Replacing employees costs valuable time and money, not to mention the disruption it can cause to business operations, productivity, and staff morale, when key members of your team decide to quit. With this in mind, stopping employees from quitting – especially core talent – should be a top priority.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, we’ve seen a seismic shift in the way many people are working – and the priorities of those workers. So much so that a record number of employees across the world are quitting their jobs. This is a continuing trend that has been coined ‘The Great Resignation’.
If you’re a business owner or business leader, it is now more important than ever to put effective employee retention strategies in place. To stop employees from quitting, you need to give them good reasons to stay.
So, let’s first take a look at why employees are quitting, then we’ll explore some of the best ways to keep staff happy and committed to your business.
The Great Resignation – why are so many employees quitting?
The ‘Great Resignation’ in 2021 saw workers choosing to leave their jobs at a historic rate. In 2022, this labour market revolution shows no signs of slowing down.
Over the past couple of years, people have reflected on what is most important to them – and working from home (without that long, stressful commute to deal with) has given rise to many workers prioritising their work-life balance.
A recent survey by accountancy firm PwC reveals that almost 18% of workers in the UK are extremely likely to look for a new job in the next 12 months.
A further 32% of those surveyed stated that they are slightly likely to quit in the next 12 months, with an additional 16% planning to leave the workforce entirely, either on a temporary or permanent basis.
The global study of 52,195 workers, including more than 2,000 UK respondents, also revealed the following key findings:
- 27% of UK workers plan to ask their employers for a raise in the next 12 months
- Generation Z and Millennials are most likely to change employers or leave the workforce in the next 12 months – and they’re also the most likely to ask for a promotion or raise
- The main reasons for quitting their jobs are pay increase (72%), job fulfillment (68%), and a desire to truly be themselves at work (63%)
- Being able to choose where to work is a priority for almost half (46%) of employees
- Around two-thirds of UK respondents stated that they’re currently working remotely, either full time or most of the time
- Going forward, hybrid working is preferable, with 62% of those surveyed opting for a mix of remote and in-office working
So, what does this mean for your business? Looking at these findings, almost half of your workforce may be considering leaving. Therefore, to stop your best employees quitting, you need to ensure that you’re giving them good reasons to stay.
5 ways to stop employees from quitting your business
To keep staff happy, productive, and committed to your business, here are 5 effective employee retention strategies you may wish to consider.
1. Show respect and appreciation
Showing respect to employees is key to establishing a positive work culture. It seems almost too obvious to mention, but a great number of workplaces fail in this respect.
According to a recent Pew Research Center survey, 57% of participants stated that feeling disrespected at work was one of their main reasons for quitting their jobs in 2021.
This should never be the case. It’s one of the easiest and most effective adjustments you can make in business – and it’s completely free to implement at its most basic level.
Feeling respected and valued at work provides a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment, which fosters loyalty, increases engagement, and motivates employees to work at their very best. It’s a win-win situation.
Aside from being genuine, respectful, and compassionate in the way you communicate with employees, it’s important to acknowledge their achievements, big and small – whether they go above and beyond or simply do their job well on a consistent basis.
Other low-cost strategies include recognising professional and personal milestones, celebrating birthdays, buying gifts for your team, organising staff outings and events, and offering flexible working arrangements.
There’s only so much that people are prepared to tolerate, so treat others the way you would like to be treated – it’s that simple but all too easy to forget when the stresses of running a business take over.
2. Pay competitive wages
Whilst money is not the only way to motivate and stop employees quitting, competitive pay remains an important factor for many workers, as evidenced by recent research findings outlined earlier in this post.
Regardless of industry, low or inadequate wages often result in low productivity and high turnover. As the old adage goes – you get what you pay for.
It may seem counterintuitive to your bottom line to pay higher and above average salaries – especially for low-skilled work – but the cost of recruiting and training new staff far exceeds the amount of money you’d save by paying lower salaries.
