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Retention is Key to Growth: Strategies to Retain Your Best Employees in 2016

Employers take note! A new Career Builder survey found that 21 percent of employees plan to leave their jobs in 2016. That figure represents a five percent increase from January 2015. Among younger workers, those between the ages of 18 and 34, the increase is even more dramatic. Three out of 10 of employees in that age group plan to leave their jobs this year, up from 23 percent last year.

If you think it’s no big deal, think again. Studies show that employee turnover can cost companies as much as 30 – 50 percent of the employees’ annual salary. That doesn’t even take into account the toll that frequent resignations take on staff morale and productivity.

“Just because a person is satisfied with their job doesn’t necessarily mean they aren’t looking for new work,” said Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer at CareerBuilder. “Because of this, it’s critical to keep up with your employees’ needs and continue to challenge them with work they feel is meaningful.”

How is this done? We’ve put together some suggestions that can help you to maintain your strongest talent in 2016.

1. Know what matters to your staff

Career Builder asked survey respondents what they valued in their jobs. They found that jobseekers are most concerned with job stability (65 percent), affordable benefits (59 percent), location (56 percent), a good boss (51 percent) and a good work culture (46 percent). Respondents said that these factors were even more important than salary.

Yet, employers won’t know if their employees are satisfied in these areas without asking them. One way to find out is by giving employees anonymous, confidential surveys that specifically inquire about their job satisfaction. Another idea is to meet with top talent to gage their level of engagement and to find out whether they have suggestions or concerns that might help them or the team function better and to be happier.

2. Consider the perks that pay off

Respondents to the Career Builder poll favored the following perks most:

  • Half-day Fridays: 38 percent
  • On-site fitness center: 23 percent
  • Daily catered lunches: 22 percent
  • Massages: 18 percent
  • Being able to wear jeans: 16 percent

Perhaps not all of these perks are realistic for your company, but why not consider offering what you can? Depending on the nature of your business, maybe you could allow staff to wear jeans once a week. It may seem unimportant, but these small perks and your willingness to consider their requests can mean a great deal to your staff.

3. Prioritize internal hiring

Global Recruiting Trends 2016, a report by LinkedIn Talent Solutions uncovered a weakness in the retention strategies of many organizations.

“Employee retention is top of mind among talent acquisition leaders. However, internal hiring (which helps address employee retention) is significantly lower on the priority scale,” the report found. “Furthermore, less than one-third say that internal hiring is central to their strategy. Those who are concerned about retention will prioritize internal recruiting … Not only should talent leaders formalize the internal recruiting process, but recruiters should maintain relationships with candidates post-hire and keep them in their long-term pipeline.”

4. Form relationships with your employees

While professional boundaries are important, showing employees you care about them, the development of their careers and their families goes a long way toward retaining top performers. If at all possible, have an open door policy. Don’t be afraid to ask team members about their children’s sporting events or school plays. Take time to sit down with employees to ask about their future aspirations with the company. It might make the difference between keeping and losing your best talent.

5. Trust team members

Employees value jobs where they can grow and learn. Sometimes that means taking risks. Don’t be afraid to give team members challenges that will take them out of their comfort zones. They will probably thank you later.

“When you take someone and place them in a genuine stretch assignment, you not only motivate them — you motivate everyone around them. Take a few risks, appoint people before they’re 100 percent ready …. Demonstrate that talent really does progress around here and that success is rewarded quickly,” says HR professional, Neil Morrison.

6. Hire Smart

When it is time to hire a new staff member, pull out all the stops to make sure the person who is chosen is the best candidate for the job and the most compatible with the company culture. The harder you work to find the right fit, the more likely the employee you choose will remain in the job.

“If employees can feel safe and believe that they can contribute at a high level, they are more likely to stay longer and contribute more effectively. To create the conditions for this to happen, you need to match the candidates to the culture from the very beginning. If you want to get the best retention results, you need a hiring strategy that communicates the values and culture of the company,” says Leanne Abraham, writing for LinkedIn