United States: Current HR Trends For Keeping Top Employees

Last Updated: June 26 2019
Article by Lauri Dahlberg

Employee turnover can have a significant impact on a company's bottom line. As much as any employer tries to limit turnover, it will inevitably happen, for a variety of reasons. Understanding the causes of turnover and looking at potential solutions can help decrease turnover rates and save money on your human resources.

Turnover Causes and Solutions
Poor Hiring Selection: When employers don't spend enough time up-front to identify the hiring need, it makes it difficult to find the right person with the skills to perform the job.

Poor Employment Practices: Companies that don't offer a work environment and culture that supports their employees with benefits, fair compensation, performance feedback and opportunities to interact with others will find it difficult to retain employees.

Poor Relationship with the Immediate Manager or Supervisor: Employers need to put the right people into people management roles and provide them with the authority to make decisions for their direct reports. This can help to avoid poor relationships, which can cause turnover.

Less than Competitive Pay Increases: To avoid turnover, employers need to pay their top performers well. This could be done by not providing every employee with the same pay increase percentage, and instead focusing on providing larger increases to those who deserve it.

Limited Career & Personal Development Opportunities: Companies need to be transparent with employees regarding what it takes to advance. If no promotional opportunities exist, provide opportunities to take on new tasks or develop skills.

Inflexibility or Concerns with Work/Life Balance: A primary reason for turnover stems from a lack of work/life balance. Companies should allow employees to take time off, and, if possible, provide opportunities to work from home.

Not all turnover can be avoided, and sometimes turnover is necessary to continue successfully operating your business. However, limiting turnover and increasing retention can help save you money and increase the engagement of your "human assets." Here are some current trends to improve retention.

HR Trends to Improve Retention
Flexibility and Work/Life Balance: It's important for employers to allow their employees to find a good work/life balance. This can be done by offering flexible work schedules, Paid Time Off policies that allow employees to actually take time away from work, and company-sponsored family activities. It also helps for managers and leaders to set the example while promoting a good work/life balance.

Performance Feedback: A lot can change within a year which is why it's important to provide employee feedback throughout the year and not just annually. Employers should tie expectations to the organization's strategic initiatives and the employee's career growth. Discussions should also focus on skill development and identifying career paths which may include taking on new responsibilities, skill development and/or promotion.

Equitable Compensation: Compensation obviously ranks high when working to improve retention. Employee compensation should be reviewed regularly, and that review should include industry standards, geographic market and specific job responsibilities. Employers should also review internal equity to ensure individuals in similar positions are paid fairly.

Generational Considerations: Companies now employ individuals from four or five different generations. Each generation is motivated by different factors and approaches work in a unique way. Employers wishing to retain employees will make sure the culture and benefits appeal to individuals from various generations and will create opportunities for employees to work together and collaborate.

Social Media Access & Utilization: Social media can be a powerful tool for an organization when utilized appropriately for recruitment, branding and marketing efforts. Employers should have a social media policy that outlines company expectations of employees and provides guidelines for how to utilize social media in the right way.

Wellness Initiatives: Wellness initiatives are a popular trend currently being carried out by employers and appreciated by employees. Some options include providing access to health and well-being tools via mobile apps, promoting benefits offered by the company so that employees utilize them, developing health-related contests in the workplace employees can participate in, and offering healthy snacks or meals in lieu of pizza, doughnuts and other treats. Through these benefits, employers can help improve the overall health and well-being of employees which can reduce health care costs. Wellness initiatives have also shown to improve productivity. Don't forget to consider medical, emotional, financial and mental well-being into those wellness initiatives.

Engage Middle Management: Another way to retain employees is to engage middle management. Employers should share strategy and get buy-in from this group, allowing middle managers to communicate important messages to employees. By retiring command and control, employers provide their middle management with the power to make decisions, which is appreciated by the employees who report to them directly.

Peer Interaction: Generally, employees with the strongest connections to other employees are among the highest performers. Peers are the number one reason people go the extra mile. Take advantage of this and encourage peer-to-peer recognition and interaction among employees.

Show Appreciation: Employees want to feel valued and appreciated. It's important for employers to find ways to show appreciation for a job well-done. Managers should determine the way each of their direct reports prefers to be appreciated, and then follow through with the appropriate type of recognition. Appreciation doesn't have to be anything formal, but it should be specific.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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