Australian workers, on average, go through five to seven career changes in their lifetime and there have been recent shifts towards a more flexible employment market, with more temporary staff, contractors and parents seeking flexible arrangements. While some job separations have been influenced by economic uncertainties and redundancies, a significant proportion is driven by voluntary reasons.

This recent increase in job mobility, particularly among younger age groups, has resulted in negative financial impacts for many companies due to the costs associated with recruitment and training. However, there are a number of employee retention strategies which can help organisations increase job tenure and reduce turnover.

Strategies to Increase Employee Retention

1. Focus on Company Values and Brand Reputation

The new generation of workers want to feel proud of the company that they’re working for and feel as though they are part of the solution to societal problems instead of part of the problem.

Being a business that’s known for its involvement and support of charities and the local community can help to retain employees who are passionate about helping others and making an impact. This could also be extended to focus on specific issues such as education, equality or the environment.

Employees care about who they’re working for, but also who they’re working with. Encouraging a welcoming work environment and team-building activities will reflect positively on employees, emphasising the company’s commitment to the employee experience.

2. Optimise Your Hiring Process

Another employee retention strategy is to get it right from the beginning - avoid hiring workers who have a history of quitting jobs or those who are quite obviously a poor fit for a company. According to Glassdoor’s survey, 37% of hiring decision makers believe there would be a significant increase in retention rates if new hires were better informed during the hiring process.

The onboarding process also has the potential to make or break their experience. A new employee who goes through a bad onboarding experience will begin their new job with a negative foundation. It’s therefore crucial to be upfront and honest about what is expected of them, rather than trying to cover up or downplay certain job aspects to encourage them to accept the job offer. Transparency is always the best policy in regards to new employees.

3. Encourage Work-Life Balance

Businesses often expect a lot from their employees but if those expectations are too high, workers may find themselves with less time to devote to their family, friends and leisure activities. Team members who are well-rested and have enough time to devote to other aspects of life often perform better when they are actually at work.

Establishing regular hours, work from home programs or weekend work policies can provide team members with a greater amount of flexibility, allowing them to work at their best without compromising their personal lives, which will make them much more likely to stay with a company in the long term.

Businesses should evaluate whether their work schedule and arrangements are promoting a healthy work-life balance and take steps to address the problem if it is not.

4. Enhance Employee Engagement

Employees who don’t find their work engaging tend to be searching for new jobs, which would be a key concern for employers. To prevent this, employers need to find effective ways to motivate and encourage employees who are disengaged to ensure they care about their work and choose to stay around.

Engaged employees are often motivated to learn, so it’d be a worthwhile investment to offer learning and development opportunities which allow them to expand their knowledge. This could include training programs focused on developing broader skill sets or mentorship programs.

Providing opportunities for success is also crucial, where employees are able to see the results of their work. Taking this one step further, they should be made aware of job advancement opportunities to avoid feeling as though there’s no further room for growth with the company. 

5. Offer Perks and Wellbeing Programs

Perks can help a business to stand out and increase employee morale, whether those perks come in the form of free coffee and snacks, company discounts or paid days off for volunteering. A number of businesses even negotiate for group discounts on larger purchases such as the likes of cars, home security systems, and smartphones.

In addition to company perks, employee wellbeing needs to be a priority for companies. Putting a program in place which provides emotional and mental health support to employees will help prepare them to overcome challenges and navigate through tougher times. This is particularly important with the recent shift to remote and hybrid work environments where employees may feel more disconnected from their team.

6. Provide Balanced Challenges to Employees

Repetitive tasks can cause employees to become bored and apathetic, but challenging employees with projects that are overly difficult can cause ambivalence and leave them feeling demoralised.

Leaders need to show they believe in the potential of their employees and encourage them to step outside of their comfort zone. This can be achieved by helping employees to see failure as an opportunity to learn, encouraging a growth mindset, and rewarding effort as well as talent.

Why Are Employee Retention Strategies Crucial Now?

The need for companies to adopt employee retention strategies has become even more prevalent due to the rise in job mobility over the past few years. There’s no doubt that businesses will benefit financially if employee turnover is reduced, but the core of these retention strategies should really focus on the needs and priorities of employees to ensure they feel valued and supported. Companies that are able to demonstrate this level of care and support will be attractive workplaces to both their current and future employees.

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