It’s a common misconception that employee retention is only an issue in a booming economy. In fact, it matters in any type of economy. An employee who has truly had enough of the way in which they are treated will walk away from his or her employer whether or not they have lined up another job.
1. Treat your employees like human beings
Fortunately, there are two very simple principles which all organisations with high retention rates use to keep their employees, and which any size of enterprise can adopt as well.
This tip sounds too simplistic at first glance. Surely no 21st century employer would do otherwise? But although the general trend is now thankfully moving away from seeing employees as mere “human capital,” too often simple errors of management are made which would cost little or nothing to correct and yet serve to lower staff morale, increasing employee turnover rate in the long term. Famous examples include those organisations who time staff visits to the toilet and those prone to announcing redundancy programmes via email.
Job security issues
The effect of actions like this ripples out beyond those staff directly involved to affect even the most high-performing staff. They begin to wonder whether they would have more secure and uplifting prospects elsewhere. Greater amounts of trust, respect and autonomy cost little, but can pay big employee retention dividends. Because all employees are human beings, they are also individual and unique. Ideally any formal retention plan scheme should reflect this. Even in an organisation of naturally competitive people, such as sales teams, money should not be seen as the only motivator or retention strategy. There will always be someone in the ranks who longs to go travelling, studying, or participate in other activities outside the workplace for three months, and would return to the organisation fresher, happier and more productive as a result.
2. Allow your employees room to develop and change
None of us stays the same. The more employees can be allowed to develop naturally, within their roles and within your organisation, the better your chances of high employee retention. At its simplest, this may mean allowing someone who is unhappy in one role to swap it for another. At its most elaborate, you might allow staff time to work on their own projects, which the organisation may then choose to adopt. The key point to remember is that retaining employees can be simple and cost-effective, if you allow plenty of humanity into your organisation, whatever the state of the economy.