A high turnover rate is undesirable for any company. Even if you’re not losing top performers, it still reflects badly on you. The immediate cost of turnover is high (at least 21%), and your reputation will make it increasingly harder to attract and retain talent.
Considering that Singaporean workers are open to job hopping, what can you do to keep the talent your company needs? Here are 17 strategies for employee retention.
1. Help employees achieve their goals
Enable your employees to achieve their professional and personal goals. Give them career advice as well as link them up with the various tools and services they need, perhaps even sponsoring or subsidising some of it.
2. Help existing employees develop a career
If your employees see themselves stagnating in your company, they won’t stick around. Help them plan a career progression through the company, then groom them to be ready for that promotion or transfer.
3. Good management
Management is a skill in its own right. Stop promoting your top performers into management roles! Those who perform well in task-oriented roles may not do so well in people-management roles. Instead, identify average performers who have great leadership potential and entrust them with bridging the gap between leadership and your top performers.
4. Have principles that unify
When your company stands for something meaningful, and when these ideals align with your employees’ personal values, they’ll become a lot more committed to the company. This is a great way to connect new hires and ground level employees to the leadership.
5. Surround talent with other talent
Once you have a top performer in your team, you want them to stay. But if they’re hindered by team members who are significantly less competent and motivated, they’re going to get frustrated and leave.
6. Encourage risk-taking…and failure
If you punish employees for failing, you’re going to stifle their willingness to take risks, and they’ll take their bold ideas elsewhere. While you should have a limit to your budget and your forgiveness, you should also allow your employees to try unconventional ideas and processes.
7. Give your employees autonomy
When you trust your employees to do their jobs well, chances are they will. On the other hand, micromanaging will hurt your employees motivation and willingness to take responsibility. Check in with your team regularly to make sure they’re on track, but give them space to think and solve problems and seek help of their own volition.
8. Give employees shares
This gives employees a direct sense of ownership over the success of the business. This gives them a stake and encourages them to stay and help the company grow. However, do take note that this scheme alone won’t convince them to stay if they’re disengaged and unhappy.
9. Trust your employees
Have a set of perks that sound too good to be true, like completely free gym memberships or unlimited leave, and allow your employees to decide what and how much to make use of it. If you’ve hired sensible, responsible adults, then they’ll appreciate the trust.
10. Leadership must set an example
The flip side is that your employees could be scared to be seen as taking advantage of and misusing the perks. The best way to combat this is for leadership to participate alongside the rest of the team. This also shows that perks aren’t just novelty provisions, but that leadership genuinely wants to promote work-life balance, health, and happiness throughout the organisation.
11. Celebrate work anniversaries
It’s human nature to make changes with the calendar, and this includes resigning on work anniversaries. Employees who want to leave might be “sticking out the year” so that they feel a sense of closure. Turn this around and instead, celebrate and appreciate your employees for their year of hard work. This shows that you value their time in your company.
12. Your employees are human!
Blur the line between work and play, and your employees will be less inclined to take off running at 6pm, or leave the company altogether. Incorporate elements of fun into the office space and workday by having recreational spaces in the office and break time allowances. You could even have special days where your employees can bring their kids (or furry kids!) to work.
13. Treat your employees like family
Do away with the individualistic nature of work, and encourage your team to become a family (or at least friends). This is not characterised by a set of initiatives, but rather it’s a principle to shape your company culture by. Your team should care about each other professionally and personally, helping each other become the best they can be and be satisfied with their lives.
14. Minimise the private-professional divide
In traditional business, employees must leave their personal self at the door and don a professional, customer service type of personality. However, this divide wears on your employees, and eventually they’ll leave. Instead, let your employees bring elements of their personality to work, like letting them choose their office attire and have fun together with their common interests.
15. Character should be a deciding factor
When choosing new hires, it’s actually more important to pick ones that can integrate well with the existing team than well-qualified, top-performing spanners-in-the-works. A cohesive team will enable each member to produce better work results, and won’t be a source of stress due to conflicts.
16. Foster cooperation
Peer feedback can be a powerful tool for improvement, because employees tend to be more authentic when working with peers, compared to managers and subordinates. However, it should be a constructive process, rather than a means for competitors to backstab each other.
17. Multipurpose initiatives
Retaining good employees is in the best interest of the company. Helping employees with potential to grow is in the best interest of the company. Cultivating a wholesome culture is in the best interest of the company. See the pattern? All the strategies in this article seek to improve the employee experience, because it all benefits the company in the end. Thus, it’s imperative to integrate employee retention into your whole business development plan.
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