To Retain Your Employees, Know Your ABCs

by Mary Varano
To Retain Your Employees, Know Your ABCs

Employee retention is more important than ever. Your employees are the key to the productivity and profitability of your business. Retaining quality employees and top talent saves your business money, maintains and even increases your productivity, creates a positive customer experience, and more. To retain more of your employees for longer periods of time, you need to know your ABCs:

  • Address Burnout
  • Balance Work and Life
  • Career Path for Everyone
  • Develop Relationships
  1. Address Burnout

Any employee at any level can experience burnout, a specific kind of chronic, unmanaged work-related stress. Depending on the situation or person, burnout can happen after a specific event or it can build over time. A stressed employee may feel they’re “drowning” in responsibilities.

If you find your staff is:

  • Frequently tired or drained
  • Easily upset or angered
  • Particularly cynical or has a consistent negative outlook
  • Overwhelmed
  • Procrastinating

There is a very good chance your team is burned out. Addressing burnout takes more than a pizza party to alleviate – it’s an ongoing process that should be built into your workplace culture. Employees are unlikely to stay with a company if they get – and stay – burned out.

Identifying the root cause of your employees’ burnout is key and you can only get this information from your employees. An anonymous employee engagement survey is a great way to get the information you need to start making the necessary changes your team needs. Anonymity is important in these surveys as employees may fear negative consequences if they answer honestly and you need your team to be fully transparent.

Once you identify why your employees are burned out, make changes to address those issues and keep your team updated on why you’re making the changes: you want your staff to be happy to stay on your team. Going forward, surveying your team at least once a year will help keep you stay informed about the morale of your team and give you the information you need to address issues causing burnout more quickly.

  1. Balance Work and Life

Your employees have full lives outside of work, so if the expectations and demands of work are consistently affecting their personal lives, they’re more likely to look for a new job that aligns with their needs better.

There are a number of changes you can make to help your employees achieve a better work/life balance and, subsequently, be more satisfied with their job:

  • Take a look at employee schedules. Depending on your business and your employees, you can help employees balance by offering:
    • Clear, consistent set schedule
      • Employees want to know when they are working as far in advance as possible so they can plan and schedule around their shifts. This is one of the keys to balancing work and personal responsibilities.
    • Flexible hours
      • Think about the schedule at your company. Are there opportunities for your staff to come in earlier or stay later if something comes up in their personal life and they need to be away during your traditional times? Not every business can offer more flexible hours, but if there is an opportunity, it’s great for your staff to have the option to meet their schedule and work goals outside their usual hours if they need to.
    • Remote work or hybrid flexibility
      • Again, not every company can offer remote work, but if you are able, employees are increasingly choosing workplace that offer some kind of remote option. Is there an option for employees to work remotely some of the time?
    • Manage your employees’ workloads
      • You likely have a good idea of what each employee is supposed to be doing, but it’s important to know the actual workload each employee is tasked with. Understanding the actual workload will help you understand where additional staff may be needed or provide insight into where cross-training employees could help alleviate issues and increase productivity and efficiency.
    • Limit contacting employees during off hours
      • Before contacting an employee when they are not at work, take a moment to think if the issue is truly an emergency or if it can either be handled by someone at work now or wait until the employee’s next shift. By allowing employees to truly step away from their work while they’re at home, they’re better able to rest, recharge, and, hopefully, keep burnout at bay.
    • Paid time off
      • Does your company offer employees paid time off? Paid time off is often crucial to an employee’s satisfaction with their job. Paid time off shows your employees that you value them as people. It’s also important to both encourage and model using your paid time off. Check in to make sure your employees truly can and do use their time off – as well as using your own!
  1. Career Path for Every Employee

No dead-ends at your company. Employees, especially talented employees, are ambitious, and you should encourage that ambition by providing every employee with some type of career path, which can be within their current role. Employees need to know they’re part of a company that sees their potential and sees them as part of the successful future of the company.

There are three parts to a career path: goals, recognition, and advancement:

  • Goals
    • Every employee should be working toward goals specific to them. This should start during the onboarding process, ideally, but you can implement an employee evaluation and goal-setting process at any time. Setting clear goals with your employees gives them a better understanding of their role within your company and how their success is measured. Regularly checking in on how your employees are progressing toward their goals engages and motivates employees and allows them to discuss any issues or ideas they may have directly with you.
  • Recognition
    • Employees want to know their time and work are valued. Compensation is an important piece of recognition, but it is more important to acknowledge when an employee does something worthy of recognition. Sharing the good work during a staff meeting or sending a company-wide email can help increase employees’ satisfaction with their job because they know leadership appreciates their efforts.
  • Advancement
    • The goals set for an employee should be building blocks for their career at your company. As you’re setting goals with your employees, talk through what they’d like to see in their future at your company. This will help you develop a path for them, keeping them satisfied and engaged with new challenges. Additionally, as positions open at your company, look first at your current team and do your very best to promote from within before looking at external candidates. Watching tenured employees advance through your ranks helps keep them motivated as well.
  1. Develop relationships

Understanding their role in your company is important, but the relationships employees develop, both with leadership and their coworkers, is critical to keeping them with your company. Employees who have solid relationships within their company feel more connected to the company and its goals, increasing employee satisfaction and engagement.

Encourage your employees to work as a team whenever possible and provide opportunities for your employees to connect outside their job duties. Employee appreciation events go a long way and don’t need to be overly complicated or expensive. Setting aside time to bring in lunch and let your staff eat together is a great start, along with offsite team-building events, can help your employees strengthen their relationships, which, in turn, strengthens their relationship with your company.

Corrigan Krause Can Help

The ABCs of employee retain we discussed above are just a starting point for your business. If you’re ready to make changes to help retain your employees, Corrigan Krause can help you financially plan for the investments you want to make. Email for more information.