How to Improve Employee Retention & Avoid the Great Resignation

Key points about the Great Resignation:

  • The Great Resignation refers to the millions of workers who’ve left their jobs to seek employment elsewhere.
  • These 6 tips can help you avoid the Great Resignation and improve retention in your workplace.

What is the Great Resignation?

Chances are you’ve heard the term “Great Resignation” at least once during the past few months. This phrase refers to the record-breaking number of workers who have voluntarily left or switched jobs in the past year. To put it into numbers, 4.5 million people resigned in November 2021 alone. 

People have left for a variety of reasons, including: 

  • Working conditions
  • Compensation and benefits 
  • Company culture
  • Burnout 

Which industries has the Great Resignation affected?

The Great Resignation has predominantly affected specific sectors like hospitality, health care, and retail. However, many employers, regardless of industry, are finding it difficult to fill open positions. 

The best way to avoid this problem in your workplace? Boost your retention efforts so people don’t want to leave. These tips can help you avoid the Great Resignation and retain your top talent.

6 crucial tips to improve employee retention & avoid the Great Resignation

Because every organization is different, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for improving retention. The general principle is the same for every business, though. To be successful, you need to uncover what your employees value most in their work environment. Then, you need to take tangible actions to address those wants and needs.

1. Get a pulse on employee satisfaction

First, determine how your employees currently feel.

If you aren’t experiencing employee turnover right now:

If turnover isn’t an issue at your company right now, that’s great! But that doesn’t mean you won’t need to worry about it in the future. You can take a proactive approach by building on the solid foundation you already have. 

To do this, figure out why your current employees are still working with you. Create a survey to ask your employees questions like:

  • What do you like most about working here? 
  • How would you describe the work environment? 
  • How would you describe the workplace culture?
  • Do people in the company have opportunities for growth and advancement?
  • If you could improve one thing, what would it be?

A survey may sound simple, but it gives your employees a place to make their voices heard. This alone can boost employee engagement and job satisfaction. To make a lasting impact, though, implement realistic changes based on their feedback. This will only make your company a more attractive place to work. 

If you are experiencing turnover right now:

If your employees are leaving, the first step is to figure out why. Whenever an employee resigns, conduct an exit interview. An interview gives you the chance to ask specific questions about the employee experience and uncover trends. For instance, multiple employees might mention your company culture as a reason for leaving. This can prompt you to investigate your culture and identify areas of improvement.

During exit interviews, ask questions like:

  • Why did you begin looking for a new job?
  • What does your new position offer that influenced your decision to leave?
  • Is there anything we could have done to make you stay?
  • Would you ever consider working here again? Under what circumstances?

In some cases, an employee’s reason for leaving won’t be directly related to your company. For instance, an employee’s partner may have gotten a new job in a different city. As a result, your employee may want to find a new job in the same city. If it weren’t for this circumstance, they probably would have continued working with you.

2. Provide competitive compensation and benefits

According to a Gallup survey, 89% of employers think employees leave for more money. In reality, only 12% do. But that 12% still matters, especially in a competitive job market. Offering competitive compensation will give current employees one less reason to seek employment elsewhere.

That’s why it’s important to reassess your compensation strategy. First, consider your budget and how much you’re able to allocate towards employee wages. Then, take a look at your employee compensation plans and create competitive salary ranges for each position. You can then make adjustments based on an individual’s:

  • Experience
  • Current salary 
  • Tenure
  • Performance 
  • Location (if you operate in different areas)

If you’re unable to make base salary changes at the moment, you may still be able to compensate employees in other ways to show your appreciation. Consider:

  • Bonuses 
  • Employee benefits 
  • Extra paid time off

3. Offer flexible schedules and remote work

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many employees now expect remote work and other flexible arrangements. If your company doesn’t offer a flexible work environment, many of your employees will seek it elsewhere. In fact, a FlexJobs survey found that 58% of workers would “absolutely” look for a new job if they couldn’t continue to work remotely.

Salaried employees

For salaried employees who don’t need to work on-site, you may allow them to work remotely all the time. Or, you may adopt a hybrid work schedule in which they come into the office on certain days or for certain events. 

You might also let them define their own schedules to an extent. For example, if someone needs to pick up a child from school, they might start and end their day an hour earlier than their coworkers. They’ll still be working the same amount of time, just in a way that works better for their schedule.

Hourly employees

For hourly employees, you can create flexible arrangements in a different way. Ask each staff member about their preferred schedules, start and end times, shifts, and break times. Then, use their input to create schedules that match their preferences. When possible, make the schedules consistent and share them well in advance. 

