By Twine on

You work hard to hire the best employees you can, knowing that top talent is critical to the success of your organization. And once you’ve hired these employees, you do your best to keep them satisfied. But despite your best efforts, you still lose good employees.

Employee turnover is expensive. The Center for American Progress found in a 2012 study that replacing someone in a midrange position ($30,000 to $50,000 a year) costs 20% of their annual salary on average. For executive positions, the cost can climb to an astronomical 213%. And even beyond these replacement costs, losing good talent hurts your organization’s future prospects, sales, and overall productivity.

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In today’s article, we’re going to give you 8 employee retention strategies, helping you avoid the high costs of losing your best people.

1. Show Your Appreciation

As humans, we want to feel that our work is appreciated. We want to know that our contributions are meaningful. But it’s easy as a manager to let employees’ good work go unnoticed. You don’t mean any harm; you’re just busy making sure that your company runs as it should from day to day.

When you don’t praise and compliment employees, however, you risk them feeling unappreciated. Showing your appreciation doesn’t have to be elaborate or difficult--what’s important is that you do it regularly and genuinely. Your best employees are already doing excellent work. You just have to let them know you noticed. These simple gestures will go a long way toward keeping top talent around.

2. Create a Healthy Company Culture

No one wants to work in a place full of infighting, petty drama, and rivalry. Your best employees know their value, and they will not tolerate negative company culture. If the environment becomes unpleasant, they will leave.

It’s imperative, therefore, that you give as much attention to company culture as you do to annual salary increases and benefits packages. Don’t micromanage your employees, but don’t spend all day isolated in your office either.

In order to get an accurate sense of the company culture and your employees’ satisfaction, it’s important to spend time working alongside them, communicating regularly and comfortable, and intervening on their behalf when problems arise (when appropriate).

3. Maintain a Pleasant Work Environment

Your intangible company culture is crucial for keeping people happy, but your physical work environment is also a key part of retention strategy. If your office is poorly lit, full of outdated equipment, or dirty, employee satisfaction will suffer. In a world of knowledge work, it’s easy to forget that the physical environment still matters. But you neglect it at your peril.

Luckily, issues with your physical work environment are usually some of the easiest to fix, requiring nothing more than some maintenance and cleaning services, as well as possible requisition of new equipment.

4. Survey Employee Satisfaction

Maintaining regular, open communication with your employees will make sure they feel that their input matters, and help you spot problems before an employee leaves. One of the key ways to encourage employee feedback is through employee satisfaction surveys.

These tools give you a great deal of insight into what your company is doing right when it comes to its employees, where there is room for improvement, and - ultimately - how to head off major issues before they drive your best employees to seek employment elsewhere.

Your HR department will likely have a set of questions you can use, but if not, here are some questions to start with:

  • Would you recommend our company to prospective employees?

  • Rate your satisfaction with your current position on a scale of 1 to 10.

  • What do most like about working at our company?

  • What do you like least? How can we improve?

To make sure these surveys are effective and honest, keep them anonymous. Make it clear that employee responses will not hurt their standing with the company or play a role in promotion or compensation increases.

5. Mentor New Employees

It’s important to work to retain top employees no matter how long they’ve been with your company, but you should pay special attention to new hires. Their first months at your company are critical in determining whether they will leave or stay. To ensure they are happy, check in with them regularly. You can use the same survey tools as above, but also meet with them one-on-one to discuss their job satisfaction.

In particular, ask how they are fitting in their current role and department. If they’re dissatisfied or the position is not meeting their expectations, work with them to see if different job duties or even a different manager could improve their experience. Such adjustments aren’t always possible, of course, but the simple act of asking new employees these questions goes a long way to making them feel that your company is a place that values their work and their satisfaction.

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6. Conduct Exit Interviews

When an employee quits, it’s tempting to dismiss the loss as a fluke and move on with business as usual. But, in doing so, you may forego an important opportunity to get honest feedback. When an employee departs your company, don’t miss the opportunity to conduct an exit interview to find out why your employee is leaving. It’s a valuable opportunity to collect information that can guide future retention strategies.

Note: To make this process effective, make it clear that their answers to your questions will not affect their chances of receiving a reference from you. For maximum honesty on the former employee’s part, have an unbiased third party conduct the exit interview.

7. Examine Your Management Style

As uncomfortable as it is to realize, employees leave managers more often than companies. While compensation, benefits, and dissatisfaction with the work itself can play a role, it’s just as likely that the employee is leaving because of you.

One of the most frequent management style problems that leads an employee to quit is a lack of clear expectations. When an employee doesn’t know what you expect of them, it leads to confusion and frustration. If you don’t get clear on expectations, then your employee is going to find another organization that will.

Regular employee satisfaction surveys, exit interviews, and open dialogue with new and veteran employees can help you gauge whether you need to adjust your management style.

8. Help Employees Develop Their Careers

The number one reason good employees leave is a lack of growth opportunities. If a talented employee doesn’t see a future at your company, they’ll look elsewhere to advance their career.

To boost retention, you need to show your best employees that they have a promising future where they’ve already chosen to work. Here at Twine Labs, bolstering your employees’ career prospects within your company is our specialty.

We’ll work with you to create an internal network to match your most talented employees with open positions, to help them grow, and to help you hold onto your top talent. In doing so, we can help you boost employee retention by as much as 30%. Request a demo today to learn more.