With the Great Resignation of 2021 and the Great Reshuffle in 2022, recruiting, hiring and talent retention strategies need a complete overhaul. HR teams and recruiters are now facing a new breed of employees – one that isn’t ready to shy away from voicing their demands and voting with their feet when their needs go unmet. A bevy of reasons including workplace toxicity, wage stagnation, burnout, job dissatisfaction, safety concerns amidst COVID-19, and the desire to opt for jobs offering flexible working options are contributing factors. In fact, workplace toxicity leads to 10x higher employee turnover than compensation as per an MIT SMR analysis.
The current situation has led to a labor shortage that is expected to worsen in 2022-23. In this scenario, employers and HR departments are rightly concerned about retaining skilled talent, which is harder to accomplish thanks to digital disruption and talent poaching.
Employee retention is the top talent management challenge that 47% of HR professionals face followed by recruitment at 36%. Maintaining a low turnover rate is the key to increased profitability, productivity, and overall success of an organization. Further, the cost of hiring new employees is higher than retaining existing ones. All this points to the unassailable fact that there is a dire need for developing inclusive workplace strategies to retain talent today.
This requires organizations to understand employee needs right from onboarding and offer favorable perks alongside career growth opportunities.
Here are 6 best-kept secrets that can catalyze efforts to retain top talent
Provide career development opportunities
A stagnated position or job role today is simply a countdown to a resignation. Skilled employees are motivated by challenging work, the prospect of promotion and a clear path to advancement. As such, 94% of employees will choose to stay put at an organization if it invests in their professional development. Here, upskilling and reskilling initiatives can be great incentives to offer while helping employees become stronger contributors towards enterprise goals.
Such learning opportunities also keep the workforce engaged and motivated when they align with individual aspirations and preferences. So, a choice of such digital development programs that address a variety of skills is the best way forward. In addition, having clearly defined career progression opportunities can stimulate employees to learn new skills and showcase initiative, thereby encouraging them to continue longer with an organization.
Recognize and reward your employees
Employees often look for a job change when they do not feel valued, recognized, or rewarded for their work. In fact, 65% of employees feel unappreciated at the workplace according to a Gallup poll, and another study found that 66% of workers are likely to quit their job if they do not feel appreciated. Employee recognition is also a critical peg of workplace culture, which is why positive communication and a strategic plan for recognition are vital to retaining talent.
Fear of provoking conversations about a raise or being taken advantage of are common reasons for managers not to express gratitude, but all this can change when appreciation becomes a consistent and organic practice across the organizational hierarchy. While care packages and paid vacations can be some of the perks offered, personal notes or public acknowledgments can also work just as well to promote job satisfaction and honor employees for their contributions. Rewarding top talent for soft and hard skills that are valued by company culture also inspires others to inculcate them.
Offer flexible work options
Remote work is here to stay with 82% of employees preferring to work from home as per a 2022 study. The gains brought about by increased flexibility such as higher productivity and lower stress cannot be shrugged off, and employers would do well to offer employees a remote or hybrid work model based on preferences and needs. Not only does this help organizations widen their talent pool, but it also reduces infrastructural costs.
From the employee POV, work flexibility acknowledges a life outside of work, and this itself can result in higher motivation, more loyalty and decreased burnout.
Offer attractive pay, bonuses, and benefits
Competitive, nondiscriminatory and equitable pay is the cornerstone of employee retention. An underpaid employee – and one who knows it! – is usually demotivated and uninspired, adversely affecting managers, colleagues, new talent being onboarded and workplace culture. Reviewing pay scales regularly is one way to ensure the remuneration package is up to par, as is offering benefit packages that suit the new world of work.
These may include physical and mental health programs, parental leave and childcare assistance, financial wellness initiatives and flexible paid leaves. By allowing employees to choose benefits that appeal most to them, workplaces can enjoy huge retention payoffs! While retention pay to keep top-performers from moving on is enjoying a renewed interest post pandemic, it works better when combined with the other factors listed here. That said, monetary incentives can motivate employees and promote healthy competition.
Act on employee feedback
When employees feel that they are heard and their suggestions are being valued, their engagement and involvement with the workplace improves. This is a sure-shot technique to reduce employee turnover. Here, continuous listening utilizing digital tools as well as one-on-one meetings enables companies to address issues at critical times during the employee lifecycle. This two-way dialogue can not only help detect and tackle problems before they lead to resignations, but also helps organizations improve employee benefit programs, reskilling initiatives, and other processes that will boost workplace happiness and performance!
Closing the loop here also means involving employees in the action taken on their feedback. Taking their help in suggesting solutions gives them autonomy and instils a greater sense of connectedness and participation. Even if a solution is unlikely at any point of time, thanking them for voicing feedback and letting them know why is important. This also helps keep the communication channels open.
Boost your organization’s culture
Company culture has become mission critical in retaining top talent. A recent survey revealed that 77% of employees consider company culture before applying for a job. In fact, culture was also found to be more important to millennials than salary. As work culture defines internal values, practices relating to diversity, inclusion and equality, ethical standards, mission and vision, it gives the organization and its workforce purpose.
By strengthening culture and ensuring it is reflected right from the recruitment and onboarding stage, an organization can help employees identify with it and feel a sense of belonging. When employees commit to the company mission and feel they are working towards a common goal, they become poach-proof. By reducing instances of favoritism, bias, inappropriate advancement, or even domineering seniors, companies can retain employees for longer and get the best out of them.
A happy employee is usually a loyal employee, and more importantly, one who thinks like an entrepreneur to add value to the organization. Fulfilling your employees’ needs is thus a smart and effective retention strategy. However, finding the right fit at the get-go is critical as employees who identify with your culture are the ones who feel the most ownership about their role and are most likely to stay with your company longer.
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