstack, overseeing the acquisition, onboarding, and retention of current and to-be Formstackers. Indianapolis is the place she and her family call home. Pizza is her spirit animal.

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