April 4, 2024

9 Effective and Simple Tactics to Increase Talent Retention

Talent retention has always been a hot topic for HR teams, but the events of the past four years have led organizations to revisit their strategies with greater frequency. The work world went remote in 2020. Gen Z entered the workforce shortly after. Organizations started rolling out a variety of return-to-office policies. Inflation and interest rates made workers more compensation-conscious.

Your employees are experiencing so much change, and all at once. It’s never been more vital to support your employees as they navigate and adapt to these new ways of work. If you don't, there are many other organizations that will.

While there are countless employee retention strategies, they're often not as impactful as you'd hope or have drawn-out implementations. We’ve rounded up nine easy-to-deploy and high-impact tactics you can implement to support your employees through change to increase employee engagement and talent retention.

1. Create a safe space for two-way communication

One of the easiest — and most cost-effective — ways to retain talent is by communicating proactively with employees, both at the organization and team levels.

At a broader level, two-way communication could look like: 

  • Sharing communication norms within your organization when you onboard a new hire 
  • Encouraging employees to engage with leadership during company-wide all-hands 
  • Sending out regular pulse surveys to check in on employees 
  • Communicating company changes and giving employees the freedom to ask questions 

At a team level, empower managers to foster two-way communication with their employees by: 

  • Guiding employees on how to best use company communication platforms, such as Slack 
  • Sending anonymous surveys that allow teams to share comments and concerns 
  • Creating and sharing action plans based on employee feedback 
  • Encouraging open-door policies and skip-level meetings 
  • Leading by example to create a culture of honesty and transparency 

2. Provide regular feedback

Annual performance reviews give employees one opportunity a year to figure out what they’re doing well and not so well. A survey of over 1,000 US employees by management consulting firm Eagle Hill Consulting reveals why this cadence is problematic:  

  • 63% want more “in the moment” feedback on their work 
  • 89% feel valued when someone takes time to share feedback 
  • 79% claim feedback is vital to their professional development 

Employees want more than a once-a-year review. We suggest supplementing your typical annual review with frequent check-ins and quarterly reviews. Here's why: 

  • Businesses typically set annual and quarterly goals. Quarterly reviews allow you to review employees' work, see if they met their goals, or see if you need to realign on expectations. It's also an opportunity to celebrate and reward employees who met or exceeded goals.
  • They give employees more consistent feedback so they can continually improve and grow throughout the year. More frequent reviews also encourage employees to share candid feedback with managers.
  • Regular check-ins help you get a pulse on your workers' well-being, allowing you to prioritize employee satisfaction (a huge contributor to talent retention). 

While performance reviews are typically more formal, regular check-ins can be informal conversations about how employees are doing and where they need support. And both the employee and manager can share general feedback. 

With more regular reviews and informal check-ins, you give employees more opportunities for feedback while finding more opportunities to celebrate their wins.

3. Recognize and reward employees

Whether it’s a simple “Thank you” or a gift card, recognition goes a long way in keeping employees happy. When they feel recognized and rewarded for their work, studies show that employees work harder and are more productive. Plus, those companies have an easier time with talent retention.

A report from professional development company Brandon Hall Group revealed that organizations prioritizing employee recognition multiple times per month are more than 40% more likely to see increased worker retention.  

Build a rewards and recognition program that celebrates employee efforts consistently. It could include:

  • Monetary rewards 
  • Public recognition in meetings, Slack channels, or department-wide emails 
  • Private praise 
  • Non-traditional rewards like increased paid time off (PTO) 

While a paycheck isn't a reward, paying employees accurately and on time is one of the best ways to show employees you value their work. Make paydays feel more rewarding by going above and beyond. A few simple financial well-being features you can offer to help employees make more of their paychecks include earned wage access, payroll cards, and savings accounts.

4. Provide flexibility

Flexible work is about more than just working remotely. A Forbes Advisor survey revealed:    

  • 37% of employees want the option to work from home  
  • 19% of workers consider four-day workweeks important  
  • Over 50% of employees consider flexible hours a big concern — they want to work non-traditional hours  

Giving employees flexibility increases talent retention, productivity, and morale, according to Upwork’s Future of Workforce Pulse Report. It’s also a tenet of work-life balance, which 51% of employees and 47% of employers consider the top priority in company culture.   

When you give employees the flexibility to work – and live – where they want to, you retain talent, especially talent who may want to move. Flexibility gives them the ability to move without leaving your organization. Allowing your workforce to work anywhere also opens the door to a near-limitless talent pool and a distributed workforce. 

Don't let payroll processes get in the way. Payroll processes that support employees everywhere allow you to create a truly flexible workforce and peace of mind for employees wanting to move without leaving their jobs. Outsourcing partners help make it effortless to pay a distributed workforce on time and accurately while keeping you tax-compliant across regions.

5. Address burnout

A Gallup report found that 76% of employees experience burnout sometimes, with nearly 30% experiencing it often or always. These high levels of burnout create more stress and lower employee satisfaction, which makes talent retention even more difficult.

