Your competitors want your best employees. With the fervor of stock brokers shouting and bidding wildly on the trading floor, they will pursue your best people. There’s no avoiding talent poaching in a candidate market like this. However, you can avoid the loss of your talent by taking the right precautions.
How likely are your employees to turn down a competitor’s offer? The odds depend on the strength of your retention strategy. A thorough strategy will keep your employees loyal when your competitors’ employees drift away to greener pastures. We’ve found that these four tactics can dissuade top talent from quitting.
Offer Competitive Compensation
On a recent Indeed survey, 76 percent of participants cited competitive compensation as what candidates care about most. What’s competitive for your employees? The answer depends on prevailing cost of living and local skills and experience valuation. The salary side of any good retention strategy is built with these factors in mind.
The US Department of State provides a number of resources to gauge whether your employees’ current compensation package lives up to cost of living increases. Additionally, the Bureau of Labor Statistics provides insight into competitive wages per region.
For local skills and experience, accuracy is key. Turning to CareerBuilder’s Data Portal, Salary.com, or your IT staffing firm can balance out your assumptions with large amounts of empirical data.
Additionally, competitive salaries for your employees should reflect the ambitiousness of your goals. The more competitive you expect to be in your local, state, or national market, the higher you can expect to pay employees and prospective candidates. The caliber of work being delivered reflects what your employees should reasonably expect to be paid.
Clarify and Structure Employee Feedback
What does it look like when your employees excel? Are they aware of what an exceptional performance looks like to you? Do they know where they stand? Structured feedback is critical for retention. In fact, companies that provide regular employee feedback have turnover rates that are 14.9% lower than the average.
How should you deliver employee feedback? Ross McCammon, writer for Entrepreneur magazine, has some advice about the art of encouragement that easily translates to employee feedback. His three main points are:
- Praise the Actual. Praise is more effective than criticism. People shut down when you browbeat them.
- Acknowledge the Potential. Point out areas of improvement with tact. Lead with their strong points and focus on potential improvement with positive outcome as the focus.
- Challenge Specifically. Specific and clear measures give employees the insight to take action. Vague suggestions are like muddy ditches to your employees: they’ll have a hard time gaining enough traction to get out.
The results of these efforts are not only good for retention, but they’re great for engagement. When asked, 78% of employees said that recognition motivates them to work hard and stay engaged. That can convert a large portion of your disengaged team to your company’s goals and objectives.
Provide Opportunities to Learn
The engagement and retention rates of companies with a robust learning culture tends to be 30% to 50% higher than their competitors. The reason being? Employees in a stagnant learning environment get stir crazy. They’ll feel that moving somewhere else will jolt their sense of boredom and renew their passion (whether or not that’s actually true).
That’s why it’s so important for employees to always be learning. Whether through challenging projects that push them to the frontier of their knowledge or sponsored training sessions guiding them through new or advanced material, employees will be more inclined to stay if they feel they are in motion.
Empower Your Employees
When employees have a sense of ownership, their dedication is strong. The business feels like theirs and its successes are their successes. That’s why we’ve implemented an employee stock ownership program. It encourages employees to stay long term and promotes our growth and success.
We require our employees to complete 12 months of service in which they’ve worked 1,000 hours before they are eligible. The criteria can be tailored to your own preferences and employee tenure goals. However, the ESOP should never feel unattainable to your employees.
The Big Picture
The underlying thread between all of these retention strategies is critical to mention: each one treats the employee as an individual. Why does that matter? Because a retention strategy that fails to account for individual needs and relies on blanket solutions will fail more often than it succeeds, making retention of both new hires and seasoned employees a tricky prospect.
Want to actually find talent worthy of retaining? Reach out to IDR. We strive to find out what our clients need on a technical and cultural level so we can quickly connect them with change-making talent.