Improve Retention by Elevating the Employee Experience

Improve Retention by Elevating the Employee Experience

People no longer spend the entirety of their career in one place. However, this doesn’t mean that a company can’t get employees to stay a little longer than they planned on. By creating a supportive environment full of opportunity may help employee retention rates.

The past year has prompted many of us to completely rethink the workplace, our relationship to work, and how we show employees that they’re valued and appreciated. This is more important now than ever, as a record 4.5 million people left their jobs in November 2021 in search of more flexibility, greater purpose, and increased pay. And it’s not just your younger workers, this is impacting employees in all generations and levels.

Talent acquisition costs are high, and when you've invested the time and money into finding that ideal candidate, keeping them around is critical. Assuming that your compensation and benefit packages are in line with industry demands, your employee retention strategy needs to extend beyond the money and find other ways to encourage people to stay. Here are a few ideas to consider.

Double-Down on Company Culture

Candidates want to work for companies where their principles and interests are aligned, and they feel a sense of belonging. Be clear about your culture, values, and how employees fit into that bigger picture. Make sure candidates understand how that plays out on a daily basis, not just as a bullet point on an annual review. You can do this on your website by showcasing employee and alumni appreciation events, success stories, and major accomplishments. Also by providing opportunities for employees to showcase their skills impacting their communities.

Level-Up the Onboarding Process

Go beyond the paperwork when onboarding a new hire. A key retention strategy uses the employee experience as its guide in shaping the onboarding process.

  • Keep in touch between the job offer and the start date. Have the employee’s new manager send a welcome letter or schedule a welcome call for their first week that makes the employee excited to join the team.
  • Set them up with a mentor or sponsor. A good mentor or sponsor relationship helps employees feel like they’ve got insider access to someone who can answer their questions and advocate for their career path from the get-go. Encourage an open dialogue between the two where the new employee can offer a fresh set of eyes on something to avoid the dreaded "we've always done it this way” mentality.
  • Help them establish a social connection. One of the most difficult parts of starting a new job is feeling like a stranger. Plan new hire events that focus on shared interests so they can get to know their colleagues. Encourage them to join an Employee Resource Group and share information on the Alumni Network as well.

Strongly Encourage Professional Development

Universally, a critical talent retention strategy involves growth opportunities for employees. Companies with strong professional development pathways and options for continuing education have a workforce that is more engaged, more invested, and more productive.

  • Give employees time and budget to attend industry events, conferences, and networking events. Offer both in-house and external training opportunities.
  • Recognize that an employee's career trajectory is not always linear. If an employee shows interest in a different part of the business, help them learn more about those roles and departments and support their decision to move laterally if that aligns with their career goals. Or, offer an internal secondment for a predetermined amount of time to experience something new. Atlassian has a great example of a program like this.
  • Have open lines of communication. Annual reviews are not enough. Have regular touchpoints with employees where you can talk about current projects and workload, what's working well, and where your employees need additional support.

Acknowledge Life Beyond Employment

Employees leave jobs for a myriad of reasons, and it doesn't mean that the relationship has to end when they resign from a position. An alumni network gives current and former colleagues a way to stay connected. Corporate alumni networks in popularity and offer everything from job openings and networking events to volunteer and social opportunities. Strong alumni networks can also provide paths to rehiring talent, gaining new customers, and testing new products.

Employee retention needs to be part of the overall talent management strategy. Focusing on the employee’s experience from before they start through the time they leave – and beyond – should be the key driver in how you shape your retention efforts. And when the employee decides it’s time to move on, having a corporate alumni network gives them a space to stay connected and keep those conversations going.

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