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Discover the causes and cures for poor employee retention

Employee retention
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Nearly all companies can struggle with poor employee retention.

Low levels of employee retention are hugely detrimental to the business’s overall performance.

Key factors that contribute to employee retention surround communication, leadership, and engagement – but they are all preventable.

There are immediate and effective ways for you to improve your company’s employee retention rate.

All companies, including SMEs, face the shift in priorities of the modern consumer that has made competition extremely tough.  Both the B2B and B2C sides of the business have to ensure that they have the right tools to succeed, and a lot of that depends on their company culture and its impact on employees.

Employee retention can be the crucial difference between success and failure for companies in every industry and sector as without loyal and productive employees striving for higher levels of performance. Businesses can suffer extreme drops in output, perception, and revenue.  To help companies and business leaders who might be struggling with employee retention and looking to implement more successful employee retention strategies, we’ve taken a deeper look at why employees might be choosing to leave and the best ways to combat that exodus and engage your staff more lastingly.

What factors are most likely to cause your employees to leave?

Given the shift in modern workplace mentalities and growth in millennial mind-sets, transitional job roles are far more prevalent than ever before, but the majority of employees would far prefer to spend time helping a company grow throughout their career, especially as longevity should equal expansions in experience, expertise, benefits, and remuneration.  Employee turnover is still a major issue and one that organizations ignore all too often.  Here are some of the key reasons why an employee might start looking elsewhere:

A lack of vision.

This is an aspect that is becoming increasingly more important to employees across the marketplace, particularly in the diverse, rich workplaces of the Middle East.  Employees are starting to measure the culture and mission of an organization in equal weight with the remuneration and benefits packages.

This consideration is two-fold; firstly they look at the overall vision and values of an organization, what are its objectives, what does it stand for?  Secondly, and in most cases far more importantly, what is the company culture like? 
This is associated with the way the business is run, does it promote flexibility, responsibility, tolerance, and inclusion?  Will employees feel valued and heard?  Will they be able to play an effective role in the growth and improvement of an organization?  Would current employees recommend it as an employer?

Greater visibility goes both ways.

Employers can find out more about potential employees, but they can also find out lots about the employer and their organization’s ethos and demeanor.

A lack of leadership.

Or worse, poor leadership.  Long gone are the days of a traditional hierarchical system in which those at the top carry on regardless.  The most successful companies understand the inherent value of inclusion, communication, and consultation with your employees.  A great idea, a remarkable improvement or a timely warning can come from anyone at any level and companies who fail to communicate regularly and properly with their employees do so to their detriment.

A lack of support and training.

It is a simple fact that employees are the lifeblood of any organization, so leaving them to flounder without adequate support is a reckless mistake.  Everyone should be given the benefit of appropriate training to broaden their skill set and enhance the contribution they could make to the company.  If you don’t invest in your employees, they won’t feel valued, and this can cause huge morale problems.

A lack of engagement.

As we talked about in one of our previous articles Why you can’t ignore the True Cost of Employee Turnover, disengaged employees are toxic to a company and studies have proved that this results in significant drops in productivity and staff retention.  A lack of vision, leadership, training and poor communication are the key factors to creating a disengaged employee and to risking the overall performance of your business.

How to promote better employee retention in your organization

The news isn’t all bad of course.  There are numerous ways in which you can improve your employee retention ideas, whether that is by adding to existing ones you already have or creating an entirely new approach to staffing that will pay dividends across the entire business.  A 2017 study by the Work Institute showed that of the 240,000 employee exit interviews conducted, over 75% of them were leaving their job for reasons that were preventable.  Here are some ways in which you can help your business improve its staff retention rates:

Better communication.

This is crucial, and it needs to be across the board.  It might even be difficult, but if there is only one way in which you can change your company culture, this is it.  You need to set the example and guide your organization towards an atmosphere in which everyone feels encouraged to share, advice, suggest and complain.  Listen to your employees, listen to the feedback they give and be prepared to demonstrate your ability to act upon that information and show that they have been heard, understood and believed.  If employees feel as though they have a voice and a management team that will affect change, they feel much more engaged in the organization, and this drastically increases their loyalty and their overall performance.

Better connections.

Salaries are undeniably important to employees and will still very much affect their opinion on whether a job is right for them or not, but it is no longer the only aspect that they consider when thinking about a new position or a change.  If you want your employees to commit to your organization, you need to connect with them.  You need to connect your purpose to them.  They need to believe in your overall goals and mission.  They need to feel tied to the concept of what you are trying to achieve and believe that by remaining in your organization they are achieving objectives that are in line with their ones and making a difference by being part of this team.

For millennials, who are an increasingly dominant presence in the workforce, recognition is also important.  They develop far stronger connections with organizations that prioritize recognition of performance and reward hard work appropriately.

Better investment.

Now, we don’t mean stocks and shares; we mean that you have to invest in your people.  If your employees feel invested in, they feel valued and engaged.  You can demonstrate this investment in several ways.  Firstly by taking stock of your position in the marketplace and ensuring that your employee remuneration and benefits packages are in line with your competitors (if not the best!).

Secondly by investing in their training and introduction to the organization. In fact, according to another recent study when a company implements a successful onboarding program, they experience 54% greater productivity and 50% greater employee retention.

Lastly, you can invest in your employees by offering flexibility that improves their work/life balance, a vital aspect to their overall satisfaction.  Whether that takes the shape of flexible hours, locations, understanding of personal situations, increased team activities, is dependent on your company’s individual needs, but accommodating this will be worth its weight in gold.

A happy, engaged employee is the best brand ambassador you will get, and they will work harder, faster, smarter and with more dedication than anyone else.

These new realities surrounding staff recruitment and retention are particularly important for those who work in HR.  Even the smaller-sized SMEs cannot afford to overlook the vital functions of this department as it is most likely them who will make the difference between good and bad employee retention levels.

The person or team, responsible for HR must be given the opportunity to devote enough time to the engagement and support of employees.  If they find themselves bogged down in less essential administrative work, they should consider implementing time and cost-saving software options that will allow them to focus on the people that matter most.

As an HR or Hiring Manager who wants to improve your company’s employee retention rate, your first step should be to take stock of the current state of affairs within your organization and perhaps even facilitate productive conversations with your employees about their thoughts and feelings.  Use this opportunity to elicit honest answers about their perception of company culture and management style, it could make all the difference to your staff retention rates, and that could make all the difference to your bottom line.

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