Retaining top employees at your company has benefits beyond the extra output you get from a top performer staying longer than average.
First, there is the value that top performers bring to the work they do and the team they work with.
Second, there is the money that you’re saving by not having to find replacements for top employees.
Third, there are the benefits that your company culture receives from a low-turnover environment and employees who are used to working well together.
Finally, high-retention companies are very desirable to candidates and having low turnover will increase the appeal that your company has for top talent in your industry.
So, higher retention rates are a good thing, but how can your company or a turnover-prone department at your company experience this advantageous state of being?
There is no “silver bullet” for slaying a company’s retention problems, but there are some retention programs that you can institute that will help to promote greater retention rates at your company.
Promoting a Healthy, Happy, Pro-Retention Company Culture
A healthy, happy company culture is one of your greatest assets for retaining top employees. On the other hand, an unhealthy, unhappy company culture will ensure that your employees are itching to get onto their next job.
Pro-retention companies have happy employees because these employees know that their work is helping them advance in their career at that company. Whether it’s in their current department or not, enabling employees to make their next job change an internal one will promote a happy, heathy pro-retention culture.
It’s helpful to evaluate your company’s culture with a diverse panel of employees, to highlight the best parts about working for your company and point out the aspects of your company’s culture that are not promoting a functionally pro-retention workplace.
It can be uncomfortable to evaluate your own company culture, especially if that culture doesn’t feel very healthy or happy, but honesty will pay off with improvement. It’s just as important to pay attention to the bad stuff about your company culture as it is the good, and creating a pro-retention culture is not possible without it.
Are you providing enough skill development resources for your employees to advance in their career at your company?
Are you providing incentives to learn new skills like tuition re-imbursement or time allocated for skill development, study and/or training?
Are you updating employees when you get new learning tools?
Are you orienting new employees to your learning tools and training programs?
How often do you make manager and other senior hires internally?
Are high performing employees seeing their colleagues being promoted and feeling like they never get their shot?
Retention interviews are one of the most effective retention tools at your disposal.
Many companies discuss employee progress and career plans during normal assessments, but retention interviews aren’t the same as these periodic assessments.
Unlike assessments, where there is usually discussion on what an employee can do to improve, retention interviews are devoted to uncovering what you can do to secure the retention of the employee you’re meeting with.
Retention interviews should be held annually for all employees and semi-annually for top performers and valued employees who show signs of burnout or impending resignation.
Your retention interview should go something like this:
“I asked you to come here today so that I could conduct a retention interview.
The purpose of a retention interview is to discuss how you’re enjoying working for our company and to see if there’s anything I can do to promote your enjoyment of this job and encourage your long-term retention.
The reason we’re having this meeting is because you’re an integral, valued member of your team and we want to do anything we can to keep you happy and working for our company.
Don’t worry, there are no wrong answers and I absolutely want to know about any people or practices that are making you feel like changing jobs.”
By introducing the purpose of the retention interview in an organized, low-pressure way, you can encourage employees to open up about the people and practices that may be causing them to consider finding a new job. These interviews can give you the information you need to retain top performing employees and address the people and practices that are causing your employees to think about finding a new employer.
Retention Bonuses and Incentives
Many companies offer incentives and perks to improve the lives of employees and attract talent to their company, but retention incentives take this principal a step further.
Retention bonuses and incentives are like traditional bonuses and incentives but are provided to employees incrementally over time. For instance, a retention bonus could be in the form of company stock and the number of stocks could increase with each subsequent year of employment.
When candidates know, from the start, that they will be getting larger bonuses or more stock in your company the longer they work for you, this incentivizes them to think about their new job in terms of years, not months, and promotes retention throughout the organization.
Career Coaching and Development
Giving employees the career coaching and development resources they need to develop their skills and learn new skills will be the cornerstone of your company’s pro-retention culture.
Learning tools, access to tools used by more senior employees, training programs, online courses, college courses and other skill development tools will help employees to improve their skills and learn new skills that will benefit them throughout their career at your company.
Again, for your pro-retention company culture to be effective, you will need to provide adequate skill development resources for employees to train into new jobs at your company.
By creating an environment where learning is supported and encouraged, employees will be able to train themselves into new positions at your company.
Ronny Cheng is one of the Co-Founder’s of Digital Astronauts and has helped drive lead generation in the software industry for organizations of all sizes — from start-ups to Fortune 500’s. He helped build one of the first online software review websites, specializing in CRM, ERP, and HR software. He’s a nationally published author with extensive experience working with the HR/Recruiting industries largest brands. In his spare time, you can catch him on Instagram doing his best food blogger impersonation.