Did you know, about 3 million Americans switch jobs every month looking out for a better opportunity? 

Now that’s definitely an unsatisfactory number for the employers. For one thing, it can cost an employer almost double an employee’s salary to replace them after they quit.

An employee leaving to join another organization, they feel is a better fit for them, is not a very pleasant scenario for an employer. And the situation is worse when employees who have mission-critical skills that your business relies on, decide to leave. Such cases are considered as “high risk” when it comes to retention. 

Whenever a coworker walks out the door, people start wondering if they should start looking for new opportunities as well. This is why organizations need employee retention strategies to keep employee retention and job satisfaction higher on their list of priorities.

What Are the Best Employee Retention Strategies in 2021?

  • Allow for Flexible Work Schedules
  • Offer Wellness Programs
  • Have an Employee Development Program
  • Provide More Positive Feedback
  • Encourage Employee Communication
  • Invest in Smart Onboarding Process
  • Leverage Technology
  • Put Your Data to Work

Many organizations experienced a sudden economic fallout with the outbreak of COVID-19, which also affected the working culture to a great extent. Companies are trying hard to retain employees to recover from the situation since the departure of an employee brings many challenges, including time and money spent on training new employees, low work productivity, and negative employee morale. And these challenges are multiplied when several team members depart at the same time, that too in the midst of a pandemic.

8 Best Employee Retention Strategies to Keep Your Best Talent in 2021

What steps can organizations take to retain employees? How can they improve employee retention? How can they keep their employees from leaving the company? What is the ideal employee retention idea for an organization? 

To answer these questions, we have put together a list of detailed employee retention strategies for you to choose and improve retention in your workplace:

1) Allow for Flexible Work Schedules

49% of hourly employees are willing to take a pay cut in exchange for control over their schedules.

Employees are attracted to flexible working schedules because flexibility makes them more productive by giving them the space to work – when and how they want. 

When employers focus more on work done and less on hours punched, employees can also focus on producing quality work rather than watching the clock tick seconds until it’s time to go home. 

The luxury of the non-traditional schedule reduces employee stress which in turn increases their productivity.

Offering flexible work hours especially during this pandemic, when people are working remotely, is important to accommodate the life needs of your employees. Employers need to realize that working from home is a new thing for most employees and adjusting their work schedules along with other household chores is not easy for them. Hence, flexibility in working hours and creating a remote work policy can have a positive impact on an employee’s health and promote a healthy work life balance. 

Now let’s have a look at the “What’s in it for the employers” factor.

Besides being able to attract top talent, the benefits of offering flexible schedules include reduced tardiness, boosted employee morale, and better employee engagement and retention. In addition to this, as mentioned in the statistics above, employees are even willing to take pay cuts when offered flexibility in working schedules.

2) Offer Wellness Programs

Companies providing access to more than seven employee health and wellness programs are almost twice as likely to retain their employees, according to a survey by health services company Optum. 

As an employer, it is your responsibility to keep your employees fit – mentally, physically, and financially to boost their morale and productivity. 

These responsibilities have now become even more critical since we are in the midst of a pandemic and everybody is stressing over their well-being.

Employees feel motivated and productive when they know that their employer cares about them enough to offer wellness programs that address their physical, emotional and financial health. These benefits not only motivates and engages your employees but also play an important factor in retaining them.

Even if all your employees don’t take advantage of these programs, offering wellness programs is still one of the important employee retention strategies as it sends a message that the company cares for its employees.

Also, in some cases, these wellness programs can make an influence even before an employee joins the organization. This is because talented job candidates look for employers that not only provide a competitive salary but a competitive benefits package as well.

3) Have an Employee Development Plan

According to Willis Towers Watson, nearly three-quarters of high-retention-risk employees leave because they have nowhere else to go on their current organization’s career ladder.

Employee development is no longer an optional perk reserved for only certain positions or projects. With so many complex applications being adopted by organizations every day, learning and development are expected to be an ongoing activity by today’s talent. Also, it sends a message that the employer values its people and is investing in their success. 

