Finding highly qualified people to help your business thrive is challenging. Retaining your top workers helps your business focus on the task of growing and expanding. When you constantly have to replace people, spend time recruiting and train a new crew, you lose momentum quickly.
The economy is in a strange position. The pandemic spurred people into wanting to work from home and to reevaluate their priorities. Subsequently, the country was thrown into what is known as “The Great Resignation.” Many people quit their jobs and either took time off or found ways to supplement their income. Some started their own businesses.
What Is the Main Reason Most Employees Leave Their Jobs?
According to the latest report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the total number of separations finally evened out, holding steady at 4.1%, including various reasons. Some separations were by the employee’s choice and others by the employer’s.
If you’re tired of high turnover rates and want to retain your top workers, here are some things to consider.
1. Improve Company Culture
One difficult employee can create a hostile work environment for everyone. Someone who bullies or harrasses some of your workers, doesn’t pull their weight or otherwise makes the workplace unpleasant can drive off your best employees.
Strive to create a culture where everyone feels heard and valued. If someone comes into the company and doesn’t abide by the policies you’ve laid out, isn’t supportive or consistently fails to contribute as much as others, they shouldn’t work for you.
When one of your top employees dreads coming to work everyday, it’s time to make some changes. Look at your policies, attitudes and objectives and see what you can tweak.
2. Offer Work-Life Balance
The COVID-19 pandemic changed the way people thought about a lot of things, including work. More than 500,000 people have started their own businesses since 2020. Workers want flexibility and more time with their families. They’re less likely to put up with nonsense, long hours or encroachment of their free time.
If you aren’t offering generous paid time off (PTO), holidays, flexibility and paid leave, you may lose your employees to a company that will. Encourage your staff to leave early to attend their child’s practice. Let them work late on a Wednesday, so they can go to a dentist appointment Thursday and not use up their precious vacation time.
Look for ways to give them more time with their families, fun outings and even added days off. They’ll return more productive and be less likely to leave for a job not providing as much work-life balance.
3. Solve Childcare Issues
The pandemic brought to light child care issues for millions of American parents. When schools shut down and went to e-learning, people scrambled to figure out how to juggle work and teaching their own children.
Even today, some schools have stayed with part-time e-learning, or gone to a hybrid model. Parents may need some flexibility to work around different schedules than before 2020.
Think outside the box on how you might solve this issue for your employees. Allow older children to work quietly alongside a parent. Offer some remote work days or a hybrid model. Allow employees to share jobs so they only work part-time. Solving childcare issues may not seem like your problem, but if you lose a valued employee over them, you’ll wish you had done a little more to help out.
4. Offer Encouragement
Some people leave their jobs because they feel ignored and unappreciated. A few words of encouragement can go a long way toward building self-esteem and good relationships. Look for positive things to comment on. Have a daily meeting where you recognize effort.
However, make sure you also recognize the quiet workers who put their heads down and get tasks done without a lot of fanfare. They’re very easy to overlook. Ask department heads to ensure every person on their staff gets the recognition they deserve.
If someone struggles in a role, go ahead and compliment what you can while offering support to help them improve in other areas. Constructive criticism starts with a compliment or two, sandwiches in areas to improve and how and ends with another praise.
5. Reassure Them of Job Security
Experts estimate it costs between six and nine months of salary to recruit, interview and train a new employee to replace a current one. Keeping the excellent workers you have means your business saves money.
However, if they don’t feel your brand will be around for many years to come, they may not stay and help you build it. Why should they invest their time and effort into something that will likely shut its doors soon?
You have to let your workers in on what you’re doing and how it benefits the company and them. What are your plans for the next five years, ten years and beyond? What are you doing well and what are you doing poorly?
6. Cure Boredom
Let’s face it, doing the same job day in and out for years on end isn’t very exciting. People have a tendency to grow bored. The longer someone works for your brand, the more flaws they see. The grass starts to look greener in front of another office building.
How can you cure job familiarity and boredom? Look for ways to introduce new concepts. Bring in guest speakers, go on a company-wide retreat, take workers out to lunch one-on-one and invest in them and who they are, their hopes and dreams.
Offer opportunities for advancement, job swapping and learning new skills. If you want your employees to stay engaged, you must actively seek ways to mix things up and keep their work interesting. It’s also smart to cross-train people in case somewhere were to leave, be injured or have to be out for an extended period.
When to Let Go
Although you want to keep your best employees on the payroll and let them grow with your company, there are times you must let go. If you have a worker who brings a toxic attitude to the company and they refuse to change, it’s time to part ways.
You’ll also face moments when a different opportunity is so wonderful for the person that you should release them with your well wishes and be happy they are able to better themselves. If you’re hitting all the right notes for your brand, you’ll keep humming along no matter who works for you or how long.
Eleanor is editor of Designerly Magazine. Eleanor was the creative director and occasional blog writer at a prominent digital marketing agency before becoming her own boss in 2018. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and dog, Bear.