Employee Retention Strategies for Keeping The Best Talent

Recruiting strategie

Recruiting and retaining employees isn't easy, especially since the dawn of the Great Resignation. Talented and experienced employees know that they have choices, and they aren't content to settle for positions that aren't worth their while. More than ever, it's important to be organised and intentional about your recruitment and retention strategies.

Whether your HR department is large or small, you can use these strategies to find high-quality, long-lasting employees for your business:

"Sell" Your Business in the Job Description

It's not enough for potential employees to see their job duties and responsibilities listed as bullet points on a listing. A cold, impersonal job listing won't attract warm, responsible employees to your business. Your open job listings should strongly emphasize how your business serves a need or function in the larger community - whether you're serving a local region or a global sector.

Some individuals are strongly mission-based with regard to their work ethic. They don't just view a job as a pay cheque. These employees want to know that their efforts are contributing to something that benefits society. In fact, they'll skip right over your job listing if it doesn't put that role in a broader context.

Don't Inadvertently Filter Out the "Right" Employees

It's not that your bar is set too high - you want quality employees, after all. But sometimes it's your filter that might be on the wrong settings.

A tweak here or there could have a substantive effect on recruiting and retaining employees. For example, the subset of job hunters who are career changers might not fit neatly into certain boxes. A career changer might have earned a formal degree in one discipline before taking a non-degree course in another discipline. This career changer might be entirely up-to-date on the requisite skills for your open position, but they might not meet your rigid degree requirements. Career changers are often highly motivated, and they're one subset of job hunters that it's easy to overlook.

Consider Flexibility in a Realistic and Productive Way

Working parents and other caregivers are often looking for flexibility in their professional lives. Women, especially, often feel pulled between the demands of family life and working life. Unfortunately, some women left the workforce entirely during the pandemic due to the untenability of attending to employer and family demands. Some employers could likely have retained these employees with consideration for flexible arrangements. Some aspects of flexibility to consider might include:

Changing a full-time role to multiple part-time roles

You can broaden your base of potential talent by modifying the hours for some of your open positions. Part-time employees can bring a broader perspective to your business, and they might choose to increase their time commitment to your business as time goes by. 

Considering the travel requirements for your open positions

Many workers took stock of their professional lives during the pandemic and realized that jetting from place to place can be an exhausting, unsustainable lifestyle. Although some individuals are naturally drawn to a semi-nomadic lifestyle of ongoing travel, for many, it can be a true wear on their well-being. We've learned that face-to-face isn't always essential - a great deal can be accomplished with a video chat or phone call. You'll bring more potential employees to your open positions if you reduce the travel demands for a role.

celebrating-achievementsGroup of employees celebrating in a modern office - strategies for recruiting and retaining employees.
Expanding Internships to Include Adult Apprenticeship Roles

Earlier, we discussed the untapped talent pool of career changers. These individuals are often looking for an opening or gateway into an industry. However, due to a lack of experience, they become shut out from entering that business. Although many businesses often hire interns - students working to enter a field - motivated adults are often left out of the equation. The next time you create a temporary internship, consider allowing for adult apprenticeship roles. These temporary positions can broaden your base of talent with an influx of motivated individuals.

Useful Read: What is Talent Management in HR? An in Depth Look

Consider a Menu of "Perks" Rather Than Specific Perks

Different people value different things. You might think you're offering a fabulous perk with a lunch plan for all employees, but it might be that some employees would rather bring their own home-cooked meals to the workplace. These employees might prefer a gift card to the grocery for the same amount of money. Or, you might think that you're doing everyone a service by offering a broad base of paid holidays off work. But some of your employees might celebrate different holidays, and they might prefer to choose their own holidays off work. If you establish a few "floating days" for holidays, then you'll take the preferences of a diverse population into account.

Celebrate Work-Related Milestones with Tangible Appreciation

Once you've hired your great employees, it's important to regularly recognize their achievements. It doesn't mean that you need to post their "workiversaries" to social media, but it does mean that you should take the time to acknowledge their contributions on a regular basis. It's a human need to feel valued and appreciated, and HR can go a long way toward making that happen. Again, consider flexibility here with how you celebrate your employees' achievements. Not everyone wants a great big dessert for reaching a milestone. Some might appreciate a few "surprise" hours off, and all would appreciate a little bonus in their pay cheque for a job well done.

Attack Bad Behaviour in the Workplace

Nothing makes great employees want to leave more than gossip, petty behaviour, and worse - harassment. It's your responsibility to prevent and address any bad behaviour in the workplace. You should have plans in place for how to manage these issues on an ongoing basis. You can greatly increase morale at your business if everyone knows that they are safe and welcome. In addition to hosting training and ongoing open discussions, consider posting visuals in visible locations with reminders about professional etiquette and responsibilities.

Provide Compensated Time for Professional Development

Employees want to feel as though they're growing in their skills -  otherwise, they're not likely to stick around for long. Consider hosting professional skill development for all levels of employees in your business. These skill sessions should be compensated and provided during typical working hours. This way, the employee doesn't feel burdened with extra tasks. You might even broaden these professional development sessions to employees who wouldn't typically receive them, such as maintenance staff or part-time workers. These workers will reciprocate their loyalties, and you might find yourself promoting them to other capacities or even departments in the months or years to come.

Address Workers' Physical Needs

With an eye to recruiting and retaining employees, it's important to consider the whole person. For jobs that might require extensive timeframes of sedentary behaviour, consider how you can incorporate incentives for physical activity throughout the day, such as regular stretches or walking. For jobs that are very physical in nature, with a lot of movement, consider how you can prevent overuse injuries and also provide time for rest breaks. Humans weren't built to do just one thing at all times. You can help your employees to thrive by taking this into account. In your job listings, you can also address how your business will address these needs of the individual.

Pair Wages to the Location

The cost of living isn't the same everywhere. If your business is located in a large city centre, it's likely that the housing and food prices are only increasing. Another strategy to consider when recruiting and retaining employees is to see how you can adjust wages to fit the expenses that your employees are facing. If you find that your business can't meet the financial toll through an increase in employee expenditure, consider how you might allow for more remote work so that employees don't feel forced to live in expensive areas. Hybrid working scenarios might also prove useful in these circumstances. 

Useful Read: What is a Hybrid Working Model? A Guide for HR Leaders

Allow Employees Some Control Over Their Time

Micromanaging employees is a sure route to losing employees. People work in different ways, and allowing employees some ability to structure their time can go a long way to improve morale and employee retention. You can use different strategies to help people gain control over their time, depending on the particular role. Some employees might appreciate an "independent choice" block - perhaps a few hours each week - to work on self-directed projects.

Useful read: The Ultimate Guide to Time Blocking: Unlocking Efficiency and Work-Life Balance

For job roles that are less cognitive in nature, employees might appreciate the ability to structure their time by choosing the start and/or end times of their shifts. They can also choose the times of day when their breaks will take place. This can maximize their feelings of health and well-being.

Autonomy support has a positive impact on the psychological well-being of workers and with good reason. Nobody wants to feel "locked in" or "trapped" by their work responsibilities. Allowing choice in the matter goes a long way toward increasing satisfaction.

Recruiting and retaining employees requires time and effort, and it's currently a priority for many HR teams around the globe. Shiftbase can free up your team from the nitty-gritty of scheduling, planning, and time management - allowing you to prioritize your efforts in ways that prioritize business growth.

Employee Management