Companies all over the world are working hard to improve employee retention; they know the costs of hiring and training new people are far higher than simply keeping your existing talent happy and productive. If you can improve your employee retention, you’ll have a higher chance of nurturing leadership from within your organization and save money in the process.
So what steps are companies taking to improve employee retention?
Focusing on Employee Experience
One of the biggest trends developing is a focus on the broader employee experience, rather than a simple, narrow dimension like employee satisfaction. Employee experience encompasses many employee sentiments throughout their journey from being hired to leaving the company, rather than arbitrarily limiting its consideration to a specific feeling or a specific area.
For example, a manager might regularly ask employees how they’re doing, and make environmental changes when necessary; this could be a part of an employee experience strategy, but it doesn’t reflect the entire strategy. For a thorough employee experience strategy, you’ll need far more employee touch points, and a more proactive approach to improving employee environments and experiences.
Improving Onboarding and Training
Companies are also doing more to improve employee retention early in the hiring process, during onboarding and training phases. This is a critical opportunity for development, and one that is unfortunately neglected by many organizations.
Onboarding often forms expectations and first impressions for new employees. It’s your chance, as an employer, to introduce an employee to your work culture and the nature of the job. If you stumble, or if you don’t take onboarding seriously, your employee may feel lost when they begin working—or they may feel like they don’t matter to your organization. By contrast, if onboarding is an endeavor you take seriously, and it equips them with all the knowledge they need to get started, they’ll be much more likely to value your organization in the future.
Similarly, businesses are thinking more about the initial training they give their employees. Better-trained employees, from the start, feel more confident about their work and feel better supported by their team leaders and managers. It’s a great way to start the employer-employee relationship on the right foot.
Providing Better Education and Development
Employees are often eager to improve themselves over time; nobody wants to do the same thing, at the same skill level, for years on end. Accordingly, employees tend to be more likely to stick around with organizations that afford them some means to learn and improve themselves. Companies are responding in kind by offering more development opportunities; these include everything from class reimbursements and paid educational opportunities to onsite mentorship and additional training.
Offering More Employee Flexibility
One of the most notable workplace trends of the past decade has been the transition to more flexible environments. Businesses are willing to offer employees more flexibility with when, where, and how they work, and there are many individual examples of this.
For example, many companies are ditching the traditional 9 to 5 work schedule in favor of more flexible hours; employees are allowed to work whenever they’re most productive, so long as they’re reachable in case of an urgent matter. Some companies have offered relaxed dress codes and looser requirements for employees in the office. Other companies have completely abandoned the traditional office setting, allowing employees to work from home or from local coworking spaces.
When employees have more control over when, where, and how they work, they’re much more inclined to stay with the employer.
Instilling Greater Autonomy
In line with this, many organizations are granting employees more autonomy over their own work; instead of concretely and rigidly directing them, they’re allowing employees to define their own goals, choose their own projects, and complete work as they see fit. This minimalistic approach makes employees feel more engaged, more valued, more trusted, and more in tune with their own work.
Offering More Feedback
Companies are also increasing the amount of mutual feedback between managers and employees. Employees get more feedback, which instills them with confidence and helps them understand how to develop themselves as professionals. Employees also get the chance to give more feedback of their own, explaining any concerns they might have, and expressing ideas for how to make the workplace better. In both directions, employees feel more connected to the workplace, and become more invested in their jobs.
Employee retention rates are on the rise, and if these organizational trends continue, we’ll likely see steady increases in this area for years to come. Tomorrow’s workplaces stand to be more flexible, more autonomous, more reliant on feedback, and overall, more employee-focused. That’s a good thing for productivity, employee satisfaction, and overall efficiency—so everyone should be happy with these trends.