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Strategies for attracting and retaining highly-skilled employees

How to Successfully Attract and Retain Great Talent

Oh no - one of your best employees just put in their two weeks notice out of nowhere! This is a tough scenario for any manager. Not only do you need to find a replacement for an experienced and valued team member, but you also must consider how their leave will affect your staff and company.

Employee retention matters because it is costly to invest time finding and training a new employee. Retention impacts a business' bottom line, and keeping highly qualified employees is key to maintaining success long-term.

Also, as Baby Boomers retire over the next couple of years, the upcoming Generation X may not be able to fill the gaps. Gen X has a population of about 65.6 million people compared to the 74.1 million Baby Boomers who were available for work. Since fewer people will be in the workforce, keeping employees is going to become increasingly important.

Ultimately, the ability to retain employees is the primary measurement of the health of your business. If you are losing important staff members, you can pretty much bet other employees are looking for the exit door too. Let's look at ways to improve your employee acquisition and retention strategies to achieve long-term success and continued business growth.

How to Develop Employees Retention Strategies for Long-Term Success

Hire the Right Employees

First things first: are you sure you're targeting the right kind of employee for your business? If people are leaving, especially not long after being hired, it's possible your recruiting strategy is off. Employees might not be staying because they didn't feel like they were a good fit for the company or the position long-term.

How to hire the right talent for your business

You should know the experience and qualifications needed to fill open positions in your business. The easiest way to go about this is to create a "wish list" of attributes necessary to assume the responsibilities of the position of are trying to fill.

Create your wish list by speaking with employees and managers. If possible, perform exit interviews with past employees who held the position you are looking to fill. Once you have a list of job functions, determine which skills, experience, and education will be needed to be successful in this position.

Now that you have a greater understanding of your ideal candidate, you can better anticipate their needs and desires to provide a conducive work environment. If you need assistance finding your ideal candidate, J&J Staffing Resources can help.

Ensure the Success of New Employees

The key to retaining great employees is making sure they get off on the right foot. After you have made an offer and a new hire starts, you don't want to give them any reason to believe they have made a mistake by accepting the position. Ensuring a smooth transition period when a new employee begins to work for your business is the best way to establish a strong relationship, good habits, and healthy work expectations.

Provide an Orientation Period

There should be a designated orientation period for the new employee, whether it's a day or a week. Assign a point person for the employee's orientation and have that person tour the office with the new hire. A welcoming and informative introduction that gives the new hire the ins and outs of the business will help them acclimate quickly.

An employee orientation should also include:

  • Meeting the team - Whether one on one, at lunch, or during a more formal meeting, introduce the new hire to the people they'll be working with. If the new hire is in supervisory role, they should be introduced to their direct reports.
  • Getting to know their space - You should give the new hire a tour of their desk or office, as well as where the kitchen, bathrooms, and relevant office equipment is located.
  • A security briefing - Now is the time to show the new hire how to sign in and enter the building, where to park, and how to use equipment, if necessary.
  • Technology onboarding - Show the new hire (or provide documentation explaining) how to set up their email, voicemail, remote access, and passwords, as well as how to access the employee portal.
  • Mentorship programs - Once the new hire is set up at their space, their transition period isn't over. Pair the new employee with an experienced staff member to help them adjust to their new responsibilities and the company culture.

Improving Employee Retention

To keep employees committed to your business long-term, you should have additional retention strategies. Highly-skilled employees are looking for more than good pay and benefits in this competitive marketplace, though that is a good place to start planning your employee retention strategy! Below are some strategies to consider.

How to improve employee retention by providing exceptional employee benefits.

Employment Compensation

Companies need to offer competitive compensation packages to attract and retain employees. This includes not only salaries, but paid time off, bonuses, health benefits, retirement plans, and additional perks that make your business stand out from the rest. All employees should have a clear understanding of the benefits they receive from your business. Consider providing a general description of the benefits employees receive on the job description of each position, and relay the benefits in depth to new hires.

Recognition and Reward Program

People want to feel appreciated and that what they do matters! You should make a habit of telling your employees you appreciate their work and efforts. Often, the most memorable recognition comes from an employee's manager, followed by a high-level leader or CEO. Recognizing an employee's efforts can positively impact their work and boost morale. Consider setting up a reward system that incentivizes great ideas, innovation, and additional education.

Flexibility and Work-life Balance

Sometimes the best way to retain great employees is to be a little flexible. If you expect staff to regularly work long hours and be on call off the clock, you'll likely run into employee retention problems. Burnout happens, and stressed employees will seek greener pastures. You need a healthy work-life balance to maintain a happy workforce. Encourage staff to take vacation time or allow flexible start and end times. Many companies also offer telecommuting as a way to improve the work-life balance for their employees.

Training and Development for Employees

Everyone wants to be able to advance. Smart CEOs and managers take the time to invest in their employee's professional development. Ask your employees about their long-term and short-term goals, and find opportunities to help achieve them. To assist in employee and company education, some businesses pay for employees to attend industry events and conferences annually.

Feedback, Communication, and Transparency

Employees who report to you should feel that they can present ideas, questions, and concerns to you, and they should expect you to be open and honest with them regarding their performance. An employee shouldn't be worried about coming to discuss work-related matters with you. Make sure you are reaching out and connecting with your employees regularly, not just once a year. You should also be communicating any big changes happening at the company to your employees, so everyone is on the same page. Whether your business is going through layoffs, a merger, relocation, or the process of adding a new department, keep your employees informed as much as you can. Ensuring your employees stay informed prevents people feeling left out or starting inaccurate rumors due to a lack of transparency.

Fostering Teamwork and Ownership

People can achieve a lot by working together! The best way to get employees to be team players is to foster a culture of collaboration. Start by making sure team objectives, business goals, and employees roles are clear, and encourage individuals to contribute ideas and solutions.

Allowing employees to participate in the strategy and decision-making process for clients they work closely with fosters a sense of ownership and pride in their work. And when employees make great strides, celebrate! When the team or an individual meets a major milestone, seize the chance to celebrate together with a shared meal or group excursion.

How to Spot Problems with Your Retention Strategy

People who understand and share the same vision you have for your company will be more productive and develop better relationships with their coworkers. If your employee retention strategy isn't working, you may notice some of the following from your employees, including:

Provide an orientation period to ensure the success of new hires.
  • Workers not openly talking to their manager about issues and concerns
  • Employees expressing frustrations about being overworked and work-life balance issues
  • Workers expressing that they do not feel challenged and are bored
  • Coworkers reporting that they do not feel like part of a team
  • Workers being unhappy about a perceived lack of respect

If you notice these signs, address the problems in an open and honest way one on one with your employees. Showing that you are willing to listen to your employee's concerns and address issues is the first step toward developing or adjusting your retention strategy.

In the end, having a strategy for employee retention will give your company the best leg up as motivated, engaged, and loyal employees are more likely to reach their fullest potential which will naturally increase your business's success. If you're curious to see how your business is currently holding up in the job marketplace, take our 10-Point Staffing Assessment today.