Keeping key employees happy and working seems like it should be simple, right? Pay them fair wages and give them some perks and they’ll be happy and stay. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. Good employees leave good jobs for a slew of different reasons. The job market is hot right now (there are more jobs that need filled than people to fill them!) which breeds competition and employees now find themselves with offers from companies that they didn’t even apply to work at.

How can you keep your employees happy, working, and working for you? How can you increase your employee retention, and why does that matter? 

Here are some simple ways to retain your best employees while creating an environment that makes your employees feel valued and invested (which is a win-win if you ask us!)

Ask employees what they want.

You can simply ask them what it would take for them to stay. While wages are often cited, some of the best employees are fairly compensated but would still leave their company for another job. Why this is could depend on a variety of different factors, but if you really want to know don’t hesitate to ask. 

Asking your employees for feedback also works in your favor in another way. Making employees feel heard and validated can go a long way in keeping them and keeping them happy. Town halls, group meetings, “employee satisfaction” committees, and one-on-one touch bases can give employees an empowered feeling. This feeling can also create a workforce that takes their role seriously and feels that they can make an impact on the business and their customers. Creating a way that employees feel tied to customer satisfaction and the bigger picture keeps employees even more engaged. When in doubt, just ask.

This also works in creating a career path for employees. From day one, a career path within the company should be discussed. Ask the employee where they’d want to go in the company and how long they want to take to get there and develop a career path for them. While this career path could change, this gives the employee a clear road map to how to advance within your organization. Different people may have different answers (about 46% of people surveyed wanted to have career advancement) but having a road map makes the future clearer for employer and employee.

Asking employees where they want to go next can also show them that a business is transparent. Maybe one department gets flexible shift time but the current department that the employee is working in does not allow for flexibility. A manager or business owner being transparent with that employee can help ensure them even though they are not eligible that their supervisor will keep them in mind when a position opens up in that department. This example shows that the business is truly invested in the future of the employee and together allows the employer and employee to work to form a career plan.

Again, showing you support and value the employee goes a long way in employee retention. 

Education is key.

The first few weeks a new employee works at your business can make or break their attitude toward the support and how well the company prepares new employees for their job. If you don’t have a solid onboarding process, consider auditing it and revamping it so it’s comprehensive and will leave the new employee confident they can accomplish their job. 

Some jobs require long-term skill development and that’s ok! Just make sure you are clear in that in the interview and during the on-boarding process. This way, your new hire knows they’ll learn the foundational skills required to do the job early on but will work on crafting their skill set over the long-term. If your company has roles like this, make sure you schedule touch bases and reviews during their learning period. The communication line stays open and the employee feels supported which works to retain employees.

Looking at your long-term education for employees and revamping this process can also help you keep your best employees. The support they receive during on-boarding shouldn’t stop after those first few weeks – it should continue the entire time the employee is working at your business. A recent national survey commissioned by the Alliance for American Manufacturing found that 78% of respondents felt it is very important to “offer more job training and education programs for workers.” While businesses tend to focus on hard skills required to perform a job, more businesses need to focus on teaching soft skills to their employees as well. According to the LinkedIn Learning Report from 2018, we should be investing in teaching skills like leadership, communication, and collaboration. Consider what training and education you can provide around both hard and soft skills and see a reduction in your employee turnover. 

Recognize the hard workers.

A program that rewards those that give their best each and every day can also increase your employee retention. The rewards program shouldn’t solely focus on the highest performers the program should focus on those who are actively trying to work hard and make the business as a whole better.

There are great ways to recognize employees who are working hard to make a difference. A rewards program around innovative suggestions can make employees feel valued while helping to make processes easier and quicker overall. A type of program like this rewards innovation and creativity and helps employees truly think outside the box. A rewards program on safety is also a great program to implement. Safety is important (to both employees and employers) so a recognition program around safety can be a homerun. 

Whether you create a system that rewards safety, innovation, creativity, or more is up to you – but studies show that employees that feel valued and recognized for the work they do are happier. And happier employees make your business even better. 

Why does employee retention matter?

The labor market is extremely competitive now, which means good employees can leave your company and go to another pretty seamlessly. A focus on employee retention, or the ability for an organization to keep employees, is a hot issue for those in the manufacturing world. While manufacturers anticipate growing, the shortage of skilled and qualified workers makes some businesses play dirty. 

Employee turnover resulting in vacant jobs can be very expensive (and leaving a job vacant too long can be very costly) and also hurt employee morale. Working on reducing your turnover rate and increasing your employee retention rate is a great way to minimize the cost of this.

Further, focusing on employee retention keeps your employees happier and works to increase the company morale. A higher morale keeps employees engaged and invested. Employees that are engaged and invested work to make the company better. This also improves your company culture and that can translate into lower turnover company wide as well as a way to use a rockstar company culture as a great recruiting tool. All of these work together to create an environment that keeps great employees working for you.

Increase retention (and reduce turnover) by creating happier employees.

GTR understands that employee retention has roots in finding the right talent in the first place. If you are looking for a reputable agency to work as an extension of your hiring efforts, look no further. Contact GTR today to learn how we can help find qualified talent to keep your business running and your employees working.