Turnover is costly. Studies show that it can cost upwards of 400% of an employee’s annual pay to replace someone, including recruitment, severance, losses in productivity, and both administrative and technology costs for their departure.
Unfortunately, employee churn is more common than you might think. According to staff retention agency Life Work Solutions, 50% of people recruited into an organization will leave within two years and one in four new hires will leave within six months.
Nearly 50% of all organizations experience regular problems with employee retention, and considering the high costs to replace employees, it’s easier and cheaper to keep your current staff happy.
But how can you ensure that your faithful staff remains so? The key is in understanding what drives them and providing enough incentives – both financial and non-financial – to keep them around.
Encourage Work-Life Balance
Employees tend to have better attitudes and relationships toward the companies they work for when they have a sense of control and ownership over their lives outside of work. Balanced employees are shown to be more motivated, less stressed, and more productive.
Yet many companies still encourage employees to work longer hours with fewer vacations. In fact, U.S. workers are some of the most overworked employees in the world, with 85.8% of males and 66.5% of females working more than 40 hours per week. Yet, more than 55% of all U.S. employees took no vacation time last year.
Companies that seek to improve morale and reduce stress can encourage employees to take time off when needed and to prioritize time spent out of the office as well as time spent in the office. Some organizations have even taken steps to offer health incentives for employees, such as gym memberships or the ability to work from home when necessary.
Reduce Workplace Stressors
Another way to reduce employee churn is to reduce stressors that workers experience during daily operations. While stressful situations are almost inevitable in some cases, there are several things employers can do to reduce the chances of burnout from chronic stress.
According to one report on attitudes in the American workplace, 80% of workers feel stress while on the job, nearly half say they need help in learning how to manage stress, and 42% say their co-workers need such help.
Employers can lessen workplace stress by recognizing signs of burnout early, which can be caused by things like:
- Overwhelming job demands
- Role conflicts or conflicting job demands
- Role ambiguity or lack of adequate information on job performance
- Lack of appropriate resources
- Lack of social support
- Lack of feedback
- Little to no participation in decision making
Clarifying roles and making sure that employees are sharing the burden can help mitigate stress in the workplace and enable employees to fulfill their roles in a positive and less straining way.
Automate Complicated or Mundane Tasks
Stress can also be mitigated through automation of more complicated and time-consuming processes, or those that would otherwise cause boredom – like administrative tasks, billing, invoicing, or even fieldwork-related tasks like note taking.
Moving away from a paper-based system to one that’s automated, for example, can streamline the environment for both your field service workers and your office staff. Field service management software can:
- Connect your field operations with dispatch and your back office to ensure seamless, bidirectional communication.
- Improve safety numbers by reducing distractions while en route.
- Decrease frustration for field service workers by providing account history, agreements, contracts, and checklists within the application.
- Improve first-time fix rates, enabling the worker to close a job out and focus on the next.
- Reduce the travel time between jobs, delivering for greater efficiency and less time on the road and in potentially poor traffic conditions.
Focusing on automation tools that improve workflow and handle complicated documentation processes can reduce frustration and save time throughout the day, leading to either more productive working hours or fewer working hours (or both).
Provide Growth Opportunities
People are more likely to stay at jobs where they know they will receive opportunities for personal and professional advancement. While it may not always be possible to provide a robust growth ladder for every employee or position, there are ways that you can encourage personal growth throughout the company.
Allowing workers to improve their resume through training programs or by learning a valuable skill (even if it’s not directly related to their current role) can help employees feel connected to their position within your company.
You can also give employees more autonomy or responsibilities as they perform well, allowing them the ability to set their own schedule or manage their own tasks as a sign of good faith. Alternatively, you can give employees the opportunity to coach and mentor other employees.
Many employees also look for incentives as a determining factor in whether or not to stay at a company. In fact, more than four out of 10 employees look for rewards and recognition programs and almost eight out of 10 claimed they’d work harder if employers recognized their contributions more.
Offering an incentive or rewards program is a great way to motivate workers, as long as the incentives are appropriately enticing. According to Gavel International, incentive programs are external motivators, and so they must provide something of value to be considered effective:
“A person with a Lamborghini won’t be motivated by the offer of a ’97 Ford Taurus. A new French press might excite a married couple, but it probably won’t motivate their preteen to get better grades. At the same time, the incentive must be attainable.”
Studies show that both financial and non-financial incentives can work if they’re properly enticing. Cash and salary bonuses, for example, can be highly influential motivators, but they can also be hard to maintain (and hard to dole out for smaller companies).
Non-financial incentives, like promotions, office perks, or even simple recognition and praise, can be equally effective, however. Workers will typically value whichever reward makes them feel most valued.
The key to keeping employees happy is really threefold: recognizing stress, reducing stress (through automation), and offering rewards when job performance is high.
In some cases, small businesses have an advantage in that they have fewer employees to make happy and can dedicate more energy to recognizing signs of stress and making employees feel welcomed and valued.
But any organization can develop programs that incentivize employees – regardless of size. The thing to keep in mind is that your employees will stay at your company if they feel that their work is recognized, rewarded, and that they’re not being taken advantage of (overworked and underpaid).
If you can make employees feel special, they will stick around for longer and they will be much happier when they step into the office.