Why popular employee retention strategies aren’t enough

Retention strategies

What do you make of the most popular employee retention strategies doing the rounds today? We’re always interested in hearing from our community, so please let us know if you have found a particular strategy that works well for your organization (just post it to our LinkedIn page).

We ask because, while there’s a lot of advice out there, we have found that it all seems rather fragmented. “Pay better salaries”, “implement flexible hours”, “train your leaders”.

Unfortunately, the issue of employee attrition is too complex for a quick fix. What we need is to go back to basics and make sure we understand what truly motivates people so that we can create effective retention strategies.

Here’s our take on the five retention strategies most companies try to implement.

1. Offer an attractive salary with great benefits

We agree that this is an important element in retaining staff, but if you think that this alone will keep people happy, you are in for a surprise. While certain people are clearly very driven by money, many of us actually aren’t.

Once we get to a level where we know we can earn a good salary anywhere, we start to look for purpose, autonomy and the ability to become masters of our craft. This is called intrinsic motivation and it is incredibly powerful. It’s what drives people to take lower-paid jobs simply because we get greater fulfillment from them.

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2. Make sure you have supportive leaders

We have all heard the saying, “people don’t leave bad jobs, they leave bad managers”. An ill-equipped or unsupportive manager can cause endless frustration for their employees.

We definitely agree that managers need to be understanding, supportive and fair. In fact, we developed our Performance Management module to counteract unfair appraisals. Using our module, employees get real-time feedback from a variety of colleagues, and they get the chance to provide their own feedback to the company.

Supportive management is good. A supportive talent management framework, underpinned by data and enforced by technology is great.

3. Boost employee engagement by offering training

Learning and development opportunities are a great way to keep (and grow) high performers. All that we recommend here is ensuring that you offer a variety of training formats (including online, workshops, events, mentorships etc.) and that you back it up by giving employees to test their skills on new projects.

4. Create a positive company culture

This is a big one. Company culture can make or break your business, with toxic cultures often leading to high turnover. At the heart of a good culture are: trust, autonomy and inclusion.

5. Help employees map their career growth at your organization

Have you ever asked your employees where they see themselves in 5 years? How many of them do you think actually see themselves at your organization? Probably not very many.

We highly recommend taking the time to help employees map their career journeys. For example, you can ask them to look two years into the future and, by matching their ambitions to your company goals, you can help them see exactly what experience, training and skills they need to develop to reach their goals.

Conclusion: your retention strategy needs to be long-term, integrated, and built on an understanding of intrinsic motivation.

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