12 HR Experts Share Their #1 Employee Retention Tips
At HealthJoy, we strive to attract and retain the best employees we can find. Employee retention is such a huge part of building a great company. For us, it starts with a mission that employees can stand behind—we are working to help every American make smarter healthcare decisions. We use advanced technologies like artificial intelligence that power our virtual assistant JOY, neuro-linguistic programming, data mining, and more. Working on the cutting edge of HealthTech allows us to recruit great minds that want to be challenged and make a difference. Our team works every day to create a product that redefines employee benefits for companies and their employees, saving them both time and money.
Recently, we’ve talked to HR representatives of a number of exemplary companies to listen to their perspectives on the best way to attract and retain great people.
“Several years ago, Spreadshirt adopted ‘Feel Good Management’ as a way to make sure employees stay happy and want to come to work in an environment where they are free from distractions, feel challenged, and solve things that matter to them. This also provides us with an unexpected competitive edge against other global giants, such as Google and Amazon, when it comes to recruiting and retaining top tech talent. By paying close attention to our employees, Spreadshirt keeps our employee satisfaction ratings high, and we consistently recruit new employees through referrals.
At Spreadshirt, we embraced Feel Good Management six years ago and have infused this approach into our global workplace and deliberately shaped our corporate culture. Talented workers like to be productive, use creativity, and feel welcome in the enterprise, and they expect a work-life balance. We deliver all of this from any location in our business and constantly communicate with existing and former employees about our needs and listen to their input. We have the ability to compete for top talent with big players like Google or Amazon.
Examples of Feel Good Management in action:
We pride ourselves on being an international team—our employees currently come from fifteen different countries. For foreign employees, Spreadshirt assists with finding apartments, getting proper documents to work, etc. The workers appreciate it, remain loyal, and work more effectively because they are happy.
For staffers that have young children at home, I help find the right daycare, kindergarten, or after-school program, or the flex-work schedule that works best for them. Be sure to look at each employee as an individual and ASK them what they need to be happier and work better. Remove distractions and work-life friction, and the workforce will respond positively. As millennials shape the workforce, traditional items like bonuses and other perks don’t matter as much as fitting in with the culture and sharing a common vision. Your company must focus on their unique culture and deliberately shape it to stay relevant to top talent.”
“The best thing an employer can do to increase employee retention is to create an environment that not only makes employees want to stay but also attracts high-caliber talent. This strategy has multiple components. What a true HR business partner and leader does is work with the organization to identify what the organization can offer to create this environment for employees. Some of our strategies include:
Effective branding of the organization. Letting the community know why it’s great to work at the Oklahoman Media Company and BigWing. At the Oklahoman Media Company, our mission is to make Oklahoma a better place to work, live, and raise a family. Our employees believe in our mission and are proud to be part of it.
Offering learning and development opportunities for employees. This not only allows them to grow in their own roles but also allows them to develop new skills and expand the ones they already have.
- An environment where strategy, innovation, communication, and collaboration is encouraged.
- Competitive benefits and compensation plans.
- And a leadership culture where all employees are encouraged to be leaders and share their ideas.”
Executive VP of Strategic Organizational Development
Delhaize Group (Retired) – Over 375,000 Employees
“Culture matters, culture that grows the talent of every person and allows initiative and is clear about company purpose and values. Compensation has to be slightly above the market, but only slightly. Managers and supervisors need to be well trained on how to work through others and be held accountable for fairness in their team. Top leadership alone won’t keep people at work. It is the person the employee works for that sets the daily tone of the work.
Recognition of work well done and quick and clear feedback on what doesn’t work is a magic combination for retention. And two quirky things that aid retention: 1) Handwritten notes of thanks for extra effort, and 2) Saying a ‘good morning’ and ‘good night’ to each direct report whenever possible. People want to be ‘seen’ by their boss.”
Open Listings – Under 50 Employees
“I believe that company culture is number one in employee retention. Salaries are important, but if employees don’t feel appreciated, empowered, and at home, they aren’t going to stay. So we strive to create an environment where people feel heard, where they feel truly appreciated, and where they feel at ease. Creating time and space for play, socialization, and creative and energetic outlet all add to an office environment that employees feel good being in, day after day. Creating a space that is physically comfortable to work in matters too. Lighting, sound, cozy spaces, open spaces, and natural light all add to an environment that brings joy to your team.
Knowing what your company vibe is, and being sure that it is clearly represented as you move through the hiring process, will help with retention too. Let your interviewees really see your company’s energy, what you’re about. Hiring people who are in line with your vibe helps keep everyone happy and working together.”
“The trick to retaining great talent is to build a culture and business that people are really excited to work at. You have to create an environment where everybody feels welcomed and appreciated and is happy with their position and career development.
Culture is an important concept because it makes or breaks the success of an organization. It can make a company great to work for, or it can make it a chore to show up for work. Culture is hard to put your finger on, but if all the people who work at a company seem to have something in common, function as one unit, and seem to all be on the same team, then they probably have a strong culture.
