As 2024 begins, employers are eager to move beyond “The Great Resignation” of 2022 and last year’s subsequent “Great Gloom.” But what exactly are organizations doing to reduce employee turnover? And are these efforts truly effective?
We asked HR leaders and top executives to tell us what they’re doing to keep existing employees engaged and onboard. They responded with seven strategies that are making a positive difference in their organizations. We think you’ll agree that these ideas are worth a try:
- Introduce a Micro-Sabbatical Program
- Offer Employee Ownership Incentives
- Implement Mentorship and Career Development
- Balance Compensation with Transparency
- Enforce Clear Work-Life Boundaries
- Adopt a Flex-First Policy
- Personalize Acknowledgments and Rewards
To learn more about how these methods are enhancing workforce retention, read the detailed responses below…
7 Ways to Reduce Employee Turnover
1. Introduce a Micro-Sabbatical Program
When we realized employee turnover was high, we introduced a micro-sabbatical program that lets employees step back from their work for a week or two to focus on personal interests and passions. The goal is to help them unwind and recharge when they need it.
This shows our team members we value them and care about more than just their productivity on the job. In addition to offering time away, we provide support before, during, and after sabbaticals. We have resources that anyone can use to prepare for their time off and ensure a smooth transition back into their roles. This helps ensure that people return from their sabbaticals with renewed energy, better focus, and a deeper commitment to our company.
My best advice is to invest in your team members’ growth. In return, they will invest in you. As a result, you can expect happier people who are more productive and less inclined to leave.
Eugenia Syrytsia, Seasoned Recruiter and HR Expert, Admix Global
2. Offer Employee Ownership Incentives
If you’re looking for a powerful way to reduce employee turnover, think seriously about employee ownership.
We converted 5% of our company to an employee-owned structure, with three years of service required to tap into it. Considering the value of 5% of our company — even when divided among everyone on the team — this is an incentive most employees can’t bring themselves to leave.
Christopher Olson, General Partner, Azalea City Tax & Accounting
3. Implement Mentorship and Career Development
Our mentorship and career development program has been instrumental in reducing employee turnover after COVID-19. It pairs new employees with experienced mentors who provide guidance and support.
The mentors help newcomers understand their roles, navigate company culture, and set career goals. And they help new hires achieve those goals through regular check-ins and ongoing training opportunities.
This effort is fostering a sense of belonging and support among new employees. People more quickly build strong relationships and feel their managers value their personal growth. This personalized approach to professional development from Day One enhances job satisfaction and creates a positive work environment that is reducing employee turnover.
Catherine Cooke, Co-Founder, Upskillwise
4. Balance Compensation with Transparency
We pride ourselves on offering fair compensation. However, money alone isn’t enough to retain great teammates. That’s why we balance short-term and long-term elements of our compensation program. This ensures that rewards and incentives align to keep teammates engaged, happy, and motivated over time.
In addition, we believe compensation transparency is essential. This is especially important early in the hiring process, so every candidate understands compensation and is on board with the organization’s policies and programs.
New hires with fewer established loyal relationships are more likely to leave if they find a better-paying role elsewhere. That’s why we measure the cost of labor in each geographic location, so we can establish fair market value for every role and region of operation. This ensures that candidates know they’re getting the best deal when they accept an offer, so they’re less likely to seek “greener pastures” elsewhere.
Robert Kaskel, Chief People Officer, Checkr
5. Enforce Clear Work-Life Boundaries
When our management team agreed to enforce work-life balance policies across the board, our employee retention rate increased.
We noticed most of our employees were struggling to maintain work-life balance while pursuing career advancement at our company. They were pouring themselves into their work at an unsustainable rate that would only lead to burnout over time.
To prevent this, I enlisted management to enact definitive boundaries between work and personal time. This included prohibiting email activity outside of work hours and on weekends, discouraging overtime, and introducing remote work options. The goal was to help employees commit to a higher quality of work-life balance and to reduce employee turnover, which we have achieved.
Meg Hellerstedt, President, Sylvane
6. Adopt a Flex-First Policy
To reduce employee turnover, we decided to try a “flex-first” scheduling policy, with a hybrid mix of working from home and at the office. What makes it work is the combination of trust and flexibility.
The important thing is keeping everyone on the same page with open, real-talk communication. We check in regularly using team meetings and surveys to take everyone’s temperature on what’s happening, and we adjust as needed.
My advice is to tune your ear to what your people are saying and shape your work policies to align with their input as much as possible. It’s a major game-changer. You’ll see results if you focus on keeping a feeling of flexibility and communication flowing through the organization’s veins.
Lou Reverchuk, Co-Founder and CEO, EchoGlobal
7. Personalize Acknowledgments and Rewards
We have a large, global organization with very low turnover. I believe this is largely because we acknowledge strong performers with rewards that are tailored to whatever they value most at work.
One enormous challenge with managing a large team is that everyone has unique needs and priorities. Some people are focused primarily on career advancement. Others are more concerned with work-life balance and devoting time to their personal life and outside passions. Because of this, “one-size-fits-all” recognition programs are less likely to keep people engaged and onboard.
Instead, start by learning what drives and motivates each team member. Then customize recognition accordingly. For instance, those focused on career progress are more likely to stick around if they know strong performance will lead to a promotion or other advancement opportunities. Others who prioritize work-life balance are likely to be motivated by more flexible scheduling or extra work-from-home days. The opportunity to “earn” these rewards can keep them more committed and engaged with work.
By matching recognition to employee interests, you align more closely with their vision of the ideal workplace. This lowers the chance that they’ll look for employment elsewhere. It also shows that you see, hear, and value everyone on your team as a unique individual, and you’re committed to their satisfaction and wellbeing.
Rob Boyle, Marketing Operations Director, Airswift