Three Simple Tips to Boost Employee Retention

Happy woman sitting at a desk

When a crop of new people joined the Talentfoot team in the middle of the pandemic, one of my first worries was employee retention.

Several new people joined the team — and most of them didn’t meet any of us in person. How could we make them feel welcome? And equally as important, how could we make sure our veteran employees continued to feel connected to our organization?

Remote work isn’t going anywhere.

Kate Lister, president of Global Workplace Analytics, told Vox she estimates that by 2025, approximately 70 percent of the workforce will work from home at least five days a month.

“More than 20 percent of the workforce could work remotely three to five days a week as effectively as they could if working from an office,” McKinsey reported.

As the workplace evolves, there’s an opportunity for organizations to rethink the relationship between employer and employees.

Employee retention becomes paramount

There’s nothing a recruiter or hiring manager likes more than a candidate unencumbered by the constraints of a physical office. These potential employees are not restricted by a lack of privacy. Learning about a new opportunity is easy when there’s no one around to listen in on the call.

This is trouble for employers who don’t want to lose their people. Twenty-one percent of CEOs surveyed by KPMG said talent-risk concerns are the biggest concern to their organizations overall.

These executives know that turnover is costly and hinders progress and growth. One study from Millennial Branding, reported companies lose between $15-25,000 for each millennial employee they lose.

People don’t feel the same connection to their employers when they’re working from home. Suddenly co-workers feel like spouses, children, and roommates. To keep people engaged, companies can prioritize employee retention with these strategies.

Inspire loyalty through educational opportunities

A recent Salesforce report shows that 57% of workers wish they had more up-to-date skills. Today, corporations are spending over $180B annually on traditional tuition assistance and internal education programs; but only 2% of employees use these programs and employers see minimal demonstrated impact. A modern approach to employer-supported education is needed to help employers retain and recruit talent, and to equip employees with the skills and credentials to advance.

This is where companies like InStride come in. Building from a foundation of more than 1,500 online degrees and certificates from a curated network of academic partners, InStride helps organizations identify the programs that will best meet employees’ needs.

This approach helps companies achieve essential objectives – from more effective recruitment and retention to skills development that creates a more adaptable and innovative workforce.  For example, Starbucks’ has the Starbucks College Achievement Plan (SCAP) in partnership with Arizona State University. Since the launch of the program in 2014, over 6,000 Starbucks employees earned bachelor’s degrees while working. Participating partners are being retained 50% longer and being promoted at nearly 3x the rate of non-participating Starbucks US partners. And 20% of people who apply for jobs at Starbucks cite SCAP as a primary reason.

“Employers are making strategic investments in their employees’ education as part of their larger business strategy,” says Monet Banihashem, Vice President of Corporate Partnerships at InStride.

“Measurable outcomes in retention, recruitment and ROI for their business are just the start. At a time when employees want to know that their companies are doing the right thing for individuals and communities, organizations can facilitate life-changing opportunities for employees and their families by investing in their educational attainment.”

For companies that are ever-more focused on making meaningful progress in diversity, equity and inclusion, workforce education can also be a critical tool. By investing in quality education programs for employees to earn skills, credentials and degrees, companies can support diversity, equity and inclusion goals while also delivering tangible benefits across their entire organization.

Business leaders agree, with 92% of participants in an InStride study recognizing that a strategic workforce education program should help an organization achieve its diversity and inclusion goals.

Initiate check-ins

Remove some of the barriers between employees by creating supervisor and subordinate check-ins. Set an intention for the meeting. The purpose is not the focus solely on business. Both parties can talk about workload and work/life balance.

It’s no secret there is a tremendous amount of stress in everyone’s lives these days.

A Kaiser Family Foundation Health Tracking Poll from July 2020 found, “about half (52%) of adults report that worry and stress related to the coronavirus outbreak have had adverse effects on their mental health and wellbeing in specific ways. About a third say coronavirus-related worry or stress has led to problems with their sleep (36%) or has led to a poor appetite or overeating (32%)”

Empathy has never been more important. Companies will do a service to themselves and their people by genuinely caring about their wellbeing.

For an employee, it’s that warm feeling that their company sees them as a human being, not just a worker bee.

Increase employee communication

One-to-one relationships are important for building human connections at work. There’s also something to be said for forming a bond between the company and the employee.

Before the pandemic, internal communication was lacking in corporate America. Research from Gallagher showed that 60 percent of companies did not have a long-term internal communications strategy.

Start small with email messages. Use these are an opportunity to share good news and recognize employee achievements. Set them to a regular cadence. Introduce people to the larger community of their organization.

When you’re ready to prioritize employee retention, start with one of these strategies. Figure out what jives best with your company culture. People are an organization’s best asset. A plan around retention is key to driving growth and keeping people happily employed.

Tip: are you looking for new talent? Use an interview scorecard to ensure you’re hiring the best of the best.