In 2019, talent retention is a key concern for most employers. Today’s job market is an employee’s market – top talent enjoys numerous opportunities. This means you need to put extra effort into making your organization a special place to work.
In our previous article, we discussed how to find top talent in this competitive market. Now, these five strategies will help you retain your most talented employees.
1. Provide a positive work environment.
Instilling a warm office vibe will help keep everyone in a good mood, which boosts engagement. Here are a few little things that go a long way:
- Give employees a warm hello as they come into the office in the morning.
- Drop by to ask if they have the support they need for a project.
- Point out people’s strengths regularly, even in casual conversation.
Offer little perks in the physical environment that also make it an inviting space. Here are a few ideas:
- Have an open office design? Add meeting room pods within larger spaces to promote privacy.
- Create cozy seating areas where employees can work or chat. Switching between different inviting workspaces can help people stay mentally refreshed throughout the day.
- Provide a healthy snack bar and offer attractive reusable mugs and plates.
2. Offer excellent benefits.
Benefits like the following enhance the positive workplace culture you’re striving to create, showing how much you value your people:
- Flexible schedules
- The opportunity to telecommute
- Subsidized transportation expenses
- Gym memberships
- Great healthcare options
- Ample paid vacation time
Encourage employees to use all of their paid vacation time. According to SHRM, 54% of U.S. employees didn’t use all their vacation days in 2016, up by 12 percentage points from 2013.
“Because they fear falling behind (34%) or believe that no one else can step in while they are away (30%); 21% felt they can never be truly disconnected, and 22% wanted to show how dedicated they are to their job,” SHRM explains.
Create a culture that underscores how taking vacation days benefits the whole company, emphasizing, “We want you to recharge!”
Not sure what your employees want? Ask them directly!
3. Foster open communication.
Transparency is key to building integrity and strong relationships. Employees will feel they can play a key role in the business when they’re clued into the overall company vision and important decisions. Solicit input about key changes in the works and tell employees why they’re happening.
If adapting an employee’s role, ask them what training and support they’ll need to excel in the new position, for example. If implementing a new system, ask your employees if they anticipate any particular challenges. Get their ideas for solving any issues that may arise. Taking these steps will encourage employees to feel more invested in actively managing the issues their team is facing.
4. Make them feel appreciated.
Praise and a simple ‘thank you’ for specific ways people have contributed to a project go a long way. Celebrate milestones like an employer’s work anniversary, birthday, or completion of a training program.
Here are a few ideas for making people feel valued:
- Congratulate a member of your team in front of your own boss or another company leader.
- Mention people’s key contributions in meetings.
- CC an employee on an email with senior leaders to thank them for their role in a project.
- Hold a special celebration for a project’s culmination and thank the key players publicly.
Be specific when giving praise so that employees know you’re really paying attention.
5. Design a personal development plan for each employee.
Work with each individual to create a plan based on their goals and dreams. They may already have solid ideas for these goals, or you might make suggestions based on their interests and aspirations. Ask if they’re interested in making any career transitions so you can support their growth in the direction they ultimately want to go.
Here are a few key points for designing this plan:
- Map out a timeline for achieving these goals and specific objectives along the way.
- Lay out the tools the employee can use to get there. Provide opportunities to learn and grow, like training, conferences, and certificate programs.
- Decide on an online goal-tracking tool that you and your employees can use to measure their progress.
- Review the employee’s progress at a monthly one-on-one meeting.
Taking these steps will help ensure employees can envision themselves with your company years down the road.
Ultimately, you want your employees to be happy. Satisfied employees are more engaged and motivated, and they see a future for themselves with your company. By cultivating a positive environment and supporting their growth and wellbeing in the ways described here, you’ll help employees to find deep fulfillment in their daily work and to see a clear path for moving up through the ranks!