Reduce burnout and increase overall well-being by addressing some of the most common factors: 

  • Financial stress. Finances weigh heavily on employees. Giving employees financial well-being tools, like access to a financial coach or an app that streamlines their finances, helps ease that stress.
  • Mental and physical wellness. Standard benefits like EAP and gym reimbursements are great. Want to go beyond that? Quarterly mental health and volunteer days are free and easy to implement. Virtual team movement sessions also encourage employees to take a mental break and get active.
  • Poor leadership. Managers play a crucial role in employee burnout. Create or purchase leadership programs that teach managers to prioritize work-life balance, support employees, create a positive workplace, and lead by example. 

6. Create a healthy work-life balance

One of the best ways to retain talent is to promote a healthy work-life balance. It’s not enough to just encourage employees to practice work-life balance. You must lead by example so employees feel like they can actually take time off or not answer work emails after hours.

A few ways you can promote a positive work-life balance are:

  • Allow employees flexible work schedules and hours. 
  • Clearly communicate benefits bringing benefits together in an app is a simple and fast way to see all their perks and benefits. 
  • Encourage employees to use their PTO 46% of U.S. workers take less than their employers offer. 
  • Offer mental and physical well-being benefits like a mental health app subscription or gym reimbursement. 

According to The Muse’s 2023 user survey, 83% of respondents would take a slightly lower-paying job to receive a “measurably better” work-life balance, with nearly 60% saying there’s no amount of money that would make them give up work-life balance.  

7. Offer professional development

You want to nurture motivated employees who are looking to grow their careers. If they don’t feel empowered to grow or are having trouble finding those opportunities at your organization, they’ll leave to find it somewhere else. 

Providing professional development opportunities to employees can help feed that desire to grow and open up opportunities for advancement within your organization. A few ways you can show your commitment to their growth include:

  • In-office mentorship 
  • Tuition reimbursement 
  • Resources and training 
  • Conference budgets or dedicating work hours for virtual events 
  • Upskilling and reskilling opportunities 

As artificial intelligence (AI) becomes more commonplace in the workforce and roles continue to evolve, upskilling and reskilling employees has become even more paramount. And it's more cost-effective to train existing employees than to hire new talent.  

Today, companies are already using AI to help them identify what training is needed, build out programs, and deliver courses to the right employees at the right time.

8. Build a positive company culture

New York Times best-selling author Gary Vaynerchuk once said, “Company culture is the backbone of any successful organization,” and, we’d argue, a determining factor in talent retention. Company culture is about creating a business your employees want to be part of. Build it around diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEI&B), creating a culture where employees are welcome and feel safe. 

Tech startups of the mid-2000s defined culture with ping-pong tables and a laid-back dress code, but company culture is more than that. Go the extra mile to create a culture beyond surface-level perks that keeps talent happy. Dive deeper into this topic in our blog all about the evolution of corporate benefits and perks.

9. Offer fair and competitive compensation

A Robert Half survey of more than 2,500 professionals revealed that a whopping 61% of employees seek new jobs to find a higher salary. Retain talent by paying your employees fairly — and on time. Fair compensation makes sure employees can afford the cost of living, meets or exceeds the market rate, and includes essential benefits like:

  • Health insurance 
  • PTO 
  • Retirement plans 
  • Well-being perks 

Forbes suggests conducting regular salary reviews to account for inflation and ensuring employees receive pay raises as their responsibilities increase. But you can also help employees feel like they can do more with their existing paychecks. Here's how: 

  • Give them early access to their wages — it provides peace of mind that they have money available if they need it before payday 
  • Let them pay bills, straight from their paycheck, so they can budget better and even benefit from more favorable interest rates 
  • Offer savings accounts employees can pay into directly from their paycheck to help them feel more financially secure 
  • Make sharing insights easy — employees should be able to see the hours they've worked, their pay, and more without having to navigate a complex payroll system 

While increasing compensation may feel like an expensive remedy to retention, it can actually save your organization money when done strategically. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) found that replacing an employee who leaves can cost between six and nine months of a worker’s salary to replace them. 

Ready to act?

You’ve got nine highly effective and simple strategies to retain talent — now it’s time to act. Chief People Officer here at OneSource Virtual (OSV), Jane Huston, highlighted the need to create a positive work environment that keeps your employees satisfied, productive, and engaged at work:

“Employees want to feel valued at work. Creating a culture that celebrates their achievements — through rewards, competitive pay, and a focus on overall wellness — supports that desire. And when employees are happy, healthy, and engaged at work, they stay. Genuinely investing in employees is the best way to retain talent in the long run.”

Need help rolling out benefits or streamlining payroll to ensure employees get paid on time? OSV delivers expert services to automate the administrative, transactional tasks of Workday payroll, taxes, payments, and benefits. With over 1,000 customers and a 95% customer retention rating, OSV is the leading exclusive provider of Workday Business-Processes-as-a-Service solutions.

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