Solving the IT Hiring Challenge-Employee Retention

This is the second of a three-part series discussing common challenges MSP businesses face when it comes to hiring and onboarding, retaining top talent, and reducing employee turnover, providing you with actionable ways to overcome them. In the first post, we gave you best practices for owning the hiring and onboarding process. In this post, we’ll cover the importance of developing an employee retention program, how to set one up at your organization, program ideas and more.

Before we dive in, let’s take a look at why employees are leaving in the first place. According to a study done by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics three million employees leave their job voluntarily every month, which ends up costing employers six to nine months of an employee’s salary just to train a replacement for them. Just let that sink in for a minute, as we go on to discuss the reasons WHY employees are leaving their jobs.

Among the top reasons are:

  1. Employee burnout
  2. Bad manager
  3. Stagnant salary
  4. No opportunities for growth

Luckily, you have the opportunity to proactively diminish these very real concerns amongst your employee base and ensure you keep top talent by implementing an employee retention program.

Building Your Employee Retention Program

Your employee retention program should be built around your employee’s main wants and needs. However, these won’t be the same across every organization, which is why it’s important to maintain a positive company culture. Having a transparent work environment will help you gain valuable insight into the types of benefits and programs that will best suit your employee base. 

That being said, building programs to address the four concerns listed above is a viable and important starting point.

1. Employee Burnout

A global study by EY found that 74 percent of workers want the ability to work flexibly. Workplace flexibility encompasses working from home policies, flexibility to make your own schedule, substantial or unlimited paid time off (PTO), etc. And if employee requests aren’t enough to prove flexible work is becoming the future, a study done by TinyPulse found that companies who support remote work have 25 percent lower employee turnover than companies that don't. Flexible work policies help to ensure your employees are getting the rest/recharge they need to avoid burnout, keeping them productive while working—ultimately saving you money.  

2. Bad Manager 

There’s no denying employees are more likely to stay in an organization where they can trust management and senior leadership. However, instilling trust starts from the top down, and maintaining it is a team effort. How does your organization foster a culture of trust and transparency? Does that trust go both ways? Do you provide management with the tools, resources, and training needed to be effective in their roles? These are all questions your organization should be asking themselves to ensure employees are receiving the respect, mentorship and support needed to be successful in their roles. This ties back to hiring for cultural fit over what looks good on paper. Your management team can make or break your organization and how long employees stay with you.

3. Stagnant Salary

This is where things can get a bit tricky; while salary may be one of the main reasons an employee leaves your organization you don’t necessarily want to tie it to your retention program. Your retention program should focus on the non-monetary benefits you can offer to your employees, and when done right, they often out-weigh salary alone. However, make sure you do have a process in place for assessing your employee’s compensation. No employee wants to stay at an organization where they don’t feel valued.

4. No Opportunities for Growth

A recent study by Udemy uncovered that 46 percent of employees cite limited opportunities to learning new skills as the top reason why they are bored in their current roles and looking for a change. This gives organizations a huge opportunity to provide employees with the learnings and growth they are looking for. Team training, certifications, networking, professional development, and cross-training are all viable options. The best part is it’s a win-win; your employees continue expanding their skill set, are constantly challenged, and your organizations reap the benefits of highly skilled, loyal employees.

Things to Remember as You Build Your Retention Program

According to research by Kronos and Future Workplace, 87 percent of HR leaders are aware of the importance of employee retention and consider it a primary concern. If your organization doesn’t have a dedicated HR department, it’s up to your management team to be the advocates and driving force behind getting your retention program set-up.

However, remember your program cannot be one-size-fits-all; different cultures, regions, tenures, and generations will value these offerings differently. Having a robust program will help guarantee that you are casting a wide net when it comes to meeting all of your employees’ needs.

Instilling a culture of open communication will also help you gauge how to best build and manage your programs. Retention programs cannot be set-it-and-forget type programs—they require constant attention and improvement. Be sure you’re measuring the effectiveness of your program so you can make adjustments when and where needed.

Stand by for our final post, where I’ll dive into tips and tricks around proactively reducing employee churn! 


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