UK employers are struggling with the worst labour shortage since 1997, with many industries, including healthcare, hospitality, retail, farming and construction, suffering more than others. Attracting and retaining talent is now more than ever a priority for business owners and HR departments. The impact of the pandemic and Brexit on the employment market means enticing quality staff and, more importantly, retaining them, is a struggle. Here we provide five ways to tackle employee retention.
A staggering 35% of employees may leave their jobs each year by 2023. And with the new normal of remote work, employees have a wider range of potential employers to evaluate than ever before.
HR leaders need to develop a range of strategies to positively impact employee retention. With open feedback channels, building a culture of recognition, and other key techniques, you can boost your retention efforts this year and beyond.
Why Employee Retention Matters
Employee retention needs to be top of mind for any company, as the cost of losing top talent is enormous. According to research by Oxford Economics and Unum, the average cost of turnover per employee (earning £25,000 a year or more) is £30,614. That means if you replace three employees on this wage in one year, the cost of employee turnover will be close to £92,000.
HR isn’t powerless, though — Over three quarters of the reasons behind employee departures are preventable. The key is to pinpoint the issues that may be driving employees to leave and address them before it’s too late.
What can be done to tackle retention today?
Today’s employees want very different things from their jobs compared with even a few years ago. They are more concerned with purpose, company culture and benefits as well as their salary. To remain competitive, organisations must adapt and offer competitive benefits to attract and retain skilled employees. Here are five ways to tackle employee retention:
- Integrate overall well-being into benefits packages
We know that employee benefits make employees happier and more productive. MetLife’s most recent survey found that 47 per cent of employers saw improved employee productivity after implementing employee benefits schemes. However, many organisations are not using their benefits packages to their full potential. Some are missing key areas such as mental or financial well-being, while others offer fragmented packages without a clear overall support programme or fail to communicate accurately what’s available.
- Create Tailored Benefits
While all employees may be struggling in some way at the moment, situations vary. Many talented candidates may be looking for new jobs now where there are more remote options available to them. With these things in mind, it’s important for employers to use all the tools at their disposal to reach the best available talent.
Voluntary benefits could include caregiving assistance, financial counselling, increased paid time off and other non-traditional perks. There are many low-cost options available and employees can select benefits to meet their individual needs.
- Don’t Forget About Mental Health
The spotlight is still shining brightly on the importance of supporting mental health, including feeling depressed, lonely or anxious. This may be exacerbated by working in isolation, whether that’s behind a desk at a home office, or on the road as a delivery driver.
Now is the time for employers to show employees and prospective talent that they’re willing to invest in their well-being. Potential options include comprehensive Employee Assistance Programmes, one-on-one counselling, therapy sessions and stress-reducing activities. Something as small as a weekly outdoor activity, virtual social meeting or group excursion could be enough to lift employees’ morale.
- Build Employee Engagement
Disengaged employees bring down morale, discourage other employees from doing their best work and set poor examples. Few things bring down engagement like failing to give employees a voice. Employees want to influence decisions that affect their work and the direction of the organisation, and giving employees a real say can dramatically improve retention. Turning feedback into action demonstrates that leadership takes employees’ concerns seriously.
- Create an Exceptional Onboarding Experience
Making employees feel like a part of your organisation starts with their onboarding and continues through their first year at the company and beyond.
Help new employees shift from outsider to insider by educating them about their responsibilities, giving them the agency and resources needed to complete their tasks and goals, and creating an environment where they feel accepted.
Introduce new hires to their teammates as well, and set them up with a mentor so that they have someone on-hand to answer questions. Building social connections between co-workers increases the likelihood of retention, so host events that rally people around shared interests when large cohorts of new hires come on board. You should also ensure that remote employees aren’t left behind when it comes to onboarding.
Supporting the full employee lifecycle is critical to supporting retention – contact our expert HR team today to look at ways your business can ensure you’re providing the best possible employment experience.