Tech Tactics: Employee Retention Strategies
17th August 2021
According to the job board platform Monster, the average employee turnover rate in the UK is 15%. However, this number can vary between different industries.
Below are the 2019 average turnover rates in the UK by occupational group according to XpertHR.
|Average Turnover (%)|
|General Management and Admin Staff||19.3|
|Sales and Marketing Staff||31.0|
|Property and Estates||11.6|
|Media and Advertising||17.0|
|Contact and Call Centers||16.1|
These numbers may not seem that high on the surface so the problems, or potential problems of turnover may not, but that’s not the whole picture. Replacing employees who leave and training new ones to replace them costs a lot of time and money.
The cost of a staff member who leaves can cost an employer approximately £30,614 to replace. It can also take up to 28 weeks and approximately £25,182 in wages to train a new staff member. Collectively, UK employers pay £4.1 billion annually to replace staff.
These are just the more tangible reasons that should motivate employers to create, iterate, and integrate an employee retention strategy into everything you do as a business. High employee turnover can have a negative effect on the overall morale of a business, which can lower productivity.
The world’s greatest business plan means nothing without great people to execute it. This article will outline how to keep your best people, so that your business can be the optimum version of itself.
Factors Influencing Employee Job Satisfaction
There are a list of factors that influence the level of job satisfaction an employee can have, including:
The Access to Opportunities
This refers both to career progression and training opportunities. Employees need to feel that if they continue working for you it will benefit them.
One of the reasons that an employee might choose to leave is if either their direct manager or senior management team are incompetent, disrespectful or, in rare cases, abusive towards their staff. If the management team is amazing, it makes it harder to leave as ‘the unknown’ works in your favour.
The unknown being the thought of — ‘If I leave, will I get a boss this good again?’ This can sometimes be enough to retain an employee. They might be more likely to hold onto what they have than risk gambling it for something better. Particularly when that something is so good.
No matter how autonomous an employee is, at some point they will want to get recognition for the work that they do. Having an empathetic system that accounts for the different personalities within a workplace, and gives them the right type of recognition, is vital to the success of a company.
Money isn’t everything when it comes to employment, however, bills exist so employees still expect to be compensated accordingly for their work.
If an employer either offers a lower starting salary than usual or a lower salary increase than what was promised or expected, it can have a negative effect on the level of engagement an employee has. Also, whilst on the salary topic, promising to review salaries or increase them by a certain amount and failing to deliver on this can negatively impact the relationship an employee has with their employer.
Promising and failing to deliver can permanently break trust bonds as well as push employees into the arms of your competitors.
Salary increases can be a big driver and can also be seen as a form of recognition by some people.
It’s not all about the job, or the money. It’s also how you fit in with your colleagues. It’s likely that most employees will spend more time with their colleagues than they do with their friends and families. Therefore, not being able to get on well with their colleagues will have an effect on whether or not they can be retained long term.
Additionally, companies need to ensure that the values they display externally are practiced internally. For example, a company says it has a zero-tolerance discrimination stance, but some employees are routinely discriminated against without consequences. Those employees, who are also victims, won’t be keen to stick around and could even bring legal action against them.
If the way things are done internally are slow and inefficient, it can put unnecessary pressure on employees and destroy their motivation. Quick, efficient, logical processes that utilise the latest technology helps employees to stick around for longer as they will feel a greater sense of accomplishment. If things ‘just work’ at work, why leave?
The type of work
It’s common for employees to do their best work when the tasks themselves are engaging and have a clear purpose. A large number also like to be challenged by the work they do. It’s important to clearly lay out the impact that employees are making if possible. Recognition can make hard days a little easier, and give them clarity if things get confusing.
Quality of equipment
Having the right tools and equipment to do their job makes life at work so much easier. The opposite is also true. It’s not always possible to provide everything, particularly in the early stages of a company. However, it’s important that you do your best to improve the quality of equipment valuable to employees. If they see you’ve acknowledged the problem and are trying to find a solution they’re more likely to wait more patiently until you do.
There isn’t a hard and fast rule for what a healthy work/life balance looks like, as everyone’s lives are different. The key here is to match the employee’s expectations with regards to what it actually is internally. It’s then up to them to make an informed decision about joining.
