An employer’s guide to retaining your workforce in 2023

19 Dec 2022

“Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.” Richard Branson, founder of The Virgin Group.

Employees are a company’s best asset. They drive productivity, which has a direct impact on profitability, plus they’re the best brand ambassadors. Yet, we’re living in an age where the ‘great resignation’ means more people are leaving their jobs than ever before. 

So, it should be a company’s number one priority to hold onto their key, current employees and work to attract the best new hires. In this blog, you’ll discover how introducing retention strategies to help with retaining employees can improve the employee experience, create a more positive company culture, and ultimately, boost job satisfaction.

What is the great resignation?

The term ‘The Great Resignation’ was coined by Professor Anthony Klotz. It refers to the wave of employees that were expected to leave their jobs in search of a better work-life balance, positive corporate culture, and more job satisfaction, following their experiences during the Covid pandemic.

The latest research suggests that the rise in those quitting their roles is far from over. A staggering 41% of professionals were found to be looking or planning to look for a new job in the second half of 2022. Plus, the CIPD predicts that the ‘major job exodus‘ will continue into 2023.

What is the cost of employee turnover?

Employee turnover is the number of employees that leave a business during a certain time period. This figure includes those who have retired or been made redundant, as well as those who chose to leave voluntarily.

According to a study led by Oxford Economics, the average cost of replacing a departing member of staff is £30,614.

In addition to this financial cost, employee turnover can also have a human impact on a business, with research suggesting that it can damage company culture.

This is because a high employee turnover can create a culture of fear, where staff begin to question why so many employees are leaving or if their jobs are safe. This, in turn, can negatively impact employee engagement and productivity, which can affect overall morale and profitability.

How to boost your employee retention rate

“Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a person – not just an employee – are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled. Satisfied employees mean satisfied customers, which leads to profitability.”

Anne M. Mulcahy, former CEO of Xerox.

The key to ensuring that employees want to stay with a business is to focus on the employee experience. Essentially, this means ensuring that every element of the employees’ journey and job experience with a company, from recruitment and onboarding to job training and promotions, is positive.

A study by Gartner found that employees reporting a positive employee experience were:

  • 60% more likely to remain with the business
  • 69% more likely to be high performers
  • 52% more likely to go above and beyond their daily responsibilities.

Create an excellent workplace culture

A survey of 5,000 employees found that 56% of staff would stay with a business that paid less than a competitor if it had a more positive work culture.

As we head into a recession and a prolonged period of job uncertainty, an excellent workplace culture can boost morale and productivity and lead to better employee retention. On the flip side, a negative corporate culture can have an adverse effect on staff motivation, satisfaction, and employee wellbeing.

Setting the company culture should come from the top. Business leaders and senior management should promote the mission, vision, and values, exhibit the expected behaviours, and set the tone for the company. Highlighting the company mission can also boost employee retention as employees are more likely to stay with a company with a higher purpose than just profits.

To help the entire workforce embrace the corporate culture, it should be introduced during onboarding and orientation, so new hires have a roadmap to success, and the company has a focus on retaining employees, from day one. 

Listen to your employees

It’s important to give employees a voice and adopt a listening mindset. Providing a platform for staff to give feedback and highlight any challenges as an everyday scenario indicates that their opinions matter, which helps employees feel valued and heard.

Employees are also more likely to feel engaged if they feel that their opinions can influence business decisions. If they see a direct follow-through based on their feedback, employees will become more invested in the company. One study found that employee engagement rose by 61% for companies with a feedback programme.

The feedback should be a two-way process. Whether it’s via interview questions, anonymous employee surveys, or regular one-to-ones, taking the time to provide feedback that leaves staff members feeling positive can boost engagement by up to four times

Ensure employees are equipped to succeed

“If we don’t provide the right tools, we may set our employees up for failure.” Chi Tran, Forbes Councils Member.

Employees can’t succeed unless they have the correct tools and equipment to do so. This includes providing remote or flexible employees with everything they need to complete their roles to the best of their abilities. This includes:

  • IT equipment such as computers, laptops, tablets, and mobile phones
  • Software including instant messaging and project management programs
  • Office furniture and accessories from desks and chairs to headphones and footrests
  • Risk assessments to ensure their workspace is suitable for work  

Doing so will help boost productivity and job satisfaction.

