#SHRM22: Increase Retention in The Workplace: 14 Effective Strategies | #CauseTheEffect

41% of workers are actively searching for a new job or plan to in the next few months. What is one effective HR strategy you are implementing to help increase retention in your workplace? #CauseTheEffect

To help you retain employees, we asked HR leaders and business owners this question for their best tips. From investing in your managers to creating a culture of continuous learning and growth, there are several strategies that may help you increase employee retention in your workplace.

Here are 14 effective strategies to increase retention in the workplace:

  • Invest in Your Managers
  • Celebrate Team Wins to Build Better Morale
  • Humanize Your Employees
  • Invest in Career Development to Drive Retention
  • Offer A Flexible Schedule
  • Follow the Platinum Rule
  • Create a Culture of Recognition
  • Invest in Employee Resource Groups (ERGs)
  • Develop Recognition Programs Around Core Values
  • Focus on Internal Mobility and Development
  • Provide Childcare as a Benefit
  • Make Your Good Intentions Publicly Known
  • Consider Employee Ownership
  • Create a Culture of Continuous Learning and Growth

Invest in Your Managers

When we think about retention, our minds often go to strategies, programs, technology and tools to help keep our people engaged. But one of the most effective HR strategies to help increase retention in the workplace is also one of the simplest, yet one of the more challenging ones to execute. Train your front line managers. While HR is important in building retention strategies, your managers are more important. Make sure they have all the tools they need to coach and develop their team and build a compassionate culture of caring.  If your people are leaving, it is often because of their manager. But managers can also be a reason that your people stay

Tracie Sponenberg, Chief People Officer of The Granite Group

Celebrate Team Wins to Build Better Morale

I've found that celebrating team and individual success is a great way to increase retention and engagement. We downloaded a plugin called Matterbot to our company slack channel and it gives your team an opportunity to give shout outs to one another. People stay where they know they are valued and every Friday we show how much we value one another. I highly recommend incorporating praise into your consistent communication strategy.

Joey Price, Owner and Podcast Host of Jumpstart:HR, LLC

Humanize Your Employees

Employers who want to retain their workforce must make a seismic shift in how they view their employees from producers, to goal achievers, to seeing the whole human they bring to the workplace. Leaders need to ask themselves, “Who are my employees? What are their diversity needs? Is my company considerate of who our employees are, what their needs are, how they are faring in the ongoing pandemic, inflation, and rapid rate of social change, and how can our company support the needs of our employees?”

Have we asked our employees what their needs are? For employees to stay engaged, their employer must be intentionally engaged with the employees, practice active listening, and offer what employees need to feel valued, whether it be flexibility, increased pay, or supportive leaders who are humble and care.

Lynette Davis, Human Resources Business Partner at Paychex

Invest in Career Development to Drive Retention

Investing in your employees professional development not only helps them build their skills, but drives productivity and their loyalty to your organization. When a team member knows that you are committed to their growth they are able to better visualize their future within your company. While salary may get a candidate through the door, learning and development (and the support of a good manager or mentor) is what will keep them. Building a career takes experience and education, HR teams that consider that with their employee growth strategy will increase retention and loyalty.

Tracy Avin, Founder of TroopHR

Offer A Flexible Schedule

Employees quit for many reasons. Some are lured away by stronger compensation packages or leveled-up responsibilities. Some leave to escape burnout, equal opportunity jerk managers, and/or toxic cultures. Others need a flexible schedule or can't bear to drive 2+ hours every day. Some quit because there is no upward trajectory at their current job, or because of (the illusion) of greener pastures. In order to avoid unwanted turnover, employers must create and deploy customized, multi-faceted plans that vary based on team and individual needs. Employers must have strong workplace cultures and professional brands. Managers must adaptively lead. Compensation and benefits must be competitive to attract and retain elite talent. Employees must be given opportunities to professionally grow and develop. Nowadays, interviewees ask 2 things: 1) how's the culture; and 2) can I work from home? HR's role in maintaining an ideal, flexible culture that offers career growth opportunities is critical!

Deborah Moroz, Chief Human Resources Officer at Health-Ade

Follow the Platinum Rule

If the company just focuses on the organization’s profitability without taking into consideration the employees’ level of satisfaction, it will result in plain, costly, unavoidable turnover. Employers need to consider the “Platinum rule” and treat employees the way they want to be treated. If your employees want recognition, recognize their performance, their efforts, their willingness to go above and beyond what they are expected to. If your employees are looking for more flexibility, then offer them flexible schedules, offer remote work options. Use job redesign such as a job enlargement or job enrichment to avoid employees getting bored. How about opportunities to move up? Providing a meaningful job is a critical factor to attract, retain and keep our employees motivated.

Elga Lejarza, CEO and Founder of HRTrainingClasses.com

Create a Culture of Recognition

It sounds so simple, but if not done correctly it does more harm than good. Guusto lives and breathes employee recognition and in a world where employees have more options than ever, it is one of the best tools to differentiate your employer brand. Employees of every generation appreciate being recognized, especially the Millennial and Gen Z cohorts. By creating a structured, transparent, and easily accessible recognition process we have seen retention rates for some customers increase by up to 31%.

