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13 Great Ideas to Increase Employee Retention

There’s a special feeling of accomplishment when you make a great new hire. You’ve invested time and energy advertising the role, getting to know several candidates, and introducing them to your team.

When the right one finally signs on the dotted line, it’s time to pop some champagne.

Then, the unthinkable happens – six months, a year, or five years later, your amazing new talent gives two weeks notice. Time to bang your head against a wall! All the time, energy and money you spent interviewing, screening and onboarding… down the drain.

We all know there are financial reasons to retain talent, but there’s a bigger cost. High turnover rates hurt your team’s productivity and diminish morale… especially yours. It’s tough to have your “work family” broken up, especially when you try so hard to bring in great new hires.

Here are thirteen things you can do to increase employee satisfaction and decrease turnover.

1. Get employee referrals

Your loyal, longtime staff members understand your company and its needs better than anyone. They should be a major talent pipeline, sending you referrals whether you have an open position or not. Start relationships now so that when the perfect role becomes available, you have great talent at your fingertips.

2. Value respect, openness, and engagement

Who wants to spend 8 hours a day feeling disrespected and unheard? Absolutely nobody. That’s why your company should emphasize core values like respect—not just talking the talk, but walking the walk. Keep open lines of communication, and encourage employees to be engaged at all levels.

3. Ask tough interview questions

Have a better interview with retention-related questions like: “What would make you leave this job in one year?” “Tell me more about the reasons for leaving your last two jobs.” “How long do you see yourself working here?” “What are three important factors for keeping you happy at work?”

4. Ask references tough questions

You probably have your mind made up about a candidate by the time you start calling references, but use these phone calls wisely. Ask each reference why the candidate left their past positions, and what the candidate needs to stick around and feel satisfied.

5. Take a closer look at your supervisors

It’s been said that the most important factor in an employee’s workplace satisfaction is the quality of their supervisor. Take this to heart! All of your supervisors should be top notch, and employees should be assigned to managers who best suit their work style.

6. Have the best salary, period

“The grass is always greener on the other side,” the old saying goes. Obviously, employees are easily tempted by the promise of an increased salary at another company. A highly competitive salary and raise structure keep employees feeling appreciated and motivated.

7. Be flexible

Flexibility is the buzzword of the day. Gone are the days where employees were treated like identical worker bees. Now, they expect to be treated as individuals with their own unique needs. Flexible hours, work-from-home options, and generous family leave plans are just the start.

8. Foster a culture of conflict resolution

If you work somewhere for a long period of time, you’re inevitably going to run into some conflict along the way: a boss you butt heads with, a colleague who drives you crazy, a client you absolutely hate. When your employees face conflict, is there a way for them to resolve the situation—or are they going to log on to Mediabistro and start searching for new jobs?

9. Build a diverse team

It’s easy to get obsessed with company culture and finding a candidate who’s “the perfect fit.” We challenge you to rethink that notion—especially if those “perfect” employees end up quitting. Instead, hire candidates with a wide array of backgrounds, experiences, ideas, and opinions. You’ll see positive changes in your workplace… and increased retention.

10. Reverse performance reviews

Ask your employees to review your company, instead of the other way around. They’ll give you a unique perspective on systemic workplace problems that might be the underlying cause of your retention issues.

11. Prevent burnout

Do you ask your employees to take on too much? If you do, burnout isn’t far behind. And when employees burn out, they quit. Before you make your next hire, re-read the job description and look out for these “burn out buzzwords.”

12. Create a plan for growth

Employees leave when they don’t see a future for themselves at your workplace. So, create long-term growth plans for every employee. Can they expect a promotion next year? Are they on a management track? What will their salary be in five years? What should they be working toward?

13. Find better candidates from the start

Don’t settle! Why choose between two mediocre job applicants, when you can choose among dozens of great ones? Always start by posting your job listing on Mediabistro, so you’re looking at top talent.

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