Once they join, the communication shouldn’t stop, you need to know how they’re getting on. Not everyone is keen to speak up unprompted, with others if you don’t ask you won’t know, until it’s too late because they’ve handed in their notice. There needs to be flexibility in the overall offering as things change or don’t go exactly to plan.
Generally, unless you’re an investment banker who’s happy to tip the balance in favour of work in return for a higher salary, most people will greatly appreciate a business that has this built into its culture.
What is an Employee Retention Strategy?
An employee retention strategy is exactly what it sounds like. It ensures that your business keeps the people it wants to keep for as long as possible.
Of course, being able to retain talent isn’t possible unless you’re able to acquire staff in the first place. Therefore getting recruitment, the first step of the strategy, right is vital.
The process of trying to recruit someone new can be difficult. There are so many things to think about, including:
- How accessible is the job description and application process? – If the process of submitting an application is difficult – e.g. a badly designed website or unclear instructions – it could put off a potential applicant.
- What is the interview experience for applicants? – The interviewee will also be interviewing the interviewer/interviewers. The applicant needs to feel as though they got a good impression of the company and their potential colleagues.
- How long does it take you to respond? – A common complaint from prospective employees about recruitment processes is that employers take too long to communicate the result of interviews.
- How is your brand perceived by potential applicants? – Employee branding is another factor in the recruitment process. If the business isn’t seen as a good place to work, people won’t apply for the role, no matter how good the job description is. An employee retention strategy plays a huge part in how a business is perceived from an employee perspective.
A good rule of thumb when thinking about an employee retention strategy is to think of it in a similar way to building a successful relationship with someone. First impressions count.
The first time an applicant comes into contact with you, on any marketing channel, they need to have a good experience. If the first ‘date’ is bad, it will probably prevent the possibility of there being a second.
So you’ve managed to impress the candidate you wanted and they’ve accepted your offer, congratulations! Now you need to start doing everything you can to help them settle in and adapt to your environment, as well as convincing them to not want to go anywhere else. This process starts with onboarding, or induction, whichever word you choose to use.
The CIPD states that an effective onboarding process can be beneficial to a company by enabling new starters to:
- Feel comfortable in their role
- Integrate into their team
- Understand the organisation’s values and culture
- Become productive quickly
- Work to their highest potential
Onboarding can consist of the following:
- An introduction to the different teams, including HR and the senior leadership team
- Having meetings with individual colleagues to get to know them better
- Being taught how the different technical tools and systems work in relation to their job
- Having an opportunity to ask questions about anything they may be unsure about
- Sitting in on different meetings to see how departments that aren’t directly related work together
With some employees that are in a highly specialised role, some employers may still try to poach them at the onboarding stage. Cheeky, we know, it’s almost like a person approaching your spouse a day after the wedding. So it’s critical you keep your new hire engaged throughout the onboarding process to prevent this from happening.
Whilst poaching attempts may not happen immediately, when they do occur, it tells your new starter that they have options if the bad experience continues beyond their first impression.
Post Onboarding — Short Term
Onboarding for new employees generally lasts around three months on average, but can be longer in some industries. After this point, the employees should ideally feel as though they know what they’re doing, and have a sense of autonomy. They should ideally believe that the job matches or exceeds their expectations following the recruitment process.
We know that the war for great talent might be fierce, but it’s important to not over promise and under deliver. This can lead to an employee or applicant feeling like they’ve been lied to, which dents your reputation, and, at worst, could render your retention strategy useless.
Not to mention that the trust between employer and employee can be irreversibly damaged too. Speaking of trust, we wrote an article about the importance of trust here.
Post Onboarding — Long Term
In the long term, employers must not get complacent about how they treat their existing employees.
Taking staff for granted is one of the dangers of larger or fast-growing firms who sometimes accidentally neglect their longer serving high performing staff in favour of ensuring newer ones are taken care of.
There must be continual attention given to employees in the form of fair appraisals, appropriate salary increases, promotion opportunities, recognition for good work, as well as ensuring that they fit within the culture.
The Leaving Process
All good things must come to an end.
The sad part is no matter how good your retention strategy is, your employees will eventually leave for one reason or another. It could be that they retire, want to spend more time with family, or even accept an offer from a competitor. Yes, the leaving process is also part of the retention strategy.