And this isn’t just top-down recognition, but recognition across the organization – manager to team, peer to peer, exec to the front line. By having all levels of the organization participate, you create a “Culture of Recognition” where people become connected, display gratitude often, and trust one another more. Recognition doesn’t just make people happy, it aligns them with company goals and values, and builds a community. When someone gets recognized, they feel seen and appreciated.

Noah Warder, Head of People at Guusto

Invest in Employee Resource Groups (ERGs)

A broad strategy to help with retention is to put a focus on Diversity and Inclusion. Simply put, people stay where they feel like they belong and can see themselves grow, especially if they are aligned with the mission and values of the organization. A specific D&I strategy to assist with retention would be investing in Employee Resource Groups for employees to come together with other like minded employees for a central focus around the community, education, and business impact. In my experience, people want to contribute to work that matters and that alone can provide a sense of belonging. If employers want to retain their employees they need to adapt to a people-centric mindset.

Chelly Conley, Director of Global Diversity, Inclusion, & Belonging at KnowBe4

Develop Recognition Programs Around Core Values

Our retention strategies are centered around our core values (Be Safe, Be There, Be Open and Be Kind) – as our compass, they create clarity about what matters so we can do more of what matters most.  We developed three employee recognition programs (STOK’d Storytellers, EMBARK Legends and Milestones) that are anchored by these values over the past 15 months. As a result of these programs, our employee engagement has soared. Hundreds of employees are recognizing the positive work of their peers, managers and supervisors.

We use a number of communication strategies to ensure our success including our dedicated website to communicate to internal and external community members our successes on our organizational milestones to achieve our Vision, uphold our Mission and live our Values. Our focus is communication, celebration and recognition to reinforce the company culture people want to be a part of, internally and externally.

Mike Shaw, Chief People Person EMBARK

Focus on Internal Mobility and Development

We recognize that our colleagues’ knowledge of our products, customers and culture is a valuable part of their ability to contribute to the organization, in all roles. Curiosity and initiative are the traits that often fuel the most impactful work, and we’ve had great success investing in our team as they seek to grow at Level and in their careers. So we’re doubling down on developing our capabilities in on-the-job learning as a way to engage, grow and retain the team. I challenge you to rethink your job posting requirements, making sure you’re valuing internal knowledge as a trade off for external skills and experiences.

Lenke Taylor, Head of People and Business at Level

Provide Childcare as a Benefit

According to a Jan 2022 Forbes Insider article which summarized a discussion with Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh, the #3 reason that Americans are leaving their current jobs is childcare.  Rather than waiting for a government program solution, we are approaching flexible childcare as a benefit as an integral element of total compensation.  Partnering with companies like Tootris, we are able to address the #1 issue to the workforce with families by ensuring that they have access to quality child care that matches their needs, increases their productivity and demonstrates our commitment to their personal and family well-being as a key to our competitive culture.

Chris Thorne, Owner and President of Chris Thorne Consulting (CTC)

Make Your Good Intentions Publicly Known 

Companies need to consider their employer branding. Retention starts before they even become your employee. What do people outside your company know about how you treat and see your employees?  When companies focus on making public their strides to be the best employer they can be and how their employees feel about the company, it paves the path for positive feelings about the company, even in advance of that first paycheck. Employees that have 'heard' a company is a good employer may consider any challenges as something specific to their situation as opposed to being a company-wide issue.  With that in mind, they are more likely to want to work through issues and stay so they can be a part of the positive company experience.

Leslie Egiziano, Human Resources Business Partner at Paychex

Consider Employee Ownership

Employees today are looking for more meaningful connections with their employers. As an employee-owned company, we showed greater resilience during the pandemic than our privately-owned counterparts. We not only retained our employees, but we continued to attract top talent while being a leader in protecting worker health and safety. We have found that the key to retaining a committed, engaged and healthy workforce is by sharing responsibility for success AND sharing equally in the rewards. Employee ownership can take many forms including ESOPs, cooperatives, profit sharing plans, or equity compensation plans, among others, and can be partially or fully owned. Regardless of the form it takes, employee-ownership can positively influence an employee’s perception and behavior around trust, inclusion, fairness, productivity and loyalty.

Mara Neufeld Rivera, Executive Vice President, Head of People & Culture at Chroma Technology Corp.

Create a Culture of Continuous Learning and Growth

We are focused on “re-recruiting” our people by creating a culture of continuous learning and growth. One key piece of this is upskilling and investing in our Pursuit Learning Hub. Colleagues have access to courses and videos on a variety of topics such as HCD, agile, and inclusive leadership, and our global Fuel Up Fridays initiative designates an afternoon each month to continued learning through Pursuit. We have also focused efforts on leadership development, with structured training sessions and a Leadership DNA framework that helps guide development conversations and showcases what a great leader looks like at all levels of the organization. The third tier is internal career mobility, which we’ve made more accessible through Workday and internal “meet the manager” events to profile open roles ideal for internal colleagues.

Shawna Oliver, AVP, Head of Global Benefits & Wellness at Manulife


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