Employee Retention Strategies from the Experts

Recruiting teams have faced incredible amounts of uncertainty, disruption, and change in the past few years. It’s forced orgs across industries to find ways to lower costs and encourage employees to remain with the business through hard times.

In other words, companies of all kinds have implemented effective employee retention strategies intended to stem high turnover amid (and following) the global pandemic.

From allowing employees to work from home and offering flexible scheduling and work hours, to providing professional development, execs have made a concerted effort to boost employee satisfaction and create a culture of understanding to better attract and retain top talent.

It’s the latter, though — retention — that is a differentiator for leading orgs.

“Acquiring new talent and bringing them up to speed requires a lot of time and money,” said 15FiveVP of Strategic Initiatives Jeff Smith in a recent Lever-hosted webinar.

“It makes extraordinary financial sense to keep the people that you have, make sure they’re in the right roles, keep them growing, keep them engaged, and keep them as high-performing as possible,” Jeff added.

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5 ways employee retention strategies help

A few talent acquisition and human resources experts gathered for our aforementioned webinar to discuss how corporate leaders can boost employee retention today:

  • Jeff Smith, VP of Strategic Initiatives at 15Five
  • Chelsea Jennings, Founder & CEO at Elevate Noir
  • Hakemia Jackson, Executive Coach & Cultural Strategist at Divinely Powered

What came of this discussion was a master class in top tactics and techniques they use within their own companies to keep employees satisfied and engaged — and how any company (read: yours) can improve employee retention strategies for the upcoming years ahead.

The first part of our chat revolved around why employee retention strategies are necessary. Here are five reasons our panel of experts shared that can help your org.

1) Internal candidates are your MVPs

It took an average of 98 active and passive candidates for Lever customers to fill an open role at their companies in 2021, our 2022 Talent Benchmarks Report found.

By comparison, internal candidates convert at the best rate. Just three of these prospects were needed to make a hire for LeverTRM users.

Tapping into your existing employee base to fill openings across your org is a no-brainer. Not just because you don’t have to hire and train net-new workers, but because this mobility leads to higher employee retention rates.

2022 lever internal mobility employee retention report

2) Onboarding plans determine ramp-up speed

Investing in retaining employees (especially ones in critical roles) is about committing to them for the long haul. After all, it can take up to two years for a new hire to reach full productivity, assuming those employees don’t leave in the meantime.

The more your org can do to create clear and engaging onboarding processes, the faster your employees will be able to contribute and engage within their job role.

3) Turnover is more costly than you think

About $600 billion was spent on employee turnover by U.S. employers in recent years.

Moreover, SHRM research shows replacing an employee can cost between 50–60% of that employee’s overall salary. (Even more for C-suite members).

A high turnover rate may also have a negative impact on your employer brand and, as a result, make future recruiting efforts by your talent team more challenging.

4) Rewards and recognition actually work

A recent Brandon Hall Study found that orgs that give frequent recognition to members of their workforce are 41% more likely to see increased employee retention.

While extrinsic rewards are appropriate for performance progress or milestones, it’s particularly important to offer employees timely, non-monetary recognition as well for their meaningful contributions. For instance, callouts during company all-hands meetings.

5) Employees want development and training opportunities

Nine in 10 employees say they would stay at their companies longer if they invested in helping them learn and gain new skills. That makes learning and development programs — and a dedicated focus on employee engagement at large — a must.

gerat resignation internal mobility employee retention report

3 tips to fix your employee retention strategies

So, with a fresh perspective on how valuable employee retention strategies are for growing your business (in terms of headcount and revenue), the question remains:

How can your company adjust your recruiting, hiring, and internal mobility practices to make sure your best employees stay for the long haul?

Here are a few commonly implemented approaches that can help your business.

Think through the entire employee life cycle

A one-time fix won’t address issues with your employee retention strategies. Rather, ongoing efforts to rectify problems with recruiting processes and the employee lifecycle (from onboarding to internal promotions) are needed.

Notably, you must pay attention to what that experience is like for employees and ensure you have policies to facilitate those transition points seamlessly.

Jeff reminded companies that retention is not just the responsibility of HR or upper management. Companies must take a systematic approach that empowers everyone to play a part in the retention strategy.

“It’s impossible for an HR team in a company of 500 to have their team of five work with every employee on their unique set of needs,” said Smith. “That’s why you need those feedback loops, and that’s why you need to constantly have the end-to-end experience in mind.”

future proof hiring full cycle recruiting

Treat your talent like you would your clients

Hakemia advised that, if you want to make employees feel heard and understood, it’s wise to take the perspective of treating talent as you would your clients.

“Just like you explore the needs and desires of your clients, do the same with your talent,” said Hakemia. “Then identify how you can provide those solutions, prioritizing different ways to facilitate an ongoing dialogue between managers and employees.

“For example, incorporating practices such as routine check-ins and conducting ‘stay interviews’ can help managers discover and resolve any employee issues or concerns and keep them engaged,” Hakemia added.

Ongoing check-ins are extremely important in today’s remote work environment because managers aren’t able to rely on impromptu chats in the hallway or break room.

Companies that create space within the normal course of work to touch base and have conversations are able to keep a finger on the pulse of how people are doing and let employees know their contributions are valued.

To illustrate the importance of treating employees like clients, Chelsea shared a story of an employee who execs thought was very talented but wasn’t being promoted.

“This employee finally went to HR to ask why she wasn’t receiving a promotion and to inform them she was looking for other opportunities,” said Chelsea.

“When HR talked to her leader, it turns out that next week they were planning to give her this promotion, but nobody had communicated this plan to her,” Chelsea added. “The company almost lost a high-performing employee by not making time to simply check-in.”

2022 lever state of dei report

Place DEI at the forefront of all that you do

Today, employees of all backgrounds, demographics, and orientations are incredibly motivated to find and support employers that prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).

Recruiting a diverse talent pool is just one step to becoming this type of organization. Your DEI efforts need to be tied to your company’s overall business strategy and, in turn, embedded into all aspects of the employee lifecycle.

The best way to support these efforts is to make sure you build recruiting and hiring processes in a platform like LeverTRM, which has DEI-enhancing capabilities built-in

LeverTRM’s Diversity dashboard in Visual Insights, our out-of-the-box talent analytics, allows you to track demographic info throughout your hiring process.

This can help you an ID moments where you lose out on leads from underrepresented backgrounds (or discover you’re not adding enough of them to your talent pool).

This dashboard also equips recruiters with configurable surveys and granular reporting so you can easily export and analyze data associated with your diversity goals.

In turn, this allows your org to make a true impact with employee retention strategies because your DEI efforts are woven into how new talent “experiences” the company.

The experts from our webinar recommend taking the time to know what DEI means to their unique set of employees and deploying assessment tools and surveys to gain insight into the best policies and programs to implement.

“Understand that this is something that takes time,” said Chelsea. “Just as your company didn’t make its first million in the first week, DEI&B is something that you grow.

“Employees appreciate progress. Make sure you are showing them every step of the way and communicating the progress that that’s being made towards the goal.”

Watch our on-demand webinar to discover how employee experience is tied to employee retention and what you can do to keep high-performing members of your workforce.

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Further reading