Ensuring that the workplace is comfortable and safe is equally important as your staff are your greatest asset and a business with a caring culture is a desirable benefit to employees.

For that reason, it’s a wise move to consider introducing regular safety awareness training and health and safety assessments of workstations – both at home and in-office.

Reward your employees

Compensation and benefits are the number one reason why people change jobs, according to LinkedIn. Another key catalyst for job resignations is a lack of employee appreciation.

Introducing an employee incentive programme can help employees feel more valued and engaged, as it helps staff feel appreciated for their hard work. Other reasons for rewarding staff include completing a project, reaching a target, or celebrating work or personal milestones, such as an anniversary or birthday.

Rewards are a great motivator to continue performing at a high level and to reinforce desired behaviours. They can also encourage a friendly competitive team environment as other members of staff will want to earn their own recognition. 

Our research found that 80% of employees agreed that employee rewards positively impact their job satisfaction and performance. This was also true for remote employees – 84% of whom said that their preferred reward was a prepaid or gift card. And younger employees (those in the 21-49 age range) see incentives as a necessary component of their employee compensation.

Further to this, a survey of HR professionals on employee recognition suggested that it helps to create a positive employee experience and has a positive impact on employee retention (68%) and recruitment (56%).

As for how to reward employees, our research indicated that:

  • One size doesn’t fit all, so give employees a choice
  • Opt for individual incentives over group incentives

For these reasons, many organisations choose to reward their employees with gift cards or eGifts that give employees the freedom to redeem either in-store or online in multiple retailers.

Offer career advancement opportunities

To invest in employee growth opportunities is to invest in your employees’ long-term future with your business.

If a business doesn’t provide clear career advancement opportunities, it risks losing the top employees who are hungry to develop their skills and experiences.

So, clearly, creating in-role opportunities to grow, by introducing real work-based scenarios to boost essential knowledge and leadership experience, will help to reduce the employee turnover rate.

As well as providing seminars for training opportunities as part of an employee development programme, you could also introduce an employee mentorship scheme. Matching team members with more experienced employees provides tailored guidance and coaching in line with the individual employee’s career goals.

Prioritise employee wellbeing

One of the top causes of employee turnover is being overworked, with 42% of workers leaving their job due to burnout.

That’s why it’s vital to implement employee wellness programs that focus on employees’ health and workplace wellbeing, whether the employees are office based or working from home. Wellness initiatives including gym memberships, healthcare packages, or providing flexibility within roles for staff to better manage their work-life balance, demonstrates care  and support towards employees, all of which will help to retain – and attract – talent.

Companies that provide health and wellbeing benefits can encourage happier and more engaged employees, who are less likely to experience work-related illnesses or burnout, which can lead to absenteeism and affect employee retention negatively. 

Allow flexible working

One of the reasons cited for resigning in the Big Resignation was inflexible remote working opportunities. In the second half of 2022, this was confirmed by a study that found that 47% of employees would consider quitting if flexible working wasn’t available. Breaking this down further, 43% wanted more choice in where they worked and 39% wanted more options in when they work.

Beyond losing them to a competitor, the risk of not offering job flexibility is that your employees may feel stressed and potentially burn out.

That’s why many businesses are now promoting a healthier work-life balance by introducing flexible policies such as flextime, four-day work weeks, and hybrid working that allow staff to choose how long they work, where they work, and when they work.

The CIPD found that flexible working arrangements benefit both the individual employees and the business, as staff members are more likely to recommend, stay loyal to, and work harder for employers offering flexibility. They also reported that flexible working produced higher levels of engagement, which can reduce staff turnover by a massive 87%.

Learn from your leavers

It’s inevitable that some employees will leave a business no matter what new policies are introduced. The key is to consider what you can learn from those heading off for pastures new by asking them why they are leaving.

To do this, introduce exit surveys or exit interviews with the goal of obtaining honest and constructive feedback as to what prompted their decision to leave. This will help to uncover business blind spots that can be addressed to stop further employees from leaving for those reasons.

Whether in person or online, exit interviews are a powerful retention tool, according to the Harvard Business Review, as they let employees know that their opinions matter, which can help turn leavers into brand ambassadors.

With the possibility of the great resignation continuing into 2023, now is the time to focus on proactively retaining your employees. As a global leader in on-demand rewards, we can help with your employee reward system. To find out more – and discover the Blackhawk Network difference – get in touch on 020 4517 5862.

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