Posted May 15, 2017
Signs of economic growth are encouraging American businesses to expand operations and hire more workers. But employers know an improved economy can inspire current employees to look for other employment opportunities. The Society for Human Resource Management reports that 60 percent of employees consider benefits important to overall job satisfaction. So, to keep valuable employees, employers should focus on providing the benefits they want.
A Future Workplace and Kronos study (2016) showed that 87 percent of employers recognize retention as a critical priority. As the economy recovered from the 2008 recession, employee turnover skyrocketed. In some industries, turnover rates rose 100 to 160 percent. Bloomberg reports that businesses lose $11 billion annually due to employee turnover. Replacing an employee can cost employers up to 50 percent of the position’s annual salary.
In contrast, PricewaterhouseCoopers discovered that employees who are committed to their employers give 57 percent more effort to their work, and 87 percent were less likely to resign.
Six ways to improve retention
- Flexibility – Many employees, especially Millennials, don’t want to be stressed by their work or become tied to their jobs. They want flexible work hours or the option to work from home to accommodate personal and family needs. Kronos also found that 46 percent of employers blame burnout as the cause of 20 to 50 percent of turnover.
- Growing and learning opportunities – Today’s workers want employers to provide continual learning opportunities. One study showed that 43 percent of employees surveyed were bored at work and were searching for a different job where they could develop new skills. Reevaluate your current continuing education plan and make sure you are providing employees the growth opportunities without leaving your company.
- Help with student loans – Recent college graduates have over $35,000 in student loan debt. The American Student Assistance group reports employees are concerned about their student loan debt:
- 86 percent of employees said they would commit to work for an employer for five years if they received assistance repaying student loans.
- 63 percent reported not having anyone to ask for help with student loan repayment.
- 56 percent worry about paying off their loans.
- 40 percent believe the burden of repaying student loans affects their health.
Currently, only 4 percent of employers have a student loan repayment benefit. Ameritas offers a student-debt repayment program called BenefitEd, through its joint-venture with Nelnet. With BenefitEd, employers can customize the program to employees’ needs, such as making contributions to student loan debt or payments to a 529 college savings plan for employees without student loans.
- Recognition – Employees want to know their work is appreciated. One study found that 75 percent of employees were more likely to stay with a company that listens and addresses their concerns.
- Open communication – Instead of traditional performance reviews, employees value regular feedback. CONE Communications discovered that 93 percent of employees surveyed preferred to work for a company that cared about them as individuals. Employers should provide listening sessions where employees can share their comments and ideas with senior leadership.
- Corporate responsibility – Employees want to work for employers who invest in the community. CONE also found that 79 percent of employees would prefer to work for an employer who is socially responsible. Employers should provide opportunities for employees to volunteer together to support causes that support business mission and values. These experiences help build comradery and engage workers with their jobs.