-by Eirini-Sossani Lagou, HR Consultant (EU Affairs) at INTRASOFT International

The long-term success of any company relies on the loyalty and quality of its employees. In this rapidly changing business environment, in which corporate growth and profitability are crucial, companies need to reform their strategy for finding and retaining talents.

According to research[1] 34% of workers say they are loyal and committed to their company. Frequent turnover has a negative impact on productivity, company revenue and employee morale. Whenever a business fails to retain and replaces a salaried employee, it can cost up to 6 to 9 months’ salary. A lack of loyalty isn’t just employees who are leaving. In many cases, they stay on and show disloyalty through attitudes in a way, that’s worse than if they left. That’s why employee retention and employee engagement should be high on every organization’s list of priorities and why creating effective retention strategies to decrease turnover should be one of management’s most important jobs. Employee engagement addresses employees’ level of motivation, involvement, or emotional commitment.

If companies are going to excel, they need two factors: loyal employees and loyal customers. The link between employee engagement and productivity is expected. Research has found that engaged workers are 12% more productive than their less engaged workers. Loyal employees mean loyal customers. Loyal employees can uphold the brand and ensure the sustainability of the business and they always “go the extra mile”.

The reality is that employees are only as loyal to the company as they believe the company is loyal to them. Thus, in the end, building an organization of committed, loyal employees ultimately come down to demonstrating to employees that the company deserves their loyalty. This is why companies need to provide a reason for their employees to be loyal. Employees want challenging work, recognition and respect, opportunities for advancement, professional growth and development, and a flexible work environment. Many studies have shown that when the employees are engaged, the business flourishes. Engagement drives performance and is a key differentiator when it comes to growth and innovation.

Retention is more of a strategy than an outcome. It takes careful attention and maintenance to raise an engaged and loyal workforce. Data has shown that offering an instant pay benefit, as part of a comprehensive benefits package, can significantly improve employee retention. However, the pay is just a satisfier, not a motivator. Succeeding in your employee retention efforts requires you to think about things from the team’s point of view. Although all employees are different and each has unique desires and goals, it’s a safe bet to assume that all of them want to know they are being paid at or above market rates and have good benefits. They want to be challenged and excited by the job they’re asked to do. They want to feel that they are appreciated by their employers and treated fairly. An effective employee retention program addresses all of these concerns.

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Give your employees reasons to stay

  • Onboarding and orientation – Every new hire should be set up for success from the first day of work. The job orientation is just one component of onboarding, which can last for weeks or months, depending on each organization. Aim to develop an onboarding process where new staff members not only learn about the job but also the company culture and how they can contribute, with ongoing discussions, goals, and opportunities to address questions as they arrive.
  • Mentorship programs – Pairing a new employee with a mentor is critical for a positive work environment. Mentoring or coaching is about much more than just telling someone what to do — it requires working with employees to make decisions, solve problems and develop skills. These relationships not only benefit the mentee, but also the mentor, who benefit from the fresh viewpoint of new hires.
  • Employee compensation – In this competitive labor market, it’s essential for companies to offer attractive compensation packages. That includes salaries, of course, but also bonuses, paid time off, health benefits, retirement plans and all the other perks that can distinguish one workplace from another.
  • Recognition and rewards systems – Every person wants to feel appreciated for what they do. Managers and team leaders could make it a habit to thank their direct reports when they perform well, whether it’s with a sincere email or an extra day off. It is vital for the employees to show them appreciation by sharing how their hard work helps the organization.
  • Work-life balance – If staff is expected to regularly work long hours, the company will likely run into issues with employee retention. Burnout is real. A healthy work-life balance is essential, and people need to know that management understands its importance. By encouraging staff to take vacation time, and if late nights are necessary to wrap up a project, offering late arrivals or an extra day off to compensate, the job satisfaction will be increased dramatically. Many companies offer telecommuting or flexible schedules to improve work-life balance for their employees.
  • Training and development – In any position and industry, professionals want the possibility for advancement. Smart managers invest in their workers’ professional development and seek opportunities for them to grow. Some companies pay for employees to attend conferences or industry events each year or provide tuition reimbursement or continuing education training. Some others invest in learning management systems and online courses.
  • Communication and feedback – Keeping open lines of communication is essential for employee retention. The employees should feel that they can come to the supervisors with ideas, questions and concerns and likewise, they expect supervisors to be honest and open with them about improvements they need to make in their own performance. The connection with each staff member on a regular basis is the key to success.
  • Involvement – Creating an environment in which people have an impact on decisions and actions that affect their jobs. Employee involvement is a management and leadership philosophy about how people are most enabled to contribute to continuous improvement and the ongoing success of their work organization. This involvement increases ownership and commitment, retains the best employees and fosters an environment in which people choose to be motivated and contributing.
  • Employee Empowerment – This means that everyone who works for the company is personally invested in the company’s success and growth. When employees are respected for the talents and skills they bring to the business, it has a motivating effect that can be contagious and it builds a sense of partnership among co-workers. In addition, a motivating manager builds trust among employees at all levels, including workers in decisions and maintaining open communication.
  • Fostering teamwork – When people work together, they can achieve more than they would have individually. Foster a culture of collaboration that compromises individuals’ working styles, by clarifying team objectives, business goals and roles and encouraging everyone to contribute ideas and solutions.

Loyal employees show up, deliver results and consistently go above and beyond to support the company. In the end, people make companies successful.

Any strategy or business plan relies on motivated and engaged people to make it happen.

[1] by Gallup: Employee Engagement on the Rise in the U.S.

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