The US labor market remains tight. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported approximately 4.2 million workers quit their jobs in August 2022, unchanged from July 2022 and down just slightly from 4.3 million in June. In recent months, workers have had more leverage than employers had and to some extent, still do. If employees quit and don’t like the first job they take, they can simply leave and find another one. In a tight job market, employers who need to fill positions don’t have the luxury of holding job-hopping against otherwise good candidates. However, if job openings continue to decrease, that balance of power might shift. The key is keeping good employees before they seek employment elsewhere. Here are 7 strategies for retaining good employees;
- Up the ante. Money still talks. Of course, it may not be possible to pay employees what they think they’re worth, but you can narrow the gap that currently exists. Also, compensation isn’t just about salary and bonuses. You may be able to spruce up your fringe benefit options at a reasonable cost to the company. For example, a cafeteria plan offers employees a menu of benefits to choose from, but the company pays only for the benefits it provides.
- Be flexible. The pandemic has shown many employers that they can survive and even thrive when employees work from home. Consider offering flexible work schedules and reducing commuting hassles for employees who don’t have to be on site. This can provide employees with their desired work-life balance and discourage quiet quitting.
- Provide new challenges. No one wants to stay in a rut. To avoid lethargy, emphasize an employee’s strengths by creating new challenges. For instance, ask an innovative employee to work on new product development. This may require transferring the worker to a different department or group.
- Sharpen job skills. An employer can offer training sessions that enhance an employee’s work skills and/or teach them new ones. Critics might say you’re setting up employees who will learn the tricks of the trade and then move somewhere else. That’s always possible, but don’t let it stop you. You’ll benefit from the enhancements in the interim. Plus, the employee may be inclined to stay in the fold.
- Communicate. How do you know what employees want if you don’t ask them? Don’t wait until an exit interview to ask this question. Use a confidential survey and be open to new ways of doing things. On the flip side, let employees know what’s expected of them. It may be beneficial to spell out guidelines in writing and discuss them periodically with the staff.
- Recognize top performers. Quiet quitters may feel they aren’t recognized for their hard work. Show employees that you care by noting achievements in the company newsletter or posting them on your website. Even better: Combine recognition with financial rewards for doing an extraordinary job. Keep employees motivated to maintain high-performance levels at work.
- Lighten the load. Be more mindful of pushing employees to their breaking points. It may be difficult to lower your expectations, but it’s important to acknowledge that employees have lives outside of the workplace. Consider allowing employees that you count on heavily to job share, which could provide backup support for key jobs. And be more understanding of their need for days off and flex time.
However you choose to address the tendency of workers to leave jobs these days, don’t just focus on your existing staff. The ideas you employ to keep good staff can also be part of your recruitment campaign for new hires.
It’s a new world of work, and to some extent, employees have been in the driver’s seat. The ideas above are just a starting point; there are many other ways to help keep good workers on board and attract new ones in any labor market. The main thing is to be proactive. Don’t wait for resignations to disrupt your operation. Make your moves first.