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What are some ways to retain employees? Why should you care?

A recent study suggests that the direct costs of replacing an employee can reach as high as 33% or more of their annual salary. The same study concluded 75% of the causes are avoidable for most employers. Think about that for a minute. It’s why the employee retention rate is vital.

Even large companies can struggle with the best ways to retain employees but through our own experience and research, we discuss ways to improve your employee retention policies and reduce employee turnover.

Invest in Management training

Employees leave managers not companies. There are countless stories of employees quitting because they could not stand their direct boss even though they liked the company otherwise.

By training your managers in skills related to managing employees your teams you will increase the likelihood of employee retention.

This means teaching them how to deal with stress, conflict, and crisis management as well as motivating different types of personalities to get the best of them.

Set expectations from the start

Employees want clear standards, goals, and direction, this reduces confusion and heightens productivity. Make sure you are using their skills to their maximum advantage.

Set achievable expectations or face eventual turnover.

Promote the Right People

Simply promoting someone based on seniority, or worse promoting your friends, is an ineffective way to build a team and can show disrespect to your top talent.

Often turnovers happen due to weak leadership teams, talented engineers look for leaders they can respect and look up to.

Promote the people that lead by example, work hard, make valuable contributions, and demonstrate leadership potential by inspiring those they work with to do their best. This is one of the best ways to retain employees.

Remove underperforming team members

Some times the best way to retain employees is to terminate the bad apple. No one wants to work with the person that is barely doing enough to get by, and keeping underperformers on staff will walk the real talent out the door.

Poor performance isn’t the only productivity loser on the team, the negative talkers, gossipers and bad managers will do just as much damage.

Cut the toxic people holding your team back and watch them go!

Ensure competitive pay rates for your industry

Have you conducted a recent market study to compare against your current salary ranges? How do they line up? At the end of the day, employees want to feel appreciated and money is an important piece of the equation.

Your engineers know their worth and if you are underpaying them, they will reach out to engineering staffing agencies and search for other companies that will pay them their value.

Don’t forget about performance-based raises for key engineering players; show them that you appreciate their efforts.

Organize Summer Fridays 

Open to nontraditional perks? Ever heard of Summer Fridays?

Summer Fridays are a type of flexible scheduling where employees can leave early on Fridays or take the whole day off. You could for instance have four (9) hour workdays and a one (4) hour (half day) Friday.

Some of the best ways to retain employees don’t involve money and may give you an edge when looking to attract or retain top technical talent.

Invest in professional development 

Many types of IT & engineering talent are hard to retain even in a down market.

Investing in an employee’s professional development is a sound piece of the puzzle when developing an overall employee retention strategy. This could be in the form of workshops, learning conferences, or employer-paid online courses.

If you don’t offer career development learning opportunities and ways for your employees to grow, the employee may seek out employers who do.

Create monthly outings for team building

Some ideas include:

  • Volunteering
  • Cook-offs
  • Office trivia
  • Karaoke Nights
  • Sports activities such as bowling, golf or go-cart racing
  • Escape rooms
  • Hiking
  • Ballroom dance group classes

Celebrate employee milestones

Whether large or small, acknowledging milestones gives an employee a sense of belonging, you can recognize work anniversaries, birthdays, or perhaps a great week of sales with food and fellowship.

Hire right the first time

Set expectations in the interview, explain the day to day duties in great detail. Don’t sugarcoat the position. If some difficulties or challenges come up often, you want a candidate to know about them.

It’s better not to hire the candidate at all than have them quit in the first 8 months of starting the job

Have mentors for new employees

When a new employee comes onboard pair them with a long time employee who can show them how things are done, act as a sounding board for advice, and help them get acclimated to their new work setting.

Have an open-door policy

One employee retention strategy that should be implemented is an open-door policy where employees can always feel comfortable discussing workplace issues.

Management should all ways keep an open mind when listening to employees’ concerns and wants. Closed-minded management teams lead to increased employee turnover and a lack of retention.

Employee engagement is vital to a companies success.

Understand why employees stay

Reaching out to your current employees for insight on why they stay the company is a valuable resource for identifying current policies that are working for the company and can help you piggyback new ideas off some of your current effective employee retention strategies.

Review benefits yearly

Top benefits don’t always come in the form of a promotion, 401k, or raises, and I’m not talking about healthcare.

Possible Ideas

  • Ability to work from home
  • Paid family leave
  • Half-day Fridays
  • Flexible PTO
  • Gym membership
  • Office stocked with snacks and drinks

Create a brand employees are proud Of

Be active in your local communities. Organize activities that help charitable organizations. These types of activities foster team building and camaraderie while helping a worthy cause and empowering employees.

In this growing age of activism, employees are looking for organizations that have a positive impact on the world and their environment.

Have a strong 401k program

If you don’t know much about your current 401k program then it’s time to take a closer look. Your employee’s future and retirement well being are greatly affected by the investment opportunity choices they have within their 401k plan.

Your 401k plan should have access to low-cost index mutual funds including funds from companies such as Vanguard,  Fidelity, or similar low-cost providers. High fee funds destroy the retirement savings of you and your employees.

You want a competitive 401k matching program with a low fee cost for administration. Your plan should have an easy onboarding system with excellent customer service for your employees.

Have a Recognition program in place

Every employee wants to be appreciated for their work. There are many low-cost employee recognition tools such as Wooboard and Bonusly that can track work milestones, birthdays, social recognition, perks, and more. These types of tools can help with job satisfaction and enhance company culture.

Create Flexible Work arrangements

Work-life balance is a huge concern among employees and having the option for flexible work schedules or working from home can increase productivity of your employees by as much as 13%.

This not only saves your employees money on car-related expenses but can lower the amount of office space needed which will save your company money in the long run.

Administer an effective onboarding process

Onboarding is important, and having the correct process in place is vital to a companies success. When a new hire comes on board, provide materials, training and assign them a mentor that can help guide them through the first few quarters working at the company.

The right onboarding process will help a new employee feel connected and apart of the team more quickly reducing attrition.

Looking for ways to add top engineering or IT talent to your team? Reach out to Apollo Technical

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