10 Employee Retention Strategies to Ward Off the Great Resignation 

Mar 17

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A growing number of people have left their jobs in recent years, in search of better employment and greater self-realization. Many organizations- large and small- have been impacted by the Great Resignation. Workers often cite burnout due to increased workloads and decreased support as their reason for leaving. 

The problem is, this mass exodus puts a strain on the employees that remain, contributing to their own burnout and leaving them at risk of joining the stampede out of the office. Instituting employee retention policies has become the top priority for many organizations lately as they struggle to keep their doors open and attract new talent to share the workload. 

So, how can you go about managing employee retention to keep your workers happy – and employed? From employee appreciation gestures to professional development and self-care initiatives, we have a lot of ideas for how to improve employee retention – and attract new top talent to keep your organization strong and resilient. 

Here are 10 innovative employee retention strategies for 2022.

1. Make Mental Health Matter

The big idea 

Mental health in the workplace impacts everybody. When workers address depression and burnout with the help of a mental healthcare professional, they have an 86% drop in absenteeism, they’re more productive, and retention improves overall. Helping employees manage their mental health – including reducing workplace stress – is an employee retention strategy that’ll pay off in happier, healthier workers.

How to do it

  • Offer online counseling services.
  • Provide empathy and leadership training for managers.
  • Give employees more personal time off.
  • Hold a workshop like the FreshTalk Wellness’Stress & Burnout Series, a three-part series that offers strategies to reduce stress and improve mental wellbeing at work.
  • Encourage employees to practice meditation, enjoy hobbies, and take paid time off.

2. Build a Stress-Free Workplace with a Rock-Solid Team

The big idea

Stress is the great debilitator. It gets in the way of an employee’s sense of wellbeing and ultimately spreads burnout throughout an entire organization. If you can get a handle on team stress, you can bolster your organization’s overall sense of unity. Team unity builds employee loyalty and offers a sense of belonging that keeps your coworkers coming back to work on Monday. 

How to do it

  • Provide access to a meditation app.
  • Create a meditation club to practice mindfulness meditation during the day.
  • Hold regular stress management seminars.
  • Have regular employee lunch-and-learns around stress.

Offer weekly or monthly team-building activities and workshops like Divon Academy’s Stress Buster & Stronger Teams Program to help employees develop strategies and tools to reduce stress and build a more cohesive team – together.

3. Weave Wellness into the Workplace

The big idea

The sedentary nature of working from home and the loneliness that often accompanies it have a profoundly negative impact on people’s emotional and physical health. A healthy employee is a happy employee, and happy employees tend to stay where they are and aim to do their best. Whether they work on-site or from home – or both – investing in employee wellness shows employees that you care about their health and wellbeing. 

How to do it

  • Create a robust employee wellness program, and market it to increase engagement.
  • Provide wearable fitness monitors with a wellness app, and create an initiative around exercise.
  • Develop an on-site guided health initiative that includes health screenings.
  • Hold health and wellness workshops at regular intervals.
  • Offer free gym memberships or access to an online workout series.
  • Give employees access to a healthy meal-planning app.
  • Gift the team with swag that promotes healthy habits – think water bottles and workout gear.

Book Erin Levine’s Workplace Wellness Program, an event series that provides education and tools to improve the health and wellbeing of your employees.

4. Support Skills Development

The big idea 

One of the best ways to retain employees is to invest in their future through professional development programming. The more skills your employees have, the better they’ll be at their job – and that’s a major factor for job satisfaction and workplace wellness. 

How to do it

  • Offer one-on-one and/or group mentoring.
  • Create a roster of weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly employee development workshops.
  • Help your employees create their own professional development goals – and achieve them – through an on-site or off-site retreat.
  • Cross-train employees to expand their skill sets and give them a deeper understanding of how their role fits into the bigger picture.

5. Earn Their Trust and Loyalty

The big idea

Building trust is a critical skill for employees and managers alike, and it’s one of the most important ways to improve retention. Employees who distrust their employer or their company’s leadership are far less likely to stick around, while those who feel comfortable with their leaders and co-workers and know they can rely on the company and its leadership are likely to stay for the long-haul. Building trust strengthens teams, improves collaboration and increases job satisfaction.

How to do it

  • Give employees an appropriate level of autonomy in their job.
  • Create a workplace culture built on shared values, and hold yourself, your employees and your managers accountable to those values.
  • Invest in professional training opportunities for leaders to help them improve their emotional intelligence and communications skills – and a solutions-oriented focus to solving problems.
  • Create an inclusive environment through diversity training. Pair new employees with a more experienced mentor to help them learn the ropes and fit in faster.
  • Follow through on promises, and be honest and transparent – even when it’s awkward. 

