Increasing Employee Retention

— Dec 6, 2018 —

You’ve likely experienced the pain of a great employee leaving your company. Whether they left because of a higher-paying opportunity elsewhere, a change in their home life that made full-time work or the commute inconvenient, or because they were actually unhappy, the outcome was the same — you had to find someone new.

According to the Wall Street Journal, “it costs upwards of twice an employee’s salary to find and train a replacement.” Also, losing an employee has a negative effect on the morale of their peers. Other employees at the company will wonder why the employee left, and whether they should start updating their resumes.

Retention rates vary widely across industries, with government employers generally retaining over 98.5% of their employees, and supermarkets having an annual turnover of roughly 100%. Among more standard office-based positions, however, DailyPay, Inc. recommends aiming for an employee retention rate of at least 90%, with those quitting being low performers.

Among office workers, Executive Assistants have a high turnover rate and from our experience, the attrition usually occurs within the first 60 days of employment. In order to mitigate the loss of productivity, morale, and resources caused by high turnover, it is important to put in extra effort where you can to retain your assistants.

Below, we lay out important employee retention strategies to consider.

1. Hire the Right People

The first step to decreasing employee turnover is hiring the right person for the job. And in addition to being right for the job, make sure that the candidate is right for your company. The Wall Street Journal suggests that you “interview and vet candidates carefully, not just to ensure they have the right skills but also that they fit well with the company culture, managers, and coworkers.”

Interview Techniques that Identify the Right Hire:

•Structured interviews where the interviewer asks a predetermined set of open ended questions that are job-specific, behavioral and situational.
•Behavioral assessments that measure ability to learn, personality, motivation and interests
•Skill assessment to measure technical skills and case studies that simulate an actual task related to the role to determine communication style, problem solving and performance capabilities.
•Dynamic and thorough job descriptions that detail the scope of responsibilities of the role and required experience and qualifications.

As we cover in other blog posts and will cover in more detail in future blog posts, finding the absolute best person for a job is no easy task. That’s why we exist, after all! But, easy or not, making sure you find someone who has the right background, skills, lifestyle, and personality for your company will not just ensure that they do the job well — it will help keep them there.

2.Offer Flexibility

More and more, people are looking for ways to find work-life balance. Keeping the necessities of the job in mind, consider whether you could allow any of the following:
•Telecommuting (working from home/remotely on Fridays for instance)
•Flex time
•Part-time employment, or job sharing.

This is particularly important when it comes to new parents, as they often struggle to find balance while continuing to work full time. It may be worth considering offering alternative work arrangements in order to retain this talent. If you cannot do this, consider investing in on-site daycare or providing additional childcare benefits.

3. Respect Their Career Path

From offering training to making sure communication is open regarding career paths within the company, it is absolutely essential to remember that your employee is a living, breathing, and growing individual.

While some employees may be perfectly content to do the same thing every day for the next 40 years, this is not the case for most high-performing employees. If you want to increase your employee retention rate, you need to be willing to consider the careers of your employees.

Providing ongoing training is helpful both to you and the employee, as they learn key skills and keep up to date with the newest advances in their field. Where appropriate, consider offering mentoring programs. A great employee wants to be challenged, and providing this opportunity can be key to increasing your employee retention rate.

Make sure that employees know where their careers are headed. The worst thing for many high performers is to feel like they finally got what they thought was a great job, but that it is really a dead end. Even if you do have plans for their future, they are totally unaware of that unless it’s been communicated. You need to keep your employee’s future in mind — they certainly are.

4. Encourage Open Communication and Meet Often

Your employee should not have to wait until their annual review to know how they are doing in the eyes of the company. Make sure to meet at least quarterly to discuss their performance, and allow time for them to provide feedback. This keeps everyone on the same page, and lessens the possibility that there are underlying issues eating away at either of you.

Additionally, let employees know that your door is open, and extend this to all levels of management. If your employee doesn’t feel comfortable communicating something with you, make sure there is somewhere they can do so. The more open the communication across all levels and areas of the company, the better.

5. Provide Competitive Compensation and Benefits

Money matters when you’re looking to retain talent. Make sure to pay attention to factors such as market trends and geographical location when determining salary. You get what you pay for. If you haven’t hired anyone in a few years, it’s likely that the market changed during your previous employee’s tenure, and that you’ll need to increase the compensation range to attract and retain the right person.

Also, remember that benefits are an important part of a compensation package. In addition to your standard health and dental insurance, consider what you’re offering along the lines of life insurance, disability insurance, and retirement benefits. These benefits and others may add up to more than they cost your company, in the eyes of your employee. A benefits package that provides your employee with a sense of security will be one more reason to stay.

In addition to the traditional benefits, the little perks go a long way. Lunch on Fridays, a Starbuck’s run in the middle of a busy morning, gym memberships- all these make a difference.

6. Recognize Their Hard Work

While a bonus or raise is one of the best ways to reward employees for a job well done (remember, proper compensation is essential when it comes to employee retention), the most important thing is to make sure that hard work doesn’t go unrecognized. We hear again and again from disgruntled candidates that the main reason they are looking to leave their present employer is that they are not appreciated. It’s not just about money. People need to know their work is appreciated.

Thank-you emails or notes, praise in company meetings, and simple in-person “thank you’s” go a long way. Particularly if you have a tense or busy work environment, slowing down to let your employees know they have done well reminds them that their work hasn’t gone unnoticed.

There are always ways you can be a better manager, and as such, always more employee retention strategies to employ. Keep in mind the strategies above, and more of your best employees will want to stick around!

Find Your Executive Assistant Now

If you're interested in hiring an executive assistant, personal assistant, office manager, or other support staff, we can make finding the perfect candidate fast and easy. Contact us to get started.

Find My Assistant