Simple Strategies for Keeping Your Best People

Like many of you, I’ve witnessed my fair share of employee turnover over the course of my career. Sometimes the departing employee was a manager, worked alongside me or was a member of my team. Although some resignations were a blessing, in most cases, the person was highly valued and was greatly missed.

It can be a big blow when an employee quits and the statistics about turnover are staggering. In March 2018, more than 3.3 million people quit their jobs. As business leaders, we know employee turnover has a significant impact on the bottom line, along with the team’s morale. As the world of work evolves, it’s increasingly important to attract, grow and retain the best people. But how? To retain your best employees, it’s essential to closely understand why some employees leave and others stay.

Employee Retention Statistics: Why Your Best Employees Leave or Stay

Studies show a diverse range of factors affect churn. According to Liz Ryan, Founder of Human Workplace, employees quit when they:

  • Do not receive adequate respect, recognition or visibility.
  • Do not receive enough time or attention from their manager.
  • Do not receive opportunities for professional development.
  • Experience too many broken promises.
  • Become annoyed with corporate politics.
  • Feel restricted by red tape (e.g. the employee cannot get initiatives approved).

Why do your employees leave? Take a minute to think about this and use your retention data to inform your employee programs and initiatives.

It’s also helpful to understand what factors positively affect employee satisfaction. In SHRM’s 2017 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement report, the greatest contributor to employee satisfaction is, “Respectful treatment of all employees at all levels.” Sixty-five percent of employees describe respectful treatment as very important, yet only thirty-eight percent are satisfied with the level of respect at their current employer. Other leading factors of job satisfaction include:

  • Trust between employees and senior management
  • Opportunity to use skills and abilities in work
  • Overall compensation and pay
  • Job security

What contributes to the satisfaction of your employees? These factors should also inform how you develop your retention programs and initiatives.

3 Tips for Retaining Your Best Employees

Considering the common reasons for leaving and staying, here are three data-informed strategies for retaining your most valuable employees.

Retaining Your Best Employees Tip #1: Recognize individual needs

No two employees experience the same professional challenges or have the same exact goals. And since many employees quit because they do not receive enough time or attention from their managers, it’s important to develop retention initiatives that cater to individual needs like self-discovery and professional growth. A one-size-fits-all approach to professional development does not work. You may be able to meet the unique needs of your employees by offering individual professional development funds, tuition reimbursement and/or one-on-one professional coaching.

Retaining Your Best Employees Tip #3: Build A Culture of Mutual Trust and Respect

Since employees leave because of broken promises and a lack of respect, managerial trust and psychological safety are important to employee satisfaction. Psychological safety is the belief that an employee will not be punished for making a mistake. A manager can cultivate trust and build psychological safety by seeking mutually desirable outcomes, adopting a learning mindset, asking for feedback and assessing the climate.

Retaining Your Best Employees Tip #3: Invest in your employees

Employee investment goes beyond salary. As noted in the SHRM report, “compensation/pay, overall” is the second most important factor to employee satisfaction. Although it didn’t rank first, compensation presented the largest discrepancy between employees saying the factor is important (61 percent) and employees saying they are satisfied with their compensation/pay (26 percent). As a first step, SHRM recommends developing equitable methods for determining pay to eliminate any ambiguity in how compensation is decided. Next, invest in your employees to support their development and growth. According to an ICF Global Coaching Client Study, companies that invest in coaching experience a 7X median ROI.

Companies want to attract, grow and retain the best people. To start, you should acquire data to understand why your best employees leave and why others stay. With that data, you can cater to the individual needs of your employees, build a culture of mutual trust and invest in your people—beyond just salary and perks.