You can try to gloss over a crappy work environment with higher pay and perks, but ultimately, people leave their jobs because their manager is bad or because the company has a crappy culture that sucks the life out of them. But it’s hard to fake—you have to have an authentic, genuinely awesome place to work, or your best employees will go somewhere else that does.” Employee Retention = culture
Chief of Staff
Cache Ventures – Under 50 Employees
“An individual factor alone can’t increase employee retention. Instead, employers should focus on creating an overall sense of appreciation throughout every aspect of their organization. At Cache Ventures, we maintain our high employee retention rate through a combination of our transparent culture, unique incentives, and flexible vacation policy. In addition to a $500 monthly stipend and daily communal lunches, our employees receive the freedom to alter their hours, work from home, and take time off whenever needed. To maintain our close-knit relationships, we engage in monthly company gatherings as well as an out-of-state company retreat each year. In return for ensuring our employees’ comfort, they undoubtedly go above and beyond their expected duties to further prosper the success of our company.”
Previously: People Experience Manager at AppNexus & Head of People at Mic
“The most important tip for retention is to focus on employee engagement. I recommend that leaders focus on cultivating a company culture that encourages transparency, learning and teaching, and rewards/recognition. Employees stay engaged when they know the impact of their work, feel challenged by the work, can learn from the people they work with, have a clear idea of how they can grow at a company and are recognized when they do great work.”
Labor Relations Institute – Under 50 Employees
“Employee retention is at the top of the list of issues keeping HR people up at night. And as the job market tightens and will continue to tighten over the next decade, this problem is going to get worse.
My number-one retention tip: Be approachable. Leaders rated as approachable have 71% lower turnover intention than leaders who don’t. If your teammates feel safe and comfortable coming to you, they will run through brick walls for you (approachable leaders also see nearly 90% improvements in work performance and citizenship behavior from their teammates). But they will also let you know when things aren’t going great, and give you opportunities to engage them, develop them, and keep them.”
Director of Operations
MyCorporation – Over 50 Employees
“Create a positive atmosphere in the workplace. This environment should provide security, both financially and within the job role itself. Greet your employees by name each morning, encourage them to ask questions and engage with others, and offer perks like Bagel Fridays to build morale.
Provide flexible scheduling options. Accommodate the schedules of your team members, and watch how much they feel appreciated and motivated to work hard.
Offer opportunities for advancement. Let your team know that there are opportunities for growth within the company, and give them work that challenges and engages. Recognize their accomplishments and promote from within by allowing them to transfer to another department based on their skill sets.”
“As an ESOP and 100% employee-focused brand, culture plays a huge role in HB’s employee retention. Their belief is that engaged employees create raving fans, and the result is a financial success for the team and the individual. This belief is reinforced by the company’s core values of People, Trust, Team Spirit, Growth, Grit, and Excellence.
However, simply defining the company as having employee-centric culture/values alone doesn’t guarantee retention. Companies can also put in place strategies to support their culture, such as:
- Open-book management: Ensure all employees know the numbers the company wants to reach and are fully aware of financial goals and realities. This helps them feel and think less like employees and more like owners.
- Training: Offer robust technical, skill-building, leadership, and even lifestyle training courses both on- and offline. Motivate/engage employees, and help enhance their lives both in and out of work.
- Technology: Continually invest in technology that streamlines processes and improves productivity and quality.
- Incentives: Offer incentives for referring quality employees to the company, or turn supervisor tasks into fun and engaging ‘competitions’ to help keep employees engaged.”
“Peter Drucker is known for saying, ‘Culture eats strategy for breakfast,’ which definitely rings true when it comes to employee retention. I have worked for companies who may not have the most perks, highest pay, or best incentives, but employees stay—for years. Why? Because these companies focused on culture.
Similarly, I have worked for organizations who pay competitively, offer robust benefits, and ongoing perks and yet, employees leave often. Why? Because the organizations did not focus on culture.
Employees spend more time at work than anywhere else. We want to earn a living, and we want to enjoy doing it. Perks and benefits can help get an employee in the door in a competitive job market, but culture is what keeps an employee around.
To develop a strong culture, leaders need to become skilled at telling stories about employees who exemplify the culture. Storytelling should be part of every meeting—both formal and informal. ‘Did you hear what Jane did to get the product to the client? She’s amazing!’ Leaders also need to reward those employees and recognize them both publicly and privately. Lastly, leaders need to set the precedent for the culture from the moment they meet a potential employee. Interviewing goes both ways—a job candidate is interviewing your organization as much as you are interviewing them. Talk about your culture. Share what it is really like to work for your organization. Culture should be the focus. Everything else will fall into place.”
“FairyGodBoss is a career community where women share their work experiences and inside scoop on the culture, politics, and benefits of their employers. We’ve been able to gain insight on areas that employers should focus on to retain top talent—especially among women.
We’ve asked over 10,000 women, ‘What is one thing your employer can do to make it more likely you will stay?’ The top 3 answers are:
1. Increase my compensation (24%)
2. Promote more women into leadership (22%)
3. Improve my work-life balance (17%)
Based on this data, our biggest tip would be to focus on fair & transparent pay practices, the succession planning and promotion practices in place, and also improving work-life balance.”
Hopefully, all these great tips will help you increase your employee retention. Want one more way to increase employee retention? How about offering HealthJoy within your employee benefits package? It will make life in HR easier and make benefits a breeze for your employees. Sign-up for a DEMO below or talk to your benefits advisor.