What Drives Employee Retention? Understanding the Basics

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It’s no secret that employee retention is challenging for businesses of all sizes. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average worker has a job tenure of 4.1 years. That means that every four years, half of the workforce gets replaced. And while many factors contribute to employee turnover, some of the most common are preventable by implementing the right retention strategies.

So, if you’re looking to keep your best employees around, it’s essential to understand what drives their decision to stay or go. Here are some of the most common factors:

Learning Opportunity

A 2022 workplace survey revealed that 94 percent of the respondents said they would stay longer if their employer invested in assisting them learn. That’s because people want to feel like they’re constantly learning and growing in their role.

Fortunately, there are many ways to provide opportunities for growth, such as offering tuition reimbursement, online courses, mentorship programs, and in-house training. These initiatives help your employees improve their skillset and show that you value their development.

But what if employees take this opportunity and leave for a better position? While possible, it’s not as likely if you have the right policies. For instance, you can require employees to sign an agreement that they will repay the cost of their education if they leave within a specific time frame. This way, you can feel confident that your investment in them will pay off.

Besides, your company will be more attractive to top talent when you provide opportunities for growth and development. So even if a few employees leave, you’ll have an easier time replacing them with high-quality candidates.

Career Progression

Hierarchy is an integral part of many organizations. It sets the stage for promotions and raises and gives employees a sense of their long-term career prospects.

However, today’s workforce is different from a decade ago. Many millennials prioritize professional development and growth over money. A study by Deloitte showed that 44 percent of millennials would leave their current job if they didn’t offer development opportunities.

You can keep employees motivated and engaged by having a clear career progression path. This way, they know what they need to do to advance and feel like they’re constantly moving forward in their career.

Additionally, you should provide feedback regularly and allow employees to give input on their roles and responsibilities. In doing so, they feel they’re part of the team and are more likely to stick around.

employees having fun in the workplace

Company Culture

The workplace environment has a significant impact on employee retention. A study by the Society for Human Resource Management found that company culture is the second most crucial factor in employee retention, following compensation.

So, what is company culture? The shared values, beliefs, and behaviors make up your organization. And it starts with you, the employer. You set the tone for how your employees interact with each other and how they do their work.

It would help if you were intentional about creating a positive company culture. Define your company’s values and ensure everyone is on the same page. Host company-wide events that promote team building and communication. And most importantly, it’s best to provide continuous company culture development. Since there’s no perfect formula for ideal company culture, it’s essential to keep evolving it based on feedback from your employees.

Working with a human resources consultant can be helpful to get started. This way, you can create a positive environment that your employees will want to be a part of.

Perks and Benefits

While perks and benefits aren’t always the primary motivator for employees, they are still crucial in employee retention. An employee’s overall compensation package is one of the most significant factors in whether they stay or leave a company.

But what are some essential benefits and perks you should offer? First and foremost, health insurance is non-negotiable. In the U.S., the Affordable Care Act dictates that companies with 50 or more full-time employees to provide health insurance.

Other popular benefits include 401(k) plans, flexible work arrangements, and paid time off. You can also offer unique perks like free food or gym memberships. The key is to find what works best for your company and employees.

Either way, being competitive with your benefits and perks is essential. Employees are more likely to stick around when they feel they’re being taken care of.

Many businesses make the mistake of thinking that employee retention is about offering higher salaries. But as the above data shows, many other essential factors are important. By understanding what drives your employees to stay, you can create a more holistic retention strategy to keep your best talent around for the long haul. With the right mix of initiatives, you can create a work environment that employees are excited to be a part of daily.

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