Is your business losing some of its top employees? Do you fear that you will lose them in the near future? We’ve all heard about the Great Resignation, how people are quitting their jobs in droves lately, and how over 40% of them had planned to do so in 2020.

Furthermore, due to the increased number of job positions, recruiting new talent is becoming more difficult.

According to research, job vacancies in the United Kingdom reached an all-time high in July, reaching one million for the first time.

All of this means that whether you own a business or lead one, you should be thinking about how to ensure employee retention.

The reasons given for leaving their positions vary, but research shows that bad leadership and toxic company cultures are among the most common.

According to Gallup, bad leadership accounts for 70% of the variance in employee engagement. 

Also, according to the Breathe’s Culture Economy 2021 report; almost a third (27%) of employees quit due to company culture.

(Read our article about the 9 things we must do to ensure we live our company cultures). 

How to improve employees’ retention?

There is something we need to do before we start making plans and implementing new procedures to keep our employees.

The most crucial thing to address is if we are truly listening to our employees in order to develop programmes that are tailored to their needs.

We may believe that we are doing the right thing as leaders. Establishing a four-day workweek, for example, or allowing individuals to work from home a few days a week. Even with additional bonuses and privileges such as free beverages in the office, fewer meetings, and Friday afternoon off,…

It’s not about doing a lot of things to show that you care; it’s about doing the right thing. And the only way to figure out what that is is to ask and listen to your employees. (Read our article about active listening here)

Are companies listening to their employees?

While most companies use questionnaires, annual surveys and reviews, the reality is that many of them are failing to listen and understand what their employees really need or want. 

According to research by Personio, there is a significant gap between how HR and employees rate companies’ efforts:

employees' retention

As you can see, the actual issue is that companies and employees have different perspectives on reality.

As a result, even if the company makes every effort to boost employee engagement and satisfaction, it will have little effect because the solutions in place do not meet the demands of the employees.

employees' retention

Another example is productivity-related factors.

According to research, HR’s perception of what affects employee productivity and what it actually does are two distinct things.

So, how can you really create effective action plans, if you are trying to solve different problems?

Start being smart about employees’ retention

What can we do, as companies, to ensure that we focus on the right points to improve employees’ retention? 

Here are some tips to help you: 

Don’t make assumptions or follow in the footsteps of others.

employees' retentionWhat may have worked for other businesses may not necessarily work for yours.

Stop doing what everyone else is doing and instead ask your staff what they really want.

This will save you time, effort, and money in addition to being more productive.

Furthermore, asking individuals about their wants and acting on their responses is a terrific approach to demonstrate gratitude and appreciation.

Make sure you ask the right questions.

(Read our article about how to use questions to empower your team).

Begin by asking the correct questions: what do your employees really care about? What do they need to improve their performance? What can you do to support them?

We can’t know what other people want unless we ask. The alternative is to guess, which is why businesses waste money and energy on ineffective initiatives.

Allow people to communicate their requirements through the appropriate channels.

(Read our article about effective communication here).

If you have ten people, you can conduct one-on-one interactions, but in large corporations, this becomes difficult.

Nonetheless, there is a wide range of options for gathering the information you need. Use weekly surveys, send a mass email, or even hold team meetings where each team leader gathers information from their team members.

The key aspects here are to establish clear channels of communication and to ensure that you create an environment in which individuals feel comfortable speaking up.

Pay attention to employee experience.

Focus on how your employees experience different aspects of the organisation. This will give you a great deal of insight that you then can use to plan your actions. 

At Optimist Performance, we always ask our employees about their experience: How did you feel about it? Are you enjoying this? How could it have gone better? What can we do better in the future? 

Also, these are open questions that make them useful for multiple purposes such as processes, learning and development, team spirit, meetings, etc…

Don’t underestimate the power of appreciation.

show appreciation

According to a study by the Office Team, 66% of employees would quit their jobs if they didn’t feel appreciated.

We found here once again that what company leaders think differs from the employees’ perspectives. 

According to research by Bersin & Associates, three out of four companies have a recognition program, but only 58 per cent of employees believe their organizations have these programs.

So, even if you think you’re doing everything you can to show gratitude, you could be squandering vital resources in the wrong places.

While there are as many ways to make someone feel appreciated as there are people, it’s vital to remember that expressing gratitude to your staff is about more than money, gifts, or pictures on the wall.

It’s about building an environment and a relationship where everyone feels their opinions and work matter. This doesn’t have to be difficult and most importantly it’s not about one big gesture, it’s rather about the small things, nice comments, being grateful, asking for someone’s opinion or feedback. People want to feel like their job matters and this is an everyday job. 

This comment from LinkedIn is a great example:

At my current job, I have 1 on 1’s weekly. Maybe that’s the standard but it’s absolutely new to me. It’s a check-in on both my well being at work and my overall health. It’s where I can bring up what I’m struggling with and ask for help. Or we set goals to tackle. I didn’t know work environments like this existed. It makes me feel both seen and appreciated.

The Optimist View…

There are a million ways in which we can show appreciation or how we can retain the best talent. Because everyone is different, your strategy must be tailored to your team’s individual requirements. The important thing is to figure out what works best for you and your team. 

This is why knowing the people in the team is critical for leaders. If you don’t know each person in your team, you will find it really difficult to find out the right approach. 

At Optimist Performance, we work with leaders to help them become the best leaders they can be. We can work with leaders either one on one with our executive coaching programmes or as a group, with our leadership programmes and workshops. 

Get in touch with us today and find out how we can help you.