A 2022 Guide To Employee Retention

From sending the latest corporate gifts to focusing on mental health and prioritizing wellness, there are a lot employers can do in 2022 to improve their employee retention rate. Whether or not they’re actually doing those things becomes the question. Here is your guide to employee retention that you have been searching for.

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Employee Retention Is Strategically Critical

According to Gartner, U.S. employee annual voluntary turnover is likely to increase by almost 20% this year. That’s up from a pre-pandemic annual average of 31.9 million employees who quit their job. In 2022, it’s estimated to be 37.4 million quitting their jobs.

Why Such An Increase?

Analysts say that there are new employee expectations and the availability of hybrid arrangements that are leading to the rise in attrition. An organization with a turnover rate prior to the pandemic of 20% could see these rates as high as 24% this year, with this trend likely to continue.

Employees, according to Gartner’s research, are dealing with two issues as they grapple with decisions—one is achieving flexibility, and the second is feeling as if they aren’t in alignment with leaders.

In November 2021, a Gartner survey of more than 3,500 employees indicated less than half thought remote work was destigmatized in their organization. Seventy percent said they believed onsite employees were more likely to be paid more and promoted more than remote employees.

The pandemic caused almost 7 in 10 surveyed employees to rethink the role of their work within their lives. Many people expressed the desire for a more flexible schedule, including in terms of the days worked, their working hours, and their location. They said they want a work schedule that accommodates personal needs.

Fifty-two percent of survey respondents told Gartner that the availability of flexible work policies would impact whether they’d stay at their current organization. Sixteen percent of employees said they were willing to quit their current job if they were made to work onsite fully. Eight percent said they would quit even if they were only required to work onsite partially.

Gartner’s takeaway from this was that in order to attract and retain talent, organizations have to create a work design concept that’s human-centric, centering around what’s best for employees. Gartner went on to say that progressive leaders are putting the well-being of employees at the forefront of talent management and are putting in place policies to reduce or prevent burnout while helping employees thrive personally and professionally.

The attempts to go back to what was seen as normal before the pandemic are clashing with the workforce, based on current research.

Why Does Employee Retention Matter?

Your ability to keep employees is your retention rate. You can calculate it and get a specific metric by dividing your total number of employees who have stayed on board by the total number of employees from the start of our time range. Then, multiply it by 100, and you’ll get a percentage.

Retention rate and turnover rate tend to be used interchangeably, but a turnover rate is a deeper metric. The turnover rate indicates how often a role is refilled. Retention rate is just about measuring how many employees you lose or gain altogether.

You can retain the same number of filled roles year-over-year, yet you can still be churning through new hires who leave roles soon after coming on board.

During uncertain times, which we’re certainly in right now, it becomes especially important to track employee retention. At the peak of the pandemic, two of every five workers said they were thinking of leaving their current employer. If you don’t have a strategy for keeping your top talent, you’re more vulnerable to the ups and downs of the larger market.

Also, as new job seekers come online, they’re going to see your high turnover/low retention rate as a red flag.

When your retention rate improves, business benefits include:

  • There’s more consistency in your productivity. You aren’t distracted by constantly having to interview new candidates and onboard employees. Everyone on your team can focus on accomplishment and organization for future demands. Otherwise, there’s a big impact on productivity and output when managers and recruiters who fill roles leave.
  • When you have an adequate team, your customers are going to be happier with your service.
  • When you retain employees, it helps you retain knowledge that can give you a competitive advantage.
  • You’re going to save money. Replacing employees is incredibly expensive. In just the U.S., the costs per year total a trillion dollars. You’re not using your existing budget to constantly hire, and that allows you to put more of your resources towards things that are going to help you advance.
  • If a company is a revolving door of employees, it’s hard to foster a sense of collaboration and teamwork. Employees are going to feel like they don’t get to know one another. People feel more positive when they’re working with the same people for the long term.
  • When companies are struggling with retention, they’re also often struggling with engaged employees. Around 15% of employees are actively disengaged, according to current research. When your employees are happier and more content, they’re going to engage more, and it’s going to boost productivity.

The signs that an employee might be getting ready to leave your company include:

  • Reductions in engagement and productivity
  • Taking on fewer long-term projects
  • Not being interested in moving up in the company

How Can You Improve Retention?

Some of what you might think you know about retention is different in 2022. The things employees want have shifted significantly over the past decade, especially since the pandemic.

Offer Opportunities For Professional Development

Around 94% of employees surveyed by LinkedIn for its recent Workplace Learning Report said they’d stay at a company for a longer period of time if they felt it was investing in their professional development.

When you aren’t providing opportunities for internal training and development, you’re missing out on the chance to deal with the skills shortage being felt around the world, as well as leaving employees feeling unsatisfied.

When you offer internal training and development opportunities, you’re upskilling your workforce, and you’re showing employees you want to invest in them.

Along with training and developing employees, ensure you’re creating opportunities for advancement. Your best employees are going to want to advance, and things like the potential for promotion will motivate them.

When employees are stuck in the same role for long periods, they’re more likely to leave a company. Research indicates for every ten months an employee is in the same position, the chances of them quitting goes up by 1%.

Management doesn’t have to be the only available opportunity for advancement. Think beyond that. For example, you can offer the chance for increases in promotions, influence, and benefits, but an employee doesn’t ever have to manage people.

Look At Your Managers

You want to make sure employees aren’t leaving managers at your company. Employees much more often leave managers as compared to companies. How your management is dealing with employees is going to have a significant impact on engagement and retention.

There are the more obvious issues employees might have with managers, but also subtle ones. For example, employees might leave because they feel like their manager isn’t appreciating them or micromanaging them and not giving them autonomy.

So how do you figure out if there’s a problem with managers?

One way is to ask for feedback from employees on a regular basis.

Make your feedback tools anonymous whenever possible, so you’re getting real answers and opinions.

Make Your Onboarding Better

Employers are struggling with onboarding right now because so many people are working virtually or in hybrid situations. You have to make sure that your onboarding is addressing new challenges related to the dominant remote work setting.

If you’re regularly losing new employees, your onboarding is the very likely culprit.

Onboarding shouldn’t just be a lot of paperwork. You need to make sure that you’re onboarding employees in terms of their specific job and what’s expected of them and that you’re culturally onboarding them, so they understand the more nuanced aspects of working at your company.

Recognize Employees And Show Appreciation

Around 66% of employees say they’d quit their job if they weren’t feeling appreciated, yet according to a Gallup poll, a whopping 65% of workers say they feel unappreciated.

Another study found that work is last on the list of places where people feel like they express gratitude.

Managers need to be trained to show gratitude regularly, and introducing health and wellness incentives can be one of the ways to demonstrate that appreciation.

Avoid common mistakes when you recognize employees and show appreciation as well.

For example, don’t just think you can go around thanking every one in a general way. Recognition and appreciation need to be authentic and specific. You don’t want to move dramatically from not offering any gratitude to showing gratitude to everyone.

You need to work on cultivating a culture of recognition.

Encourage not only managers to show appreciation but also work on the peer-to-peer appreciation.

When possible, make recognition public.

Finally, make sure that you’re celebrating and ultimately rewarding the behaviors you want to consistently see as part of your culture.

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