6. Create and Communicate Clear Goals and Values

The big idea

As many organizations find themselves trying to regain their footing, employees may be left wondering what’s next for the company – and for their future. To clear the confusion and set the stage for success, create clear goals for your company, and make them part of your values and workplace culture. Communicate your vision to employees, and help them understand what their role is in helping the organization achieve them. Not only do transparent organizational goals increase employee engagement and buy-in, but they also improve decision-making, productivity and accountability. 

How to do it

  • Set realistic, achievable and actionable goals, and put them in writing – but don’t use buzzwords or jargon.
  • Provide leaders with the skills training and tools they need to model behavior that’s consistent with the company’s goals and values.
  • Repeat your goals often – make them part of your internal branding. Promote them through multiple communication channels, such as social media, internal communication platforms, wall posters and the company newsletter, to keep them on the brain.
  • Share updates and achievements regularly with all of your employees – and celebrate milestones with a catered lunch, fun activity, or special employee appreciation gifts.

7. Perk Up the Workplace

The big idea

People love added value! Employment-seekers are increasingly looking for sweet perks – and the gainfully employed continue to leave perk-less jobs for greener pastures. You don’t need a huge budget to come up with a palatable perks package as part of your employee retention plan. Ideate a range of options for extra benefits you can offer your workers, and put your ideas to a vote to see what perks your employees prefer. 

How to do it

  • Offer free food. Consider instituting Taco Tuesday or Pho Friday, or subscribe to a snack delivery service that brings in tasty treats for employees to nosh on while they work. Search the Thriver marketplace for numerous options for feeding the masses.
  • Put a coffee bar in the office – free + coffee = productivity.
  • Provide employees with ergonomic workstations or standing desks.
  • Create quiet spaces for employees to use for meditation or prayer.
  • Make your workplace pet-friendly, or offer pet insurance or pet sick-leave.
  • Give at-home workers an office allowance for equipment, an ergonomic set-up or meal delivery.
  • Offer mental-health benefits, like online counseling or life coaching.
  • Make office life fun with regular on-site or virtual activities like wine tastings, art lessons and games – or turn a little-used conference room into a game room with a few options like Foosball, a pool table, a vintage video game console and a chess board. 

8. Gift Them Your Gratitude

The big idea

The best employee retention strategies are the ones that come from your heart. Expressing genuine appreciation for your employees is a surefire way to inspire trust and loyalty. Employees who feel appreciated have more confidence and satisfaction in their work – and they’re more likely to give it their all. 

How to do it

  • Let employees and teams know when they’ve done a great job. Send personal notes, or announce it over the communication system. Celebrate your teams’ achievements with fanfare and high-fives.
  • Award plaques or trophies to high-performing employees and teams. 
  • Bring in a caterer for a monthly or quarterly employee breakfast or lunch to express your gratitude for all of their hard work – this is a great time to award those achievement prizes!
  • Send workers a gift every Employee Appreciation Day – popular presentes include a specially curated basket of goodies or a gift box packed with specialty coffees, wines or chocolates.

9. Lasso Young Leaders

The big idea

One of the most effective employee retention techniques is to identify potential leaders in your organization, acknowledge the value they add and provide them with opportunities to develop their natural leadership skills. Employees who see a clear and exciting future at your company are likely to grow old with it.

How to do it

  • Cross-train employees to help them develop new skills and learn the intricate workings of the organization.
  • Match potential leaders with a mentor within the company to help fast-track them to leadership success.
  • Encourage highly capable employees to put in for promotions when they come up. Even if they don’t get it, they’ll know you’re in their corner, rooting for them. 
  • Provide leadership workshops and seminars to help them build the soft skills they need to be an effective motivator, mentor, cheerleader and ally.

Our event series, Young Leadership & New Manager Program by Divon Academy, helps up-and-coming leaders develop the mindset and skills needed for successful leadership.

10. Set Up Self-Care Spaces

The big idea

You can’t force employees to practice self-care, but you can promote it at work, and doing just that is an effective strategy to retain employees. Self-care can mean a lot of things, like eating healthy food, exercising on the regular, meditating daily, and taking personal time off. It can also mean relaxing, having fun and laughing with co-workers. Self-care at the office goes a long way toward physical and mental wellbeing, and providing the time, space and tools to help employees to find balance is a key factor in reducing stress and increasing employee engagement and productivity.

How to do it 

  • Provide a quiet, dimly-lit space for a quick lunchtime nap to help employees recharge and face the B-side of the day refreshed.
  • Set up a fitness room with workout equipment, which can be as simple as yoga mats, exercise bands and a set of hand weights.
  • Thriver has a wide array of health and wellness services. One of them is sure to fit your workspace self-care needs.

These are just a few of the many ideas out there to help you improve employee retention. From worker retreats to good, healthy eats, Thriver has all of the company culture, workplace wellness, professional development, and team bonding activities your company needs to implement a retention plan for employees – all on a single platform. All marketplace providers are thoroughly vetted by Thriver’s Culture Experts to make sure your experience is genuine and gives your employees a reason – or two – to stay. 

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