You can also leverage scheduling software. With software, your employees can view their schedules and drop, pick up, and swap shifts themselves. They can do all of this on their phone,  too, which makes things even easier for you and your employees. Giving your employees more control over their schedule means giving them more control over their work-life balance. They’ll appreciate it. 

4. Encourage professional development and advancement opportunities 

According to labor statistics, 58% of employees say that their current companies don’t have enough growth opportunities for them to stay long term. Providing professional development shows your employees that you value their success. Invest in them, and they’ll often return the favor by sticking around (and gaining new skills in the process!).

To promote career growth and professional development in your workplace, you can:

Develop career paths

First, make sure everyone understands how their position fits into your larger organizational operations and goals. Next, develop a clear path that shows how each role can grow over time. Doing this will orient each employee and show them what they can expect next. 

Once employees have a clear picture of advancement opportunities, individualize their career maps. Take their personal goals and interests into consideration. For instance, one employee may be interested in a promotion, while another may want to move to another position in a different department. You can then help each employee take the necessary steps towards their goal. This might take the form of career coaching, mentorship programs, and/or opportunities to learn or strengthen new skills.

If you don’t already have promotion policies and procedures, now’s a good time to develop them. These documents will help ensure promotions are fair and consistent.

Provide the right learning

Some employees may want to learn more about a certain software program or boost their technical skills. Others may want opportunities to develop their soft skills. Understanding what your employees want out of a learning and development program will be the key to its success.

Offer micro-learning

Many employees want to learn and grow their skills—they just don’t have the time. In fact, a LinkedIn survey found that the #1 challenge for talent development is getting employees to make time for learning. After all, they’re often busy with projects, clients, and other role responsibilities.

Micro-learning is one potential solution. Offer learning opportunities that take just a few minutes, instead of hours. This way, employees can learn in increments between their other tasks. They won’t need to block off hours of time at once. Over time, those bite-sized learning opportunities will add up and make a difference. 

5. Share rewards & recognition

According to one survey, a simple “thank you” can make employees feel more appreciated and help boost retention rates. But the reverse is also true. If your employees aren’t recognized for their work, they’ll take it somewhere else. 

Try to incorporate gratitude into your daily operations. One way to do this is with a rewards and recognition program. When an employee meets a certain goal or performs well, provide a reward. Rewards encourage high performance and offer extra motivation. To stay fair and consistent, clearly outline the tasks or milestones an employee needs to achieve in order to be eligible for a reward. 

While things like sign-on bonuses can help you recruit new talent, consider allocating some of those funds to retaining your current employees. For instance, you might offer retention bonuses. 

Other types of rewards you can offer include:

  • Gift cards
  • Company swag
  • Extra vacation days or time off
  • Donations to a charity of the employee’s choice

You might also reward employees who:

  • Reach a work anniversary 
  • Refer a certain number of new clients
  • Work a certain number of consecutive shifts without calling off last minute

6. Provide mental health benefits

You’re probably tired of hearing it, but it’s worth repeating: the COVID-19 pandemic has been difficult for many people. Between work responsibilities, health concerns, and caregiving, it’s no surprise that our collective mental health has suffered

When you provide mental health benefits, you provide support. You let your employees know that you care about them and their well-being. You also improve retention. According to one study, 42% of employees with access to mental health benefits say they are more likely to stay at their current organization. In contrast, only 27% of employees without access to mental health benefits would stay at their current company.

You can support employees’ mental health by:

  • Making employees aware of Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs)
  • Sharing mental health resources
  • Creating a culture that openly discusses mental health
  • Evaluating your existing benefits and filling any gaps

How to use technology to improve retention

Various factors can reduce resignations, and technology is one of them. If your technology is out of date, hard to use, or doesn’t offer the right functionality, your employees won’t be able to succeed. Their productivity will suffer, and your retention rates might, too. According to one report, 24% of employees have considered looking for a new job because they’re unable to use the software they need.

Reduce this risk by investing in the right technology. The software you need will vary depending on your organization, but if you don’t have an HR solution yet, now might be a good time to consider one.

All-in-one HR software like SentricHR makes it easy to manage employees and implement retention strategies. With the power to track employee performance, issue bonuses, and promote learning opportunities, you can reduce turnover without creating unnecessary work. Your employees can also enroll in training courses, swap shifts with coworkers, and more. 

To learn more about SentricHR, speak with one of our product experts today!


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