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How to Retain your Employees During the Great Resignation

The Great Resignation is a hot topic in the business world. It’s exciting for some and infuriating for others.

Those in the ranks of the excited are the people who are eager to make a jump and and try their hand at a new opportunity.  On the flip side, the business leaders who are wrestling with employee retention are stressed and frustrated.  And then there are all the people who have a foot in each camp, trying to retain their employees while keeping an eye on job opportunities for themselves.

For the purpose of this article, we’re going to focus on how to retain your employees.  We’ll explore ideas for keeping your people dedicated and happy amid The Great Resignation.

Keep the Best Employees

Let’s start by saying that you may not want to retain all your employees.  The upheaval of the pandemic has probably revealed the employees who have what it takes to succeed in your business.  That’s not to say that the other employees are bad workers – although that’s a possibility too – but in a very real way, they may not fit the culture of your organization which creates frustration for you and them.

It’s ok – and, in fact, it is smart business – to focus on your high performers.  Give careful attention to ensuring your top people are engaged and satisfied with their job.  Your retention efforts will increase their likelihood of staying and it will promote the benefits of giving 100% to your job.  Ideally, this will provide a standard for under-performers to rise to, with the goal of helping them achieve more than they may have thought possible.

Tips for Keeping Your Best Employees

Give salary increases – This may be the time to look at your pay structure.  Are you paying people what they are worth?  Are you competitive with other companies?  Giving someone a pay increase before they are offered more money elsewhere, speaks to your proactive interest in keeping them with your organization. A raise in salary is a positive step in retaining your best employees and preventing them from joining The Great Resignation.

Provide retention bonuses – When you offer select employees a retention bonus, you are communicating their great value.  Not only are you acknowledging how important they are to the organization, but you are also reinforcing your appreciation with a key resource – money. You are “putting your money where your mouth is.”

Retention bonuses can provide the extra incentive for someone to stay when they are only somewhat interested in finding something new.  It will provide them with the extra reinsurance that staying is a good choice.

Offer non-monetary benefits – One of the biggest benefits that employees are now seeking is the ability to work remotely.  This popular byproduct of the pandemic is now a highly sought-after benefit.  If you have the ability to let employees work from home, it pays high dividends in retention.

Other non-monetary benefits include flexible schedules, generous time off, wellness stipends, community service opportunities and free life-coaches.  We dedicated a whole article to this topic here.

Help people see opportunities within their current organization – People shouldn’t have to resign to find new opportunities.  Make sure you are offering your employees new challenges within your organization.  Cross training, leadership development, and promotions should be a regular part of your discussions with employees.  These growth paths may offer the excitement your employees are looking for which will dissuade them from jumping ship.

Keep communication open – Ask employees “Are you happy?”  “Do you feel engaged with your team and the mission of the organization?” Getting answers to these questions can reveal an employee’s job satisfaction, and simultaneously, their flight potential.  This article from Harvard Business Review shares more insights on this topic of communication and employee retention.

The overarching principle is that leadership is a one-to-one sport.  Leaders must be in regular communication with their employees.  There must be a relationship in order to fully understand how to support and encourage individuals to be their best.

Put feedback into action – To tag onto the communication piece above, you should be asking yourself, “What feedback have I received from your employees – verbally and non-verbally – that I have not acted on?”  Listen to your people. Ask questions. Seek deeper understanding. Then act on that feedback.

Incentivize longer resignation notices – If people are going to leave, you can lessen the pain of the loss by having ample time to prepare.  Provide a monetary benefit for each week longer the exiting employee is willing to stay.  The more time you have, the less time you will be without someone in that role.  It will also help handoff responsibilities and relationships in a more intentional way.

Retain Your Employees Through the Great Resignation

The Great Resignation is certainly affecting businesses today, but there are reasonable things you can do to hold onto your high-performing employees.  This list, as well as other ideas that this list may have conjured up for you, are great places to start.

Consider what you can do short-term and long-term to make your organization a great place to work.  Your efforts will not only help you battle the current storm, they will also help your organization be more attractive to future candidates.