HR Perspectives: Employee Retention Essentials for 2022
Where must organizations focus their attention and priorities to boost employee retention in 2022 and beyond? As we look at today’s evolving labor market and business landscape, several employee practices need to be addressed to stop the hemorrhaging of talent.
While turnover is not a new problem, the pandemic and The Great Resignation have created mass departures, forcing organizations to address employee retention issues head-on and with a fresh perspective.
Here we explore workplace culture and its impact on hiring and retention and then look at several employee programs and practices – recruitment and onboarding, compensation, and employee development. We will also discuss how these programs should reflect the culture you are trying to create to meet the needs of your employees and the talent you want to attract and retain.
In 2022, there will be a continued focus on workplace culture. An employer’s ability to develop and maintain a positive and healthy culture and articulate that culture to current and prospective employees is now more critical than ever.
Today, we see that culture is playing a significant role in driving retention:
- Employees want to understand an organization’s mission, values, and belief system and be sure that they align with their own. They want transparency.
- Employees are restless and craving a work/life balance between compensation (both direct and indirect) and culture. 69% of Millennials are reported to be willing to give up monetary compensation for a more flexible work schedule and time-off. They want to see behaviors and have experiences that reassure them that their employer values their well-being and understands the importance of a healthy work/life balance.
- Employees are looking for a sense of belonging and want to know they are being heard, accepted, and valued.
- Employees also want to know what is expected of them and how they can contribute and, at the same time, grow in their careers.
In today’s work environment, where employees may be in an office, remote, or a hybrid environment, the importance of a strong, well-defined, and articulated workplace culture has never been more critical. While an organization’s business strategy will always drive employee programs and practices, it also must be caused by the culture they are attempting to create, the needs of their employees, and the talent they are looking to attract and retain.
Let’s explore some of these programs and practices.
Recruitment and Onboarding
It is essential to take the time to evaluate your recruitment and onboarding programs and practices and then consider the experience from a candidate’s or new employee’s perspective. The first impression you make and the quality of your interactions with candidates and new employees will set the tone for what will hopefully be a long and productive relationship.
Create an opportunity for candidates to meet a cross-section of employees in your organization that reflects the culture and the types of candidates you want to attract. Also, examine your recruiting practices, where you hire from, and the prospective bias in your recruiting process. Adjust these to reflect your organization’s diversity, equity, and inclusion philosophy. This will emphasize the importance of diversity hiring in your organization and expand and improve your pool of candidates and, therefore, your hires.
Once hired, you should provide the new employee with a comprehensive and efficient onboarding process. Onboarding should provide valuable information to the new employee, including:
- A deeper understanding of the organization’s mission and values
- How to access information and resources
- An introduction to team members, other departments, and senior leaders.
This information will help the new employee better understand how they fit into the organization and how their role fits into the bigger picture as they dive into a role-specific employee training process .
In addition, employees should be given opportunities to build relationships with coworkers through formal and informal meetings and events and access to training that will help them in their work and improve their skills. Mentor and buddy programs are also beneficial for supporting new and existing employees.
Combining a well-planned and thoughtful candidate-centric recruiting process and a robust onboarding process will help build a solid foundation for new hires. These are among the essential factors in ensuring retention.
In this employee-driven labor environment, a thorough evaluation of your organization’s compensation practices and how your salaries compare within your sector is critical to understanding your market competitiveness and the challenges you may be facing.
While raising salaries and wages across an organization is an effective tool for staying competitive, it is an expensive solution and one that most employers cannot readily consider. Also, remember, as we explored above, studies have found that monetary compensation is not always the primary driver of employee retention.
Consider an overall compensation philosophy and the components of a total rewards approach. This is a broader and more holistic approach to compensation that includes not only salary and bonuses but might also encompass:
- Cash and noncash awards
- Employee health and peripheral benefits
- Retirement plans
- Student loan payments and tuition reimbursement
- Paid time off (PTO) or vacation, sick time, and holidays
Also, develop an employee referral award program and other employee incentives.
Before changing your compensation plans and practices, conduct an employee survey to gather data and understand what matters and what motivates your employees. The talent you are trying to attract.
Also, make sure your programs are effectively communicated and understood. Plans that are not easily understood or readily used provide little value to your employees and organization.
The employee development opportunities you provide to your employees reflect your commitment to their professional development and personal growth. You can offer these programs in training and development, employee coaching, performance management, and mentoring relationships. Also, consider stipends and awards that foster continuous learningand development opportunities. Encourage employees to complete certifications that will add totheir professional portfolio.
Employee development programs offer the potential for expanded responsibility and promotions into new roles over time. A lack of support and commitment from employers can naturally cause employees to feel that their growth options are limited, which some see as a significant root cause of dissatisfaction and turnover today.
To get started or expand existing programs, conduct an employee survey to understand employees’ needs and use the survey as a roadmap for developing and offering programs that will add value. Seeking employee input shows an employer’s commitment to and investment in an employee’s interests and growth and development.
While preparing to offer learning and developmental opportunities, broadcast the availability of these programs internally, and consider the best way to provide employee access to programs. Ensure that employees can take some time to further their professional and personal growth. Consider external programs that may speak to individual needs or provide a better or different opportunity or experience. Additionally, make employee development part of an employee’s goals to be incorporated into performance reviews.
Demonstrating your commitment to an employee’s growth and development is a differentiator that will enhance your ability to recruit, hire, and retain employees today and into the future.
Wrapping Up: The Role of HR
Driving employee retention is an organization-wide undertaking that is complex and requires strategic vision, leadership commitment, planning, and management oversight.
Once you and your organization identify the programs and practices that you will prioritize and want to address and improve, consider who is in the best position and has the right resources to drive those changes. Partner with an internal HR professional or an external HR consultant that can work with senior leadership to align these programs with the organization’s overall people philosophy and strategy.
Solicit commitment from managers across the organization and various groups to assist in the process. The marketing team can add value in recruitment, IT and operations in onboarding, finance and your benefits broker in compensation and total rewards, and internal and external experts in employee development. Clarify the roles that people will play.
Although there’s no one right way to drive retention, these are some retention best practices and steps to keep in mind that will ensure your organization approaches it strategically and holistically.
This post was written by multiple employees at RealHR.
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