It’s never been more difficult to retain your best talent than it is today.
For a range of reasons, people change jobs far more often than they used to. According to Harvard Business Review, Baby Boomers are likely to hold an average of 11 or 12 jobs in their lifetimes. Millennials will hold closer to 20.
This trend is set to continue, as younger generations make up an increasing proportion of the workforce.
So how can you keep your best people from leaving? While there’s no silver bullet, these five tips can help substantially improve retention rates.
- Recruit the right people
Some of us change jobs more frequently, no matter how good things are in any particular role. These are the people you want to avoid hiring.
One technique is to look at how long candidates have spent in past roles.
Beyond this, focus on character as much as skills and previous experience. You want to seek out people who are interested in giving back to those around them. Team players, who are not just out for themselves.
Hiring this kind of person can have multiple benefits. They are likely to be motivated and engaged employees who are less likely to leave over the short to medium term. They will also help create a better workplace culture, increasing retention rates across the board.
- Engage your staff, right from the start
According to the SHRM Foundation, seventy percent of workers say they are likely to remain with a company longer if they experienced a favourable application process.
This is the first impression your employees will have of your organisation, and first impressions count. Make sure the process runs smoothly and that all candidates are treated well throughout.
Induction is equally important. New staff need the right training and plenty of support as they acclimatise in their new role.
Most importantly, give new starters plenty of work. There’s nothing more soul destroying than sitting around in your first couple of weeks in a new job, eager to impress, but with nothing to do.
- Encourage staff to be themselves and acknowledge their personal lives
Your staff shouldn’t feel that they need to be a different person at work than they are in their own time. Encourage them to be themselves and you will have a happier workplace.
Nor should they feel like they need to hide their personal lives. Everyone has personal commitments that occasionally require their attention during the course of a work day. If one of your employees needs to take a few hours off for their child’s school concert, or to drop their car at the mechanic, they should feel free to do so without having to lie.
The more flexibility people have to be themselves at work and to get on with their lives, the more satisfied they will be in their jobs, making them less likely to look elsewhere.
- Focus on work anniversaries
According to Harvard Business Review, the most common time for an employee to quit is around their first work anniversary. While less pronounced, this trend continues to hold with subsequent anniversaries.
It’s therefore important to engage your employees in the months leading up to an anniversary and to acknowledge and celebrate their time with the company.
takes very little effort, but can save you a nasty surprise.
- Pay your best people what they deserve
Finally, if you want to retain above average employees you should be willing to pay above average wages.
While research has shown time and again that salary is not the most important thing to employees – with quality of work and company culture equally or more important - that doesn’t mean it’s not significant.
Anyone who is performing well at work wants to be appropriately remunerated. So don’t skimp with your best and brightest. When it comes time for a salary review, keep in mind that the cost of replacing them is likely to be around a fifth of their annual salary.