To create a culture of employee retention, you need to offer a fantastic employee experience. And a fantastic employee experience is the answer to today’s increasingly candidate-driven, competitive talent market.
Treat your people right, and you get more engaged, higher-performing and happier employees. That means increased employee retention, which is a no-brainer when hiring is difficult and costly. (As costly as £30,000 per employee, the much-quoted Oxford Economics study suggests).
And you build a strong employer reputation based around that fantastic employee experience. What Harvard Business Review call ‘mindshare’; that is, a positive reputation amongst your target hires.
Which means easier, more affordable hiring. At least 10% more affordable per hire, if you listen to Harvard Business Review.
Here’s a diagram, if you’re a diagram kinda person:
Put simply, creating a culture of employee retention with a fantastic employee experience should be HR’s number one strategic priority right now.
So let’s talk about the areas you should focus on.
Find yourself, dude.
Don’t be that kid at school that’s all goth one day, punk the next. To ace the employee experience game you need a consistent identity. And a consistent identity means knowing what makes you, you. Differentiating.
The thing is, if you don’t have a coherent identity you’ll struggle to connect with employees. You can have all the ping pong tables, free beer or stand-up meetings you want, but employees can feel if your employer brand rings hollow – and employee retention will suffer.
So if you’re not sure what defines your employer brand, start by looking at the data. Ask prospective job-seekers, candidates in-process, new hires and current employees what they think. Harvard Business Review’s World’s Most Attractive Employers are far more likely to measure employer brand, so that’s the best start.
Walk the walk
A recent survey found only 19% of employees feel the reality of their employee experience matches the vision the company promotes publicly. In other words, over 80% of employees feel their employer talks the talk but bails on those promises once new hires are through the door.
To boost employee retention, authenticity is crucial. Knowing yourself is one thing, but then you have to bring that truth to life for employees.
MailChimp are a great example. Vocal advocates of creativity, craziness and passion for excellence, they express that authentically in various ways, like a regular Coffee Hour, where they often “invite creative, interesting, thought-provoking, and downright weird people to come and teach us something new”.
The time between a new hire signing the contract and joining the company are a real danger period for drop-outs. Your new hire is overflowing with warm goodbyes and nostalgia about their old company but is a bundle of nerves about you. What are people like? Will they like me? Will I make friends?
Also definitely create a mentor programme, if you haven’t already. That’s a no-brainer, helping employees build a support system that combats turnover.
3) Look outside the workplace.
Do you encourage employees to spend time together outside work? Do you facilitate networking with things like team lunches, team building activities, workplace parties or evenings out? Make sure you offer a wide variety to cater to different employees. Someone with a young family might never attend after-work drinks but they might jump at a family fun day.
That’s why referrals are repeatedly rated the top-quality source of hire (including in this Jobvite study. That’s not only because the hiring process is shorter and less expensive (major benefits of referral hiring, say 67% and 52% of Jobvite respondents). It’s primarily because referrals understand and buy into your employer brand – ‘they fit with company culture and values better’, say 70% of respondents).
And because of that, referral hires have more job satisfaction and stay longer with your company. So, to improve employee retention you should empower and reward referrals:
- Invest in creating fantastic content that employees can share – think videos, stories, blogs and so on.
- Give employees a platform. Think beyond traditional channels like social media – review platforms can be a low-cost, high-return channel.
One of the biggest factors impacting trust was open and honest communication, with nearly 60% of respondents citing this as an issue. For HR leaders, creating a culture of openness and transparency is fundamental to boosting employee retention.
There’s no simple fix but it’s things like:
Solicit upwards and sideways feedback – and listen
Ask the C-Suite to directly address employees on important issues
Tell employees how and why business decisions are made
Invite employees to collaborate on setting their own goals
Provide space for employees to share ideas
Offer multiple outlets for support, so employees know who they can talk to
Don’t be afraid of questions – or not knowing the answer
At the risk of sounding biased, employee onboarding is another important facet, cementing your culture early by showing new hires you’re committed to an open, transparent process from Day 1. That’s why we call it cultureboarding.
Employee retention isn’t a spot stain, where you dab on some magic potion and watch turnover disappear. Rather, you need a holistic approach because employee retention is intrinsically linked to employee experience – which is about who you are, every day. About how you show up for employees.
To improve retention and become an employer-of-choice, HR leaders must focus on these key areas, to create an authentic culture of employee retention.
Talmundo helps organisations cement their culture from Day 1, improving the new hire experience and increasing employee retention while freeing HR to invest time elsewhere. Find out more about Talmundo now.