Tech workers are in higher demand than ever–with nearly 1 million open jobs in IT in the United States alone. That means a competitive job market, where employers will want to offer prospective hires the best of the best in terms of benefits. Offering a great working environment where employees feel engaged has become key to retaining talent.

Though not all businesses can afford to offer amazing perks and benefits like Google’s “massage credits” and gourmet food, even small to mid-sized companies can offer a healthy working environment where employees can thrive in their careers and enjoy high levels of job satisfaction. The ultimate outcome? A company that’s better able to retain its talent–and in turn, produce, innovate, and profit at a stronger pace.

In the following article, we’ll take a look at what professionals are looking for now, why retaining talent is so key, and how to build an environment that encourages retainment through feedback and employee development. 

Free Download: 4 Company Qualities Workers Want Now

3 Aspects that employees value

Before diving into retaining talent, let’s take a look at attracting talent. What are job seekers looking for now? How can you move towards building that in your company?

1. Opportunities for growth

Today, job-seekers aren’t just looking for stability and security. They want an exciting, challenging environment where they can learn new skills and progress in their careers. In fact, a study from Gallup found that 87% of millennials prioritized opportunities for professional development in their jobs. 

2. A positive work environment

Potential hires want to actually enjoy their time in the workplace–whether that’s in person or virtually. They want to feel a sense of community and shared purpose, and they want to have opportunities to communicate openly and be heard. 

3. Employee Recognition

When employees accomplish something significant, work towards a goal, or contribute in a positive way, they want to be recognized. Employee recognition–especially between peers–can create an environment where team members feel seen and rewarded for their efforts…and ultimately, lead to greater motivation and productivity. 

The 2 strategies that improve Employee Retention

Retention is the rate at which your employees stay with your company–and it’s absolutely key to running a thriving, productive business.

Think of it this way: When your employees churn at a high rate, it not only reflects poorly on your company and damages your reputation, it also represents a significant loss of money, time, knowledge, and opportunities. 

Here are several ways that employee turnover hurts your company:

  • Loss of knowledge accumulated from the employee’s experience and growth at your company. 
  • Loss of time accrued from the rehiring and onboarding process.
  • Loss of money needed to rehire and onboard new employees.
  • Loss of morale on your team resulting from the high churn. 

The bottom line? Employee turnover can be costly in more ways than one. Perhaps even more than the upfront costs of rehiring (which are estimated at 15-25% of an employee’s annual salary), the greatest danger posed by churn perhaps lies in the loss of an employee’s knowledge base. 

High retention, on the other hand, results in a healthy, forward-moving business where employees continue to grow, learn, and contribute, and where team members grow in their sense of shared purpose. Finally, high retention improves your company’s reputation–and as a result, your company’s ability to attract new talent. 

1. Working on Employee Feedback

As explained above, professionals today want an environment with healthy communication and opportunities for recognition. 

While these seem like reasonable requests, however, many workplaces don’t deliver in these areas. Organizational culture can be a culprit here, with some companies preferring to keep the status quo over fostering transparent, open communication that may shake up workflows and management styles. On the other hand, some businesses may simply lack a strategy for building peer-to-peer communication. 

How can companies be intentional about a) building a healthier organizational culture overall, and b) creating channels for open communication and recognition?

Two words: employee feedback. 

Employee feedback refers to the exchange of insights, opinions, and observations between employees and between employees and leadership. Feedback might be shared in person, or digitally. In any case, introducing feedback into company culture and workflows is a powerful way to:

  • Normalize open, honest communication–encouraging healthy conversations about how to change, evolve, and be better as professionals (and human beings). 
  • Remove the stigma of speaking up at work….and letting employees know they are heard. 
  • Provide opportunities to give and receive recognition, building towards a more positive, happier work environment overall.
  • Give employees actionable strategies and insights into how they might improve their work habits, contributions, communication styles, and more. 

Nailted is an employee engagement platform that can help you build feedback into your company workflows through regular peer-to-peer feedback, surveys, and 1:1 meetings–all executed digitally. By building feedback into weekly workflows (employees have an opportunity to share on Fridays, and receive recognition, or “claps” on Mondays) Nailted makes it simple to integrate employee feedback into company culture–and reap the benefits of stronger communication and constructive/positive feedback. 

The ultimate result? A stronger company culture where employees feel heard and seen–and are less likely to quit or look for a job role elsewhere. 

2. Supporting Employee Development

As explained above, professionals today want opportunities for growth as well as a healthy work environment. In fact, 72% of millennials say they highly value opportunities for career development–but less than 2% of millennials say they have leadership that encourages their growth.

That being said, there’s a significant opportunity for employers to attract talent with a company that values and supports employee development. Here’s how employers can create authentic opportunities for employee development:

  • As explained above, feedback gives team members the opportunity to receive helpful new insights and opinions.
  • Provide employees with the resources (time and money) to pursue training and online courses that can help them build new skills. 
  • Encourage conversation that hits on goal setting, mentorship, and long term planning for growth. 

At the end of the day, building a company that equips employees to grow not only creates a more attractive place to work, it also helps your business benefit from having a stronger, more skilled team. 

Don’t forget to download your free guide on “4 Company Qualities Workers Want Now.”

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Comments to: The 2 key strategies for success in retaining talent
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