Employee Retention Strategies: 5 Low-cost Options to Consider

Is your company hiring right now? If so, you’re certainly not alone.

During COVID and the “Great Resignation”, workers left jobs for many reasons including better salaries, improved work-life balance (such as more flexibility and work-from-home options), or the opportunity to work for a company that had a culture more in line with their own values.

In some cases, mass resignations were accompanied by companies downsizing quickly, creating crises in industries like aviation. When travel came roaring back, employees who had gone on to other fields were no longer available, resulting in staffing shortages and transportation nightmares that are expected to last throughout 2023.

Now that we’re in a “post-COVID” world (or at least over the worst of it), many businesses are still grappling with employee losses. Everywhere you go – in person and online – you see “Help wanted” and ‘We’re hiring” ads and posters.

But finding and hiring staff is only half the battle. Keeping good employees is critical, because losing an employee can actually cost you money.

Just how costly is it to lose someone? Statistics vary, but the HR consulting firm Harrisons calculates that the total cost of replacing an employee ranges from 30-150% of their salary due to factors including training, in-house hiring expenses and staff time, and loss of productivity.

Employee retention ideas that won’t kill your budget

To keep your best talent, salary is important, but it’s not everything. As we learned during the last three years, employees will leave a job that pays more if they feel they’ll be more appreciated or have a better experience somewhere else.

So if your budget is already stretched thin or you’re looking for ideas beyond a bigger salary, here are five lower cost strategies to help improve employee retention without breaking your budget:

  • Survey your employees – Wondering what matters to your team? Ask them. People have different ideas about what’s important at work, so the best place to start is to create an employee satisfaction survey and ask employees what helps them feel engaged, supported, fulfilled and inspired. You can make submissions anonymous if you want and even ask direct questions such as, “Other than salary increases, what could we do to make our office a better place to be and work?”
  • Onboarding, mentorship, and training programs – Developing comprehensive onboarding, mentoring, and training programs does take time and effort, but they help employees at all levels build skills and visualise a long-term path with your company. According to 2019 Work Institute research, out of every 100 workers, 22 leave for better professional development options.
  • Create flexible work options – Working from home took off during the pandemic, and many employees were reluctant to come back to a full-time office schedule. If you can, find a way to allow employees to work at least part time from home, or make their time on the clock more flexible to support family needs, hobbies, physical activities, or community involvement.
  • Support healthy behaviours – Many companies are offering mental health counselling and exercise classes as part of their benefits packages. If these aren’t in your budget, you can still support employees’ mental and physical well-being by offering healthy office snacks, changing rooms with showers for those who bike to work or want to get in a walk/run at lunch, or even an occasional in-office yoga, meditation or stretching class.
  • Show and communicate your appreciation – Employees want to feel that their work matters and that they’re contributing to the success of your team. An annual evaluation isn’t enough to discuss goals, improvements, and hard work; find ways to give positive and constructive feedback on a regular basis. Also, people gauge appreciation differently (not everyone likes to be recognised in front of a crowd), so include questions about recognition options in your employee survey.

Looking for more ways to improve employee retention? Contact the experts at Accru today.

About the Author
Ainsley has a logical brain and likes things to balance. Coupled with a natural ability for maths (first evident early in school reports!) a career in accounting was always likely.
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