As any company owner knows, hiring great talent isn’t easy. But the challenge doesn’t end when hiring is over. Preventing turnover of this same talent can also represent a significant hurdle for companies.
Surprisingly, some of the world’s most successful and famous companies see a relatively high turnover rate (Facebook employees last an average of 2.5 years; at Tesla, 2.1 years). The tech industry alone sees a churn rate of 13.2% – an astounding percentage, considering high average salaries in tech, along with great benefits.
High employee churn is damaging. Not only does turnover potentially result in the loss of your most valuable talent and knowledge; it represents the loss of time and money you’ve invested in the employee, including hiring and onboarding. Turnover can also result in damage to ongoing projects, client relationships, and processes.
Finally, a high turnover rate can decrease company morale, which can unfortunately cause a domino effect.
All that being said, it pays off (literally) to be proactive in preventing employee churn. Here are three simple strategies leaders and managers can employ to hold onto talent and create more loyal, long-term team members.
1. Develop a transparent, friendly culture
Prospective employees – especially millennials – are looking for employers with strong company cultures as well as competitive salaries and great perks.
But a healthy company culture is about more than bean bag chairs in the office and free beer on tap (although those might help). It’s also characterized by transparency, general friendliness, and positivity.
Here are a few ways to promote an honest, open, and warm culture that will help your employees appreciate their at-work life:
Create a culture of feedback
Giving and receiving feedback is a critical part of building healthy company culture. Feedback proactively addresses stagnancy, unhealthy workflows and communication, and creates a culture where the voices and opinions of all employees are valued. But feedback works best when it’s integrated into a system or process; otherwise, it simply won’t happen.
Nailted helps companies collect employee feedback with a routine for giving and receiving that feedback. Team members can give their peers “claps” every Friday (which are then received on Mondays), plus provide optionally anonymous feedback to leaders through short, non-intrusive surveys that generate targeted insights.
The result? Improved company culture and a useful opportunity to exchange feedback that can help improve individual and corporate performance.
Start with healthy leadership
A healthy company culture begins with healthy leadership. When your employees are too afraid to speak up for fear of angering management or breaking status quo, then you know that you haven’t created a culture of transparency.
Leaders can set a precedent for clear, honest communication, by:
- Asking for – and receiving – critical feedback from team members
- Initiating honest conversation with regards to new ideas, workflows, and company performance
- Being transparent, open, and honest in their own communication; avoiding posturing or bluffing to cover weaknesses
- Implementing feedback from team members; showing employees you take their feedback and ideas seriously
When it becomes normative and even encouraged to voice critical feedback and bounce around ideas in your company, you know that transparency has taken root. The result? A healthy company culture that makes employees less likely to churn.
2. Encourage employee growth and development
Remember that your employees most likely have personal goals and ambitions, and that they want their jobs to be leading somewhere: a higher salary, a more developed skill set, and potentially, more responsibility.
That being said, employees want to know that you’re invested in their long-term professional growth. If team members don’t feel they have a future with your company – and they’re not going to progress in their roles – they’ll be far more likely to look elsewhere for a company that offers them the opportunity to grow.
Here are two ways to encourage employee growth and development:
Offer coaching and training
Coaching and training doesn’t need to be complicated. Consider hosting a couple training se every quarter, where employees have the opportunity to learn valuable skills such as conflict-resolution, public speaking, emotional intelligence, or even basic accounting.
Not only will you show team members that you genuinely value their development; you also help grow more well-rounded employees with a wider range of skills.
Hold 1:1 meetings
Hectic workflows and tight deadlines don’t often leave much room for one-on-one interaction with upper management and leadership. Still, establish a periodic 1:1 meeting with each report is critical for team members’ personal growth and development. Individual meetings offer key opportunities to personally discuss feedback given through an established process (such as with Nailted).
They also offer team members a chance to discuss future goals – and allow them to address issues that might otherwise cause them to consider leaving.
3. Strive for continuous improvement
Employees want to be with a company that continues to improve – in terms of revenue, growth, efficiency, and culture. And they’re more sensitive to weaknesses than you may think. Here are a few ways to let team members know that you’re continuously striving for improvement:
Get on a mission
Employees need to know that you’re on a mission. They need to know that they’re on a team that’s going somewhere, that’s actually setting out to accomplish the aims and goals of their mission statement, whatever that may be.
Communicate your mission and vision frequently to team members. Post it around the office, talk about it at meetings, and incorporate it into everything you do. When team members know where you’re leading them, they’re less likely to drop off out of boredom, frustration, or lack of vision.
Implement employee feedback
Any kind of feedback you gather – whether it’s through Nailted’s surveys, weekly pulse or through a 1:1 meeting – should be considered for implementation.
If an employee is frustrated with a particular workflow, for example, look for ways to to improve its efficiency. Or, if there’s relational conflict that’s causing a decrease in morale and productivity, address the root source of that conflict in an appropriate way (which, depending on your company, may be the responsibility of the HR department). In any case, don’t just rely on feedback as a healthy part of company culture; take steps to make it actionable.
Show employees you care
Finally, show employees that you genuinely care about them – not just as cogs in a machine, or as assets to your company, but as people. Ask about their personal lives, build friendships, and let them know you value their work-life balance. And encourage camaraderie in the office – an employee who enjoys coming to work is less likely to get tired, burned out, or bored.
Once again, prospective employees today value a holistically balanced lifestyle more than just earnings (although salary is, of course, key to retention as well). Strive to create an environment where team members feel safe to share feedback, encouraged by their successes, and equipped to grow personally and professionally. By investing in your employees’ satisfaction and loyalty, you ultimately create a stronger, more profitable company that draws from the strength of its long-standing, knowledgeable team members.