Moreover, poorly paid employees, especially those on minimum wage, will struggle to make ends meet – even more so now, given the current cost of living crisis we’re facing.
This can have a negative impact on general health and wellbeing, including poor nutrition, increased stress levels, and lower levels of concentration – all of which affect productivity in the workplace.
An employee should be viewed as an asset, rather than an expense. Healthy, happy employees are more effective, so investing in higher wages – and equal pay for equal work – is better for their wellbeing and, consequently, the success of your business.
3. Provide opportunities to grow
It can be tempting to keep the best employees in the same role with the same responsibilities. Why fix something that isn’t broken? However, failing to provide opportunities to grow can lead to boredom, complacency, and job dissatisfaction.
Even if they don’t quit, they’re likely to mentally check out. In either case, your business will eventually suffer as a consequence.
If an employee asks for more responsibilities or a chance to explore other roles within the business, it’s important to consider these requests for growth and development. If they don’t have the necessary skills or knowledge, perhaps you could provide skills development or continuing education opportunities to get them there.
Be mindful that not everyone has the confidence to broach this type of subject with their superiors, so arranging periodic one-to-ones is crucial. These meetings will help you to determine how happy your employees are in their current roles and within the company in general.
Discuss their long-term goals and what you can do to make them feel more valued and motivated at work – there’s always room for improvement.
4. Introduce profit-sharing options
Workers need to feel valued, and that better performance leads to some kind of recognition and reward – other than the standard pay cheque they get for just doing the job. Profit-sharing is a great way to do this.
Profit-sharing options enable employees to share in the success of the business. Be that in the form of an employee share scheme, bonuses, or some other type of financial reward, aligning employees’ interests with company profits serves as an incentive to work harder and stay loyal to the business as it grows.
It can help to boost morale, encourage healthy competition amongst staff, and give employees a sense of ownership. In turn, this can lead to increased productivity, lower turnover, and higher profits for your business.
5. Offer flexible working
Even before the pandemic, flexible working practices were increasingly in demand by employees. However, many employers were hesitant to offer such a benefit – especially remote working – believing that their businesses would suffer as a result.
Following many months of imposed working from home, companies have been able to see the benefits first-hand and are now more inclined to allow employees to continue remote working, either full-time or on a hybrid basis.
According to the CIPD’s annual Health and wellbeing at work survey, flexible working is shown to reduce employee absence rates, enable workers to better manage disabilities and chronic health conditions, and improve their stress levels and mental health.
New research also shows that flexible working can help your business to attract and keep staff, choose from a wider pool of talent, and increase productivity and job satisfaction – all of which can improve your bottom line.
Flexible working practices that you could introduce include:
- Part-time working – anything less than full-time hours, usually implemented by working fewer days each week
- Flexitime – allowing employees to choose when to start or finish work, within a framework of set core hours
- Compressed hours – working the same number of hours over fewer days
- Working remotely – either on a full-time basis or hybrid arrangement (where the employee works remotely for part of the week and in the office on certain days)
- Job sharing – allowing a job designed for one person to be shared between two employees
- Career breaks – also called sabbaticals, these are extended periods of (usually unpaid) leave, allowing long-term employees to research, acquire new skills, travel, alleviate stress, extend parental leave, or achieve some other professional or personal goal
Whilst not possible or practical for every business, all employees in the UK have the legal right to request flexible working. If you’re not able to accommodate the proposed request, try to work with the employee to find an alternative that suits everyone.
The mindset, preferences, and expectations of the workforce have changed significantly in the past couple of years. Consequently, to stop employees from quitting, businesses need to prioritise employee retention and align their offerings accordingly.
This requires an understanding of why employees are quitting – only then will you be able to implement effective strategies to keep staff satisfied and prevent your best talent from jumping ship.
We hope that this post has shed some light on the situation – and the effective employee retention strategies you can implement to keep staff happy and committed to your business.
If you have any questions or feedback, please leave a comment below.