A Manager's Guide to Employee Retention

Managers, what are you doing to foster a welcoming, collaborative, open, flexible, and rewarding environment that helps retain your top performers? A 2020 employee retention study found that "65% of employees feel they can find a better job elsewhere." Several factors affect employee turnover, such as a lack of recognition for a job well done, little or no employee engagement, and more. So, aside from attracting and employing talented professionals, a top priority for all managers should include taking measures to positively impact employee satisfaction. We have highlighted 11 major areas that can help retain your best employees!

1. Compensation Package

It's challenging to attract and retain talent by offering a subpar salary and compensation package. Have you made comparisons to what your competitors or others in your market are offering? Have you had discussions with HR, and have they researched rates to ensure the salaries you're offering are at or above market trends? Do you provide a bonus structure? How do you compensate employees who go up and beyond, i.e., rewards, spot bonuses, etc.? What other special incentives could you or are you willing to consider?

2. Evaluate and Expand Training and Development Offerings and Mentor Programs

When considering a job opportunity, a candidate's top picks include training and development, leadership, and the prospect of mentorship. These top criteria are also correlated to high job satisfaction. A study found that 91% of workers who have a mentor are satisfied with their jobs, which translates to an increased likeliness to stay at the company. Have you recently evaluated current training offerings? Have you considered whether or how you could expand on those? Seek input from your team. Options to contemplate can include the following:

  • Leadership Development Program
  • Monthly or Quarterly Training Breakfasts or Lunches
  • Technical Training Licenses
  • Paying for Conferences
  • Supporting Certifications
  • Formal Mentorship Program

3. Social Investment and Enhanced Culture

Studies have shown that employees who felt they worked in a creative, inclusive, and collaborative culture experience more satisfaction. Reports and statistics indicate, "Cultures that support unplugging have employees that are more engaged and more likely to report feeling that their employer cares about them as a person (64% to 43%) and that their job is important (73% to 57%)." As such, a manager's fundamental job responsibility should include creating, fostering, and maintaining a positive, innovative, and collaborative culture. Invest time periodically to evaluate your team culture's state and identify one or more improvement opportunities. Seek and involve a few senior team members who are strong team contributors and invested in team success. 

  • Could you be doing anything more to better orient, acclimate, and welcome new team members? Whether your work environment is in an office or remote, check out our article, A Managers Guide to Onboarding Best Practices. Our article includes a sample onboarding checklist to help you get started. 
  • How else could you make meetings more fun, collaborative, etc.? What social events and team buildings do you provide?  Zoom or video meetings can be fun. Tell the team to wear their favorite jersey; who has the most creative background, etc. Plan ahead; treat team members to an e-Card for purchasing coffee or treats to enjoy during the meeting. You can also do team-building activities; we have many for you to consider in our article, 12 Creative Virtual Team Building Ideas.
  • Do you have team learning opportunities? Lunch and learns can be done remotely or in the office. Turn your presentation into a quiz show with rewards for those with the most correct answers, most engaged, etc. Don't forget about lunch and use our recommendations above by planning ahead and sending e-Cards for employees to enjoy lunch during the meeting.
  • What other fun social experiences could you offer? Do you have an annual holiday party or other family-friendly event? It's time to get creative, as most activities can be done remotely. Start team traditions that employees look forward to!

4. Create Steering Committees

People value teams and companies who consider their feedback and suggestions. Many of your best employees want to be part of the technical decision-making process and other improvement initiatives. Consider implementing a committee to seek, evaluate, and prioritize input.  

5. Provide Play Time

Many companies are now offering employees playtime to spend a certain amount of work time or hours on pet projects, writing publications, working in a sandbox environment, etc.  

6. Provide Time for Corporate Social Responsibility, Philanthropy, and Tech4Good

Purpose is a massive driver of job satisfaction especially that of employees feeling strongly about the contributions they're making! Giving back to their community through skills-based volunteering is a significant motivator and contributor to their enhanced purpose. Do you offer time for employees to contribute to charitable initiatives? Do you have charitable-focused team buildings? Many companies offer one to five days of philanthropy time. Consider supporting a local hospital, retirement home, shelter, donation facility, or other nonprofits that help folks get back on their feet or start new career paths?

7. Establish Sandbox Environment

Especially for technical professionals, allowing them to play with new technologies or versions is a huge advantage of high interest and value. 

8. Implement a Recognition Program

How do you currently recognize individuals? Celebrate accomplishments and milestones! Do you have a peer-to-peer recognition program or employee of the quarter? Where could you acknowledge them, i.e., a dedicated wall with a plaque, corporate newsletter, discussion board, big meetings, or your internal website? If you have a culture or team steering committee, task them with researching recognition programs, presenting a few recommendations, and rolling out a program.

9. Facility and Environment, Increased Flexibility and Work-Life Balance

An instant appeal is the facility's quality and the perks of working at that site, i.e., free snacks and drinks, gyms, patio areas, game rooms, open and modern workspaces, whiteboard walls, etc. Today, many work environments have gone remote. Think about more flexible work schedules or consider condensed workweeks? This can be an excellent incentive for employees that have reached tenure or milestones. Flexibility in this realm is a huge benefit and motivator. It's common for employees to want a flexible schedule and some remote work options. Recent attractions are firms that offer alternatives to those able to work remote. Try a hybrid approach for part-time in the office and part remote; it’s certainly worth considering.

10. Improved Sense of Meaning and Purpose

A feeling that an employee's work is making a difference is a significant motivator. Ensure employees understand the contributions their role is making. If their work is mundane, see about other empowering tasks for your employee to increase their overall purpose. Ensure the connection of how their efforts are making a positive impact on the organization, and its macro goals and initiatives, is clear.

11. Innovation

Is your organization or team considered innovative, using newer technology stacks? Are you considered an early adopter of technology? In the technology world, working with contemporary approaches and technologies is imperative to retaining strong technical talent. Do a pulse check on what you're using and how you're doing it against the trends and preferences. Then strategize on ways to add more innovation. 

In summary, evaluate your team and your offerings. Determine ways you can increase satisfaction for your team members. Have an effective strategy for continuously capturing their feedback and ideas. And don't forget to INCORPORATE! Download our Employee Retention Checklist to get started.