There’s nothing worse for a company than to spend time, money, and energy training employees to be the best, just to have them walk out on you a year or two later. Not only could all those resources have been spent on something else, but now you’ve got to repeat the entire process.
The fact is, employee retention is critical, but it’s becoming increasingly difficult. A LinkedIn study shows that millennials are almost twice as likely to job-hop compared to their predecessors. With job-hopping becoming the new norm, it is increasingly important for companies to adopt practices that will discourage talented employees from leaving.
Many people assume job hoppers are jumping ship for the sole purpose of receiving a fatter paycheck. Though this may sometimes be the case, it’s often not the entire story.
Many workers would be perfectly happy to take a pay cut if it means escaping the grasps of a terrible boss or a cultural mismatch. With this in mind, here are some ways to help retain your top-performing employees without having to resort to simply raising everyone’s salaries.
1. Offer work from home options
Offering the option to telecommute reduces employee turnover, according to a study by Stanford University. With working from home becoming more commonplace, having this option available to your employees can be a great way to make sure that they think twice before looking for another job.
Of course, working from home isn’t a possibility for some types of jobs, and it’s certainly not for everyone. However, don’t think of this as an all-or-nothing scenario. Nobody is advocating to allow all of your employees to work from home — all of the time.
Instead, offer telecommuting options to those who benefit from it the most and have proven to be reliable even when unsupervised. Just give it a try, and maybe you’ll even find an increase in employee efficiency, as suggested by this report from ConnectSolutions.
2. Engage employees in the bigger picture
Students often lack the motivation to do well in school because they don’t understand the importance of what’s being taught or why it matters. This scenario plays out the same way in the workplace.
Employees who don’t understand how their work is being used or how it helps their company succeed will eventually find their work meaningless and unrewarding.
Help your employees understand the significance of what they do. Show them how their work relates to the overall company vision. By doing that, you will help your employees find more meaning behind their work; and perhaps even enable them to work more effectively with more context. Remember, no one likes being kept in the dark.
3. Ensure everyone knows they are being treated fairly
Consider a scenario where a new employee, straight out of college, is given a large raise after working for the company for only a year. Imagine how all the other staff members will react once they find out – and yes, this type of news always gets around the office.
Sarah, who’s worked at the company for over 5 years now (and has never been given a raise despite all the hard work she’s put in) is not going to be happy about the news. It’ll seem unjust to her, and understandably so. Chances are she’ll look for a new job, or, at the very least, put less effort into her current work.
Perhaps the salary increase was well-deserved. Maybe the new employee was able to bring an entirely new source of revenue to the company which has been a game changer. However, lower-level employees aren’t always briefed on this type of information, and therein lies a typical problem that many companies face: upper-management and lower level employees will see things differently due to their various levels of involvement within the company.
Let’s be clear. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give the new employee a raise, as long as he deserves it. But it’s important to recognize that these types of decisions could be taken the wrong way by those who aren’t more well-informed. The solution? Simply inform them.
4. Promote from within
Need a new assistant sales manager? Don’t immediately put up a new job listing on Monster.com to fill the role. Instead, get into the habit of promoting from within. This will send a company-wide message that if an employee works hard day in and day out, he’ll ultimately be rewarded for his efforts.
On top of giving employees another reason to stay, promoting from within simply makes sense. Remember, you care the most about keeping your most talented and valuable staff members.
It makes strategic sense that these would also be the same people you’d want to play a bigger role in your company. What better way of accomplishing both objectives than to promote them when the opportunity to do so presents itself?
5. Show appreciation and respect
At the end of the day, simple things like telling your employees “Good job” and “Thank you” can go a long way. It’s easy as a business to forget what motivates us to go into the office every day and work hard, so it’s up to you to put yourself in the shoes of your employees.
Connect with them. Value them. And reward them when they do a stellar job. By doing so, you’ll not only retain your top talent, you’ll thrive as a company and as a cohesive team.
This article has been edited.
Peter Yang is the co-founder of a resume writing service at Resumego.net. He’s had experience as a career coach and career counselor as well as working as a human resource manager for Hewlett-Packard and IBM.