Providing a clearly laid-out employee development plan for advancement is another great employee retention strategy that makes your workforce feel that they are a critical part of your company’s success.

However, when your staff is bogged down by their daily tasks, they can’t take time to expand their knowledge or learn new skills. And traditional training methods like conducting group training and providing long written manuals make it even more difficult for employees to participate in training. These traditional methods are time-consuming and can overwhelm learners with too much information at once.

Also, as work from home becomes the new norm, these methods are neither feasible nor convenient for a remote workforce. Therefore, training a geographically dispersed workforce, working in different time zones, has become a huge challenge for organizations. 

So how can you overcome these training challenges and enable continuous training for your employees?

The solution here lies in self-paced learning. Self-paced learning enables employees to access learning materials and go through training at their convenient time and at a speed that works best for them. 

A digital adoption platform like Whatfix enables self-paced learning for your employees. It creates interactive walkthroughs and videos to train your employees on any enterprise application. Whatfix’s self-paced and interactive on-the-job training solution augments training by helping employees in learning while doing, within the business application.

Enable continuous employee learning and training with Whatfix

Discover how Whatfix’s Digital Adoption Platform can help your organization create continuous employee training and development programs with in-app guidance, personalized workflows, and self-help knowledge bases.

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4) Provide More Positive Feedback

A 2017 study by The Engagement Institute found that disengaged employees cost companies between $450 and $550 billion a year.

When employees feel more productive, invested, and appreciated in your company, they are more likely to say “no” to other job offers and choose to stay by your side. This is why a continuous feedback process that includes an annual performance review is crucial. 

The performance feedback process keeps employees satisfied, engaged, and committed to an organization, and they are more likely to be retained.

Managers need to provide positive feedback to their team members frequently to keep them motivated to do their best work. Having said that, constructive and corrective feedback is also something that cannot be missed out on, particularly when there’s an urgent issue to be settled.

5) Encourage Employee Communication

In addition to our previous point, feedback shouldn’t just flow one way.

Employees that don’t feel comfortable giving upward feedback are 16% less likely to stay at their companies, according to TINYpulse. 

Open communication is key to understanding the need for improvement for both employers and employees. Encouraging employees to communicate their thoughts demonstrates that they are valued and their opinions are important to the company. 

Having an open and healthy line of communication is one of the most important employee retention strategies that make retention much easier. Having said that, some employees do feel hesitant while sharing their concerns because of the fear of their managers getting back at them in some way or the other. One solution to overcome this fear is to create anonymous feedback channels where the employee ID could be kept hidden. 

Employees should not hesitate to come to you with any ideas or concerns. And on the flip side, they expect you to be honest and open with them about what’s going on in the organization and how they are performing. 

Communication not only strengthens your relationship with current employees but top potential candidates are also attracted towards an open company culture that values communication.

6) Invest in Smart Onboarding Processes

Organizations with a strong onboarding process can improve the retention of new hires by 82% (Glassdoor).

In the search for the best talent, companies woo candidates with promises of unique cultures, perks, and opportunities, during the recruitment phase.

Unfortunately, most organizations often fail to deliver these expectations, resulting in a poor onboarding experience and a setback to the connection they initially established with the new hire.

Only 12% of employees agree that their organization does a great job onboarding new employees, according to Gallup

Onboarding failure gets in the way of the bond formed between the new hire and the company – a connection that can make or break employee retention.

powerful onboarding process is a smart employee retention strategy that translates to the retention of talent down the road. 

Most companies think of employee onboarding to be a one-time affair focused on paperwork and admin tasks like getting employment contracts signed, forms filled, etc. but it needs to be so much more.

Your mantra should always be – ‘educate and engage all day, every day’.

