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8 Employee Retention Trends to Follow Right Now

Is employee retention a primary focus as you move into 2023? As hiring starts and stops in many areas, employee retention remains the heartbeat for HR departments. So how do you hold on to the staff you have? We gathered expert advice from far and wide that might help you formulate your best employee retention plan.

Start From the Beginning

It’s been said that organizations with strong onboarding processes increase employee retention by 82%. So, if you think there’s a grace period between hiring and retention, think again. Onboarding is a critical piece of the retention puzzle. After all, 91% of new employees are willing to quit a new job in the first month if it wasn’t what they expected or they don’t like the company culture.

Wellness Matters

A recent study found that 62% of employees quit their jobs due to toxic company culture, and 49% leave for healthier work-life boundaries. Wellness programs can make a big difference in this area. “I’ve noticed that once a wellness initiative is promoted in an organization, the company culture often begins to shift,” says Victoria Franca, a Board Certified Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner and Founder of Omne Wellness. She suggests addressing stress, in particular, since it accounts for 75% of all doctor visits. The 2022 Employee Wellness Industry Trends Report by Wellable Labs shows 76% of companies are investing more in stress management and resilience resources.

So Do Retirement Benefits

A new study by benefits platform Gusto and reported by BenefitsPro found that offering a retirement plan can reduce employee turnover costs by more than $100,000 for small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). That’s roughly a 2x return on the initial costs of offering a 401(k). The study discovered that workers in SMBs are, on average, 40% less likely to leave in the first year when they are offered retirement benefits. For some jobs, this jumps as high as 54%. 

Improve Your Technology

Technology can pave the way to happiness at work. It’s true! Half of all American workers are so frustrated with their workplace tech that they have either switched jobs or are seeking work elsewhere. Instead, consider how your technology investments could help you onboard, train, foster connections, recognize and reward, gain feedback, offer professional development, and foster work/life balance. Your employee retention rates should reflect that effort. 

Don’t Neglect Onsite Workers

“In recent years, leaders have dedicated considerable resources to making remote and hybrid work as effective and engaging as possible. These essential efforts have helped employees adapt and achieve surprising performance,” Gallup experts reports. However, they point out, “the large population of workers who never left — the on-site workers — have engagement needs, too.” Be sure to balance the needs of all workers and actively engage on-site workers. Those who report feeling connected to their workplace culture are 3.7 times as likely to have been included in active employee engagement efforts.

Offer a Sense of Purpose

Great Place To Work® researchers have determined that the following three questions best predict workplace turnover:

  • Are you proud of where you work?
  • Do you find meaning in your work?
  • Do you have fun at work?

“If an employee answers ‘no’ to any of those questions, they’re probably going to leave their company,” warns Great Place To Work Content Director Roula Amire. “Why? People want to spend their time in meaningful ways. Purpose is the way you make a difference in the world. It’s why you matter.” It also makes smart business sense. Harvard Business School (HBS) researchers used Great Place To Work’s database to identify companies whose employees feel a sense of purpose at work and believe their leaders set clear direction and expectations. Companies that performed well in these areas outperformed the stock market by 6.9%.

Be Kind

Sounds simple, doesn’t it? About three out of four employees say kindness at work positively impacts their overall work performance and productivity. It’s no wonder, then, that 81% of managers also say a kind culture serves as an employee retention solution. “A simple thank you goes a long way and often costs nothing—which is incredibly budget friendly,” talent solutions technology company Nexxt explains. “The job may not be the most glamourous, but if employees are treated well, the retention rate—even at a not-so-great job, might be really high.” 

Balance Employee Retention and Recruitment

Not all recruiters will tell you this—or will even acknowledge it themselves—but talent acquisition and employee retention go hand in hand. Don’t work with a recruiting partner that doesn’t thoughtfully consider turnover. Reputable firms know that strong retention of the candidates they place keeps their clients happy, which leads to repeat business. Some, like The HT Group, will even take some form of monetary responsibility for certain positions if the new hire doesn’t stay on board. So don’t shy away from asking about employee retention even when you’re in recruiting mode. After all, hiring top talent is great, but keeping them on board is the true goal.