Employee retention rates are a clear indicator of your company culture. Employees who want to stick around do so because they believe in the product or service delivered; feel a connection to the greater company mission; and realize a return on the investment of their time and energy. Think skill advancement, a sense of value and belonging, and more.
When your top talent stays with you for the long term, it strengthens overall knowledge-share and saves you money that would have been spent (several times over) on recruiting efforts for new hires.
And on average it can take 90 days to a year in getting a new employee up to speed. So retaining employees is in your best interest.
So how do the most successful companies mitigate employee turnover? The secret is creating a holistic employee experience.
At Cooleaf we like starting with a regular practice of listening to employee feedback, encouraging employee recognition, rewarding and incentivizing, and gathering metrics to drive your next steps. Acknowledging and rewarding your employees' efforts and hard work seems straightforward but can make all the difference.
But if 2020 taught us anything, it's that flexibility and creativity is needed when keeping employees happy and engaged. Remote work changed the game for many teams, so we did a deep dive in other ways companies retained talent.
Here are 7 employee retention ideas to keep your top performers.
Let Employees Choose Their Own Title
Giving workers the freedom to name their own job is definitely a non-traditional way of approaching titles. But it has an arguably positive benefit. The Academy of Management Journal published a study of people with self-appointed job titles and concluded that allowing them this privilege could reduce emotional exhaustion for employees with big shoes to fill in stressful environments.
It's also a way for you to work with your employees and utilize their strengths and give them ownership of of their role.
Inject Gamification into Your Work Culture
Gamification takes a normally mundane job and frames it as a challenge to make a task more engaging. The concept of gamification can be easily directed at customers, but it’s so popular that 70% of Forbes Global 2000 companies will use it to try and increase employee engagement and boost retention. Gamification is also effective in increasing team productivity, especially with newer employees.
Through Cooleaf, company's utilize gamification in their onboarding process, for completing trainings or professional development courses, and for incentivizing performance. For instance, company's's like Freshly or Shipt utilized performance incentives to align their customer experience teams with weekly or monthly goals.
Support Healthy Work-Life Balance
After more than a year in the pandemic, many employees are experiencing burnout and stress. In response, employers are providing additional wellness benefits to support mental and physical well-being, with perks like Peloton or Headspace subscriptions.
On Cooleaf teams utilize the platform to encourage some healthy competition with step challenges and meditation challenges.
And although it’s far from the status quo, some companies like Hubspot have no policy on vacation time, meaning employees can take off as much time from work as they want. They don't need approval and the organization supports each team member taking time for themselves.
This freedom gives workers the truest sense of work-life balance that’s possible for anyone with a full-time job. When possible, instituting an unlimited vacation policy helps reduce pressure on employee’s lives and strengthens their appreciation of the employer.
Remove Hierarchy About How Employees Work
Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh tested the waters with revising his company of managers in favor of a flat hierarchy— one with no job titles. He even had an expert write a 500-page culture book detailing how to avoid corporate bureaucracy while staying true to the company’s startup roots.
Rather than a hierarchy, Zappos embraced a holacracy, a decentralized system that distributed decision-making. The idea was innovative, though not entirely drama free, and is evolving to a market-based set-up where teams now operate as smaller businesses within the organization.
Now while changing the traditional structures might be drastic or down the line for your organization, take a note from Zappos on redesigning your process or structure to suit your employees. Zappos' goal was boost employee morale by designing a system that leveraged employees who truly stand by its culture.
It's uncommon, sure, but we're in a new age where remote work never seemed possible and yet here we are.
Don't Forget to Treat Yourselves
It’s well documented that on Google's campuses, they'd offer free food for every meal of the day. Subsidized or free meals, a range of snacks or coffee are small perks for your team in office. Even with remote teams, they offer equipment stipends so employees can suit up their work area to however they want.
In essence, Google supports its employees to treat themselves. The campuses allowed employees to bond and save them the effort of always having to pay for and put together their next meal. The remote stipend supports their needs but also encourages everyone to work their best selves.
Realistically, not all companies can provide unlimited food or full office stipends, but starting a bagel Monday can go a long way in simplifying your employee’s lives. With Cooleaf, the digital environment makes it easy for remote or in-person teams connect easily and publicly but also with features like gifting, you can regularly send your team a coffee gift card to treat themselves.
They Offer a ROWE
In 2003, Best Buy rolled out a Results-Only Work Environment (ROWE) where the only relevant metric was productivity. This new approach eliminated the need for weekly meetings and even commuting to work for some. Due to the success of the program, Best Buy was added to Fortune’s 2006 list of America’s Most Admired Companies.
ROWE gives individuals the autonomy to schedule their workday and create a work-life balance for themselves as well. Implementing this type of policy must be conducive to the nature of the business that uses it of course. And when done correctly, a ROWE can create spikes in employee productivity and engagement. ROWE is also an ideal method especially for hybrid or remote teams.
Corporate Social Responsibility Matters
Since Gen Y will compose 75% of the global workforce by 2025, sensible and successful companies will look to cater to that audience. According to a 2011 study by TBWA/Worldwide and TakePart, 3 out of every 4 Millennials “believe that corporations should create economic value for society by addressing its needs.”
The companies that commit to corporate social responsibility are helping a legitimate cause and giving their employees something they can easily stand behind, especially Gen Y workers.
Why You Don’t Want Your (Best) Employees to Go
A 2012 Center for American Progress study concluded it costs up to 21% of an employee’s annual salary to find a replacement for that person. If your best workers hit the road, you’re losing leadership, efficiency and possibly a dip in future profits.
Seeing how other successful companies retain their talent, the common thread is that they make life both at and away from work, more engaging, which is always a great option.
A valuable way to start on this path is to adopt a platform like Cooleaf to build an even stronger sense of team within your workforce.
Interested in learning more about how to retain and delight your people? Cooleaf can help — let's chat!