With that in mind, here are some steps that can make a successful onboarding process:

  • Anything HR can do to make the new hire feel part of the team like conducting a small mixer-like event.
  • Create more opportunities for them to connect with co-workers.
  • Keep following up to make sure they have everything they need.  Otherwise, they might feel lost and without the appropriate tools or knowledge to start working.
  • Leverage Digital Adoption Platforms to initiate the perfect handshake with a personalized employee onboarding experience. Whatfix DAP provides an onboarding overlay widget to play a welcome video for new users explaining the first call-to-action based on their role. It also provides options for new users to discover an application with guided tours. 
Invest in smart employee onboarding with Whatfix.

7) Leverage technology

70% of US employees say that they would leave their current job to join an organization that invests in their professional development.

Technology creates a massive opportunity for almost every HR function.

A single platform technology can be used to manage the entire process of talent evaluation from recruitment and hiring to classification and compensation. The basic HR functions like screening CVs, on-boarding, recording employee databases can be managed by AI. And bots can take up the basic roles, making it easier for the leaders to give more time to other important activities. 

In addition to this, as people work remotely, one of the biggest challenges for managers is keeping their workforce engaged. Leveraging the right communication & collaboration tools can help overcome this challenge by giving remote employees the freedom to interact with their peers and managers conveniently.

Employee communication platforms make onboarding smoother, improve employee-manager bond, increase job satisfaction, keep employees engaged, and even reduce turnover.

Companies are adopting new and improved versions of technology to enable business continuity, especially as employees continue to work from home. 

However, a major drawback here is that many organizations had to adopt these technologies without the time needed to establish remote policies or conduct any training in advance. This is why employees have to adjust to using a lot of new technology in very little time. This could be one reason for employee frustration and anxiety which could adversely impact your overall employee engagement.

One way to overcome this challenge is to implement a digital adoption platform.

What Is a Digital Adoption Platform (DAP)?

Digital adoption platforms (or DAPS) offer guided training to help each employee learn and adopt new software applications, even as they work remotely, in their everyday flow at work.

DAPs enable learning via interactive walkthroughs that take users step-by-step through different features of the application. This guidance provides a path for employees to move through the software and keeps them from being overwhelmed, as they might be if they were clicking randomly through the app trying to learn it on their own.

8) Put Your Data to Work

Organizations have incredible amounts of employee data available. So why not use it to identify who’s most likely to leave and why? And accordingly, take steps to prevent that. 

An employee’s departure might seem obvious on the surface, but using AI and advanced analytics can help point out some factors (not as obvious as you thought) that contribute to attrition.

Leveraging AI and machine learning to identify and address employee issues before they lead to attrition and turnover is another prominent employee retention strategy.

Some questions that this data can answer for you could be – If your company has an intranet, did employee engagement with the platform drop off in the 3 months before giving notice? How long do employees usually last in particular roles? How engaged are employees with the various company platforms? 

Developing a scoring mechanism to determine employees with high employee engagement, middling engagement, and low engagement rate could perhaps give you a fair idea of who needs more attention.

Conclusion: Employee Retention Strategies are a Must During Crisis Management

The coronavirus outbreak introduced uncertainty and negative morale in employees across organizations – which has heightened concerns about talent retention across the entire workforce.

However, transformational leaders can help employees stay positive during this crisis and make their organization come back stronger than ever.

Although money plays an important role when it comes to retaining employees, it’s not the only way to make them stay. Keeping your employees happy and satisfied with their work is a much smarter strategy.

What your employees need now more than ever is a work environment where they are appreciated, listened to, and given opportunities to grow.

Just remember that your employees care more about where they work, how they work, and who they work with rather than the paycheck. Therefore, keeping your employees happy should be the primary focus of any organization. 

Also, when employees feel happy and valued by their company, they automatically become your talent ambassadors. These recruits share their work-life stories with friends, family, and social networks, which could bring in a lot of exciting talent to your organization. 

The employee retention strategies mentioned in this article will definitely appeal to a happier and productive workforce that would stay with you for a longer time and save you the extra time, effort, and money spent recruiting and training new talent.

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See how Cardinal Health learns in the flow of work with the Whatfix Digital Adoption Platform

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