In 2022, is there any such thing as a job for life? Not really. According to recent data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, less than 50% of employees had been in their current job for 5 years or more in 2020/2021. People move on . . . even when their employers don’t necessarily want them too. And attrition is an expensive business, especially for senior positions. A 2019 study found that it cost ANZ employers over $34,000 to hire a new executive, almost $18,000 to hire a mid-level manager and verging on $10,000 for an entry-level position. But it’s all very well pulling out all the stops to recruit and hire new people; it’s just as important to invest in retaining them.

Here’s a raft of employee retention strategies that will work for your business.

Cultural Fit is Key

A winning retention strategy starts before people have even set foot in your organisation. You want to attract and hire people who are a good cultural fit. Think about the messages your website and social media are sending out to the world. Do they accurately reflect your mission and values? At the selection stage, focus on soft skills like an individual’s communication skills and willingness to learn. You may be able to train the new joiner in more technical aspects of the role.

Describe the Role

It’s worth spending time on the job description for your vacant position, ensuring it matches the role you are recruiting for. This enables job seekers to self-select for the position, hopefully saving you from time-wasters or a newish hire who ups and leaves when the reality of the role hits them.

Onboard Your New Hires

Often work can be so busy that it’s easy to overlook a crucial step: onboarding. Every new hire can benefit from a thorough introduction to their new organisation. Who are the key people? What is the company’s mission, values and goals? What technology do you use and how does it work? These are all elements that can be factored into a structured onboarding program that will inform and empower new hires and facilitate their integration.

Consider a Buddy/Mentoring Program

A buddy or mentor can provide excellent ongoing support to new hires. They can answer questions, provide advice, promote company culture and help shape an individual’s career path. Want to know more? Here’s a link to a post we wrote about being an effective mentor in the workplace.

Commit to Health & Wellbeing

By setting clear boundaries from the outset, you can underline your commitment to employee health and wellbeing. You might want to tell new hires that you expect them to leave at the official end of their working day, and that it’s OK not to read their emails at the weekend or on their days off. You could also consider encouraging your team members to have a decent lunchbreak a few days a week. Or you may want to subsidise access to an Employee Assistance Program.

Provide Regular Feedback

Sometimes employees might need a little guidance and encouragement to set out on – and stay on – the right track. By providing regular feedback, especially one-on-one, managers can ensure that any issues are discussed and dealt with early on. At the same time, seek feedback from your team members. You are providing them with a valuable opportunity to voice their opinions, relay their concerns and share their ideas.

Offer Training and New Challenges

Think about ways that you can harness and develop individual skills and experience. You might have an employee who is looking to hone their technical skills. Maybe you could pair them with a more experienced team member on the job or look at an external training course. Or perhaps you have a team member who is hungry to project manage. If so, consider whether they could run an aspect of an upcoming operation. If you have people who are keen to grow, discuss ways that you can help them do just that.

Encourage Teamwork

Teamwork done right is a win-win. Collaboration between individuals helps build connections and group cohesion. Team discussions can lead to a storm of new ideas that draw on individual unique knowledge, skills and experience. And effective teamwork can, of course, result in successful outcomes for your organisation.

Recognise Achievements and Contributions

If an employee has successfully led a project to completion or made a valuable contribution to your organisation’s sustainability initiative, acknowledge their achievements! Congratulate them in a one-on-one or team meeting, make a whole office announcement . . . People like to be recognised for a job well done, and your acknowledgement may motivate them to do even more.

Look at the Salary Package

Financial reward is highly regarded by many employees, so it is important to look at what you are offering. What is the base salary? Do you offer a performance-related bonus? And what other benefits are included, e.g. health cover, a car? By regularly evaluating your organisation’s salary package, you are ensuring that it remains competitive for your industry sector.

Offer Perks Employees Want

What extras do your people want and need? Perhaps they are keen to keep fit or maybe they are looking to enhance their work-life balance. There’s a whole range of perks you might want to explore, including gym membership, work-from-home arrangements and flexible working hours.

Conduct Exit Interviews

You might not want your valued employees to leave, but if they have moved on, try to find out why. An exit interview, especially with a third party, provides an ex-employee with an opportunity to open up about their reasons. And provides you with the opportunity to explore – and resolve – any issues they have raised.

Your people are your most important asset. By investing in their recruitment, facilitating their integration into the organisation and showing an ongoing commitment to their development and wellbeing, you are sending them a clear signal that you value them and want them to stay for the long run.

If you are looking for an employee who will be an asset to your business, contact the team at Optimal Recruitment on info@optimalrecruitment.com.au or 02 8416 4181.