Employee retention is a serious issue. Here are a few things you can do to keep your employees from fleeing to your competition.
Business admins and HR teams have been tussling with the difficult question of how to improve employee retention. When an employee leaves, if they have been particularly great, it can hurt a business owner for many years. This is especially true for a small business owner, who is worried that they are not providing an environment that is fulfilling, positive and or playing a big role in the current state of the industry. When a brilliant employee leaves, a small business owner can take it to heart and go through a tough time mentally. They might break down, cry, have self-doubt and just generally be very upset and turn it inward. But this is what a risk assessment on employee retention seeks to prevent. This is what you can do to keep your employees from fleeing to the competition.
Some hard-hitting facts
Employees retention rates are different in every industry. The more volatile are, as you would expect, are the tech and design industries. In the gaming field, there is an annual 15% change in employees. This means that almost 1/5 of employees leave a company every single year. The others are in the computer software industry, up to 13% leave and are replaced every single year. In the user experience design industry, up to 23% of employees leave a company they have been working for. So a quarter of employees for a particular UX design company, that makes websites and designs tutorials for software, etc, are lost.
Can you imagine the havoc this causes? Professional friendships are broken, you lose top talent to your rivals, company secrets might be spilled, the media wonders why you can’t hold onto your workers and if you’re an IPO, your stock takes a hit. It’s not a position you want to tolerate or be in.
What is your culture like?
Company culture is so important yet so many entrepreneurs and small business owners, don’t get why. This is the heart and soul of your business. Company culture is how you work, not what you do. Two tech companies in the same field might produce very similar products or services. But they have totally different approaches to thought, design, research, implementation, etc.
How do you get to know your culture?
- Working ethos
- Procedures and processes
- Employee behavior
- Reflection and risk
When you know each and every one of these points you should have a good picture of what your company culture is like. What is your mission, i.e why did you start your business in the first place? How do you plan on achieving your goals, i.e. your vision? What is our marketing approach, i.e. how will you convince strangers to become customers? And so on, this list goes.
When you know what your culture is, write it down or learn it by heart. This way, you can answer these questions at any moment and also know how certain areas are progressing. Obviously, if one of these areas isn’t going in the direction you want them to, you need to plan how you will resolve this.
Procedures and processes
Let’s look at two examples. Company A has 5 processes for finalizing a design. Company B has 3 stages for finalizing a design. What could you say about either? Company A might be too precautious, or it might be more prudent. Company B might be more efficient in their time management or they just have more comprehensive tasks done so they need fewer stages. Of course it all depends on what the design is trying to accomplish. However, this is food for thought. The question for you is, could you lessen the workload but retain the same level of quality?
When employees are having to do too many things, they can become annoyed and lose confidence in their role. Rather than forcing your workers to do a lot, try to make their daily tasks into small chunks. Don’t ask them to reflect or make reports on the things they’re doing. That’s the manager’s job. Don’t ask employees to write up daily updates on the tasks they’re doing. It should be evident to any manager who looks at their task status in the task management software you’re using. Don’t ask employees to make calls if they don’t have to. Again, managers should be delegated to contact clients instead of the normal worker. Splitting these responsibilities can lessen the workload, decrease processes and make for clearer procedures.
Show you actually care
Words will only get you so far in the good books of an employee. They want to see that you actually care for them. This means, providing comprehensive modern health like the type that TrueCoverage health insurance marketplace offers. They have specific small business healthcare plans. They know that you don’t have a very large budget for healthcare but you want to retain employees and make them feel loved and cared for. That’s why they cover things that go on outside of work as well as at the job.
For instance, they offer employees programs for rehabilitation if they take drugs and need help to get off them and live a cleaner sober life. They also provide mental health services that help them to cope with life, stress, family concerns and general internalized concerns. They present lots of modern options which can cover these basics and more complimentary services too. Employers should look carefully at the options and make the right choice balancing, cost, efficiency, coverage and employee needs. Some workers might not need as much as others, so it’s always good to check what kind of needs each person has when constructing the contract.
Be more transparent
Creating a more open and free workplace is a dream come true for many employees. They want to work somewhere that fosters difference and dissent. This is what so many of us business owners have forgotten. Free speech isn’t just about being able to say what’s on your mind, but the freedom to disagree and not be punished for it. This is something that every employee wants to do. They want to voice an opinion that goes against their bosses. Why be afraid of this>?
Politically correct policies are universally unpopular. They don’t allow colleagues to be honest with each other and this often means, not being able to help each other to a greater degree. With regard to asking questions, you should support an ‘ask-anything’ policy. This is often called open door policy, because it allows anyone to walk in and ask a manager or boss a question. Rather than employees being timid and shy about speaking their minds, you get to hear their honest thoughts. Above all else, this kind of open policy shows leadership. Bear in mind, employees sometimes want to speak truth to power. And doing this will show, you have confidence in your leadership, and you’re lenient to their views.
Risk of the rival
Usually employees that leave, go where their lives will be much the same, with a few additional benefits. Your rival is going to snatch away your employees if you aren’t constantly trying to match what they are offering or do better.
If your rival is offering to pay $50,000 for a designer’s salary and you can only offer $45,000, what do you do? You give additional responsibilities to the role. Give the designers more autonomy, more freedom to work how they want. Perhaps ie them an assistant for some times of the day or offer them other perks like a higher percentage in bonuses, more time off or more input in managerial duties.
Another way to beat your rival is to offer your employees more chances to grow their talent list. This means, hiring a corporate training company or something similar. If you’re a manufacturing plant, then offer your employees a chance to enhance their skills by going on an off-site training program that you fund. This could be first a couple weeks or a month. Fund their business travel and allow them to enjoy a new learning experience.
More time off!
The number one reason for many employees leaving is not having enough time off. In this word of 45-50 hours a week, most employees don’t feel like their hard work is rewarded with enough time for their own lives. It’s clear, modern society wants more time for better lifestyles and business owners need to cough up and find more weeks of the year which employees can utilize. Try to increase employee holidays by about 1-2 days a year until you have reached a satisfactory level. This way, an employee that has worked for you for about 3 years has an extra week off per year until you feel that they have reached a good work-life balance.
These are just some of the risks that you need to explore. Employee retention is a serious issue that you don’t want to lose a handle on. Start to commit to some of these things and see how much your situation improves.