Your employees are your greatest asset — but only if you can convince them to stay. Unemployment rates are at their lowest level in 18 years, which means companies are having a hard time filling open positions. In a labor market tilted decidedly in favor of job hunters, it’s critical to keep your best performers around.
Hiring is an expensive process that impacts your workflow, teams, and outcomes. Advertising open positions on job sites costs money. And depending on what sort of position you’re hiring for, these ads might need to stay up for months. According to SmartRecruiters, data engineer positions take the longest to fill, at an average of 154.5 days. Once you’ve found attractive candidates, you’ll need to factor in the time it takes for you or your employees to conduct interviews — time that could be spent on work.
A report from Bersin by Deloitte suggests that when all is said and done, it costs an average of $4,000 for each new hire in your organization. Things look even worse when you factor in onboarding time; some research indicates it can take up to eight months for new hires to reach peak productivity.
In addition to the costs associated with finding, hiring, and onboarding an employee, high rates of turnover mean your company is filled with employees who lack institutional knowledge. Clearly, it’s in your best interests to boost retention, and the good news is that you don’t have to hand out expensive promotions to do it.
1. Focus on People
You probably can’t afford massive across-the-board pay increases, but luckily, most employees aren’t looking for them. Although they wouldn’t turn down a raise, they’re mostly after work-life balance, upskilling opportunities and engagement on a daily basis. Focus on your employees as people by prioritizing and promoting work-life balance and helping them find purpose in their work. After all, if you center your culture on purpose, you’ll see improved employee engagement.
Say you decide your company’s core value is being family-first. If that’s the case, it should be obvious from your policies and culture. That could mean holding a family bowling night for your team each fall, providing gift cards for back-to-school supplies in August or offering flexible hours so parents can leave work in time to pick up their kids from school.
Also, provide training opportunities to make sure team members stay at the forefront of industry developments. Not only will your employees thank you, but you’ll also be making investments in your workforce that can keep your company agile.
2. Support Career Development
Aside from upskilling to fill skills gaps, there are ways to support your team’s growth. A promotion isn’t the only way to help your employees progress in their careers. Have real conversations with each member of your team about career goals; together, find opportunities to help team members work toward those goals. Often, employees move on from an organization simply because they become bored doing the same work, day in and day out. If you can’t promote your top performers, move them laterally to give them fresh challenges and learn new skills.
Even if you can’t afford to move high-performing employees out of their current roles, you can certainly help them pursue opportunities for education outside their position. Maybe an employee who works on your shop floor is interested in learning how to use computer-aided design (CAD) software, or someone in your warehouse wants to learn QuickBooks. Employees are less likely to leave when they have exciting opportunities for personal development. You could also cover the cost for employees to attend workshops or classes. For example, UPS and Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield offer tuition assistance for their employees.
3. Be Transparent About Pay
In the past, it was common for compensation to be a closely guarded secret. It’s always been a little taboo to talk money — especially in your own workplace. Today, both employers and employees are realizing that this tradition might not be the best one. Keeping compensation under wraps might not directly encourage discrimination, but it definitely makes it easier to exist unchecked or to appear to exist where it doesn’t. Some industry giants have faced lawsuits alleging women are paid less than men in similar roles.
Pay transparency doesn’t just help your company avoid negative repercussions — it can also have positive impacts. One study found that employees collaborate more effectively when compensation is dealt with openly. Sit down with your leadership team to find ways to improve pay transparency at your company. For example, Pariveda Solutions, a management consulting firm, maintains this transparency by ensuring that employees in the same role receive the same compensation.
With more job openings than qualified employees in the workforce, employee retention will continue to be a hot topic across industries. To make sure your best employees don’t jump ship, keep them engaged with development opportunities that show you’re invested in their continued success.
The views of the author of this article do not necessarily represent the views of Gradifi. We make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained here. Readers should consult their own attorneys or other tax or financial advisors to understand the tax, financial and legal consequences of any strategies mentioned in this article.