When one employee leaves, other employees will be watching to see how they’re treated. This will give them an idea of what to expect if they do the same.
If the departure process is pleasant, it will increase the chances of that employee becoming an advocate for the business, which helps to recruit their future replacements, and starts the process all over again.
How an employee arrives is just as important as how they leave the company.
Even though we use the description of a ‘permanent’ job, it’s a little misleading as eventually they will leave the company, hopefully in a better holistic position than when they arrived. The employer-employee relationship, like most things, is temporary.
The Benefits of Employee Retention Strategies
It can be a demoralising process, getting to know someone at work over a few months or a year, and then they’re gone because something about the environment didn’t suit them. This process can be repeated over time if these issues aren’t addressed.
Also, even an employee who isn’t disengaged might begin to question their position if they keep seeing people leave. The longer people work together the more opportunity they have to strengthen their social bonds. Those bonds can play an important part in producing great work through effective collaboration.
Less Stress on existing teams
An employee leaving and another coming in to replace them involves a significant amount of work from an HR and IT perspective. There are several tasks involved, such as:
- Exit interviews
- Writing job descriptions
- Interviews for replacement staff
- Technical set-up and shut down
The tasks associated with an exiting employee takes time away from other, more business-critical work that can help you grow the business, and has a ripple effect throughout the company as other people have to compensate for the loss of productivity.
Improved Customer Experience
New employees don’t have the in-depth knowledge of longer standing employees as they haven’t spent as much time in the company. They haven’t had enough time to familiarise themselves with how things work, which can be amplified if they are in a customer-facing role.
Employees that have been around for a long time are more likely to give a better customer experience as they have a deeper understanding of what the company offers, and what their customer base expects. Every business wants to turn strangers into customers, and then into advocates. The likelihood of this happening increases if they interact with long-serving employees.
Retaining the best employees makes it easier to retain customers. Existing customers help bring in new customers, and the cycle continues, leading to an increase in revenue for the business.
Positive Employer Branding
If things are going well for employees internally, it will shine through externally. Public job role feedback platforms such as Glassdoor are commonly looked at by potential applicants when looking for new jobs.
The employees that have had good experiences are likely to write about them, which can attract other employees to join the business. The most powerful form of employer marketing is the employees. No marketing campaign is more effective than employees publicly saying how much they are enjoying their experience.
Prospective employees trust the words of the people who are in the position they are applying for far more than the people who make the hiring decisions.
How Employee Engagement Platforms Help Employee Retention
Employee engagement platforms, such as Trickle, can hugely benefit your employee retention strategy in a variety of ways.
It’s best to deal with an issue when it’s a molehill, rather than a mountain. Having easy access to detailed insights on how your employees are feeling and what they are thinking enables businesses to make quick adjustments to tactics and make more informed strategic decisions.
Every employee is different. Not everyone is always comfortable speaking to someone directly if they have an issue. An employee engagement platform enables people who prefer to have anonymity at work to voice their concerns in a way that can still be communicated to their managers. The best of both worlds. Without this type of software, problems could fester as there is no safe space available for someone to voice their concerns
Integrating an employee engagement platform can result in working processes becoming more efficient. For example, our platform enables employers to clearly prioritise which things to focus on. It will save employers time in the short and long term.
This is because it’s now possible to easily see the most pressing issues, connect and collaborate with teammates, take action, monitor performance and celebrate wins.
The platform limits the need for meetings and increases the speed at which teams can operate as everyone can essentially be updated on crucial information at the same time.
Engagement Level Visibility
When it comes to employee engagement, it’s a two-way relationship. Work engagement and performance influence each other. More engaged workers tend to perform better, but an improvement in performance will also lead to more engaged workers.
Our platform enables you to see how well they are engaging and collaborating with each other. You can then take action to improve anything you see fit.
Build and Improve Your Employee Retention Strategy
Our platform can become an integral part of your employee retention strategy. You’ll be able to monitor the mood of your employees, give them an outlet to express their thoughts, and distribute important information quickly.
As a result, you’ll be able to make more informed decisions that help to retain your best employees, which will help you to increase your ability to provide great customer service and increase your revenue.
Get in touch below to get a demo today to see how Trickle can help you build a better company.
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By giving your people a place to voice their suggestions & concerns when they need to, you’ll inspire a happier, more productive and loyal workforce.