A number of misconceptions exist surrounding the concept of employee retention. One of the most troubling is the belief that increasing employee retention necessarily involves capital expenditures. While raising salaries or increasing benefits can definitely make employees happier and increase the likelihood that they stay with the company, organizations that have little or no budget for employee retention can still undertake a number of initiatives to keep their employees happy. The following are some great programs that will boost employee retention without requiring any financial investment:
One of the best ways to make employees feel valued is to recognize their accomplishments. Rewards do not need to be monetary in nature. Instead, executives can call people out for their achievements during company meetings, or communications employees can write e-mails detailing the excellent work completed by a company employee.
This sort of public recognition can motivate other employees to work hard for similar acknowledgement. Employers that want to offer more of a reward for a particularly good job can offer some time off, such as a half-day on a Friday or even an additional vacation day. When recognizing achievements, it is important that managers look beyond the people that stand out immediately. Often, companies have many unsung heroes who work diligently in the background. These people deserve recognition as much as employees with more obvious achievements.
Make schedules flexible.
The traditional 9-to-5 day is becoming largely obsolete in many professional contexts. Many employees look for companies that allow them to come in early and leave early or shift the bulk of the workday to the afternoon and evening. Individuals have a number of responsibilities out of work, and flexibility in the workday can demonstrate how much a company cares about work-life balance. Even companies that still operate primarily on this type of schedule can keep employees happy by giving them the option to work from home. Some companies have a large number of remote employees, while other companies may give their employees the opportunity to work from home one or two days a week. The Society for Human Resource Management conducted a survey about employee retention and found that nearly 90 percent of people surveyed said flexible hours led to greater retention.
Institute open communication.
Some employees may come to resent a work environment in which they feel that their opinion is not respected. Depending on the structure of a company, employees may not feel comfortable approaching managers with concerns or complaints. By creating a policy of open communication, companies can make employees feel heard and valued.
Open communication means encouraging employees to come to managers with any feedback whenever they have something to say. To increase the feeling of openness, some companies schedule regular “check-in” meetings between employees and managers. During these meetings, managers should focus on making employees feel relaxed and encouraging them to share openly. This kind of experience can significantly reduce attrition rates and air important issues to create a better work environment.
Institute mentorship programs.
One of the best ways to increase employee retention is to provide opportunities for growing skillsets. While classes, training programs, and conferences can prove extremely expensive, companies on a budget can still develop staff by using the experiences and training of upper management.
A mentorship program, for example, can provide an opportunity for developing new skills and knowledge in existing staff without an investment of capital. Such a program shows employees that the company wants to invest in their future and provides a path for growing with the company over time. Such mentorship could also lead to a system for promoting from within the company.
When organizations identify the individuals with the most potential, they can pair them with an executive mentor that can train them to eventually take over an executive position. This system of internal promotion can also save money in the long run by eliminating the need for hiring external recruiters to bring in executives from outside the company. When employees know that such opportunities for internal promotions exist, they are less likely to look for new opportunities elsewhere.
Adopt a cause.
Employees are more likely to stay with a company when they believe in its mission. Companies that are heavily involved with the community and provide opportunities for employees to also get involved tend to have a happier and more engaged workforce.
Causes can be as simple as organizing a volunteer day or holding some sort of fundraiser, such as a 5K run, to support a local cause. When thinking about what causes to support, companies should ask for suggestions from employees so they can ensure that the staff has a personal connection to the cause.
Another way of generating a strong connection to a cause is to choose a nonprofit with a mission that aligns with that of the company. For example, a clothing company may get involved with a nonprofit that provides interview clothing for formerly homeless individuals, or a restaurant may volunteer at a local soup kitchen.