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10 Clever Strategies for Managing Employee Retention

written by: N Nayab•edited by: Ronda Bowen•updated: 9/14/2011

The human resources of an enterprise is the most critical source of competitive advantage in the new knowledge based economy, and as such, more and more companies seek new and innovative ways to retain their in-house talent. Read on for the best ways of managing employee retention.

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    Why Worry about Employee Retention?

    Managing Employee Retention Employee retention is the efforts made by employers to ensure that their existing employees remain with them, and discourage them from seeking prospects elsewhere. The primary reasons that prompt employers to deploy employee retention techniques for their highly skilled workers are the talent-cruch brought about by the new knowledge economy where human resources are the critical drivers of competitive advantage, the stability brought about by employees familiar with the company and its nuances, and the additional recruitment and training cost associated with new hires.

    Image Credit: flickr.com/ US National Archives

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    1. Clarity

    The best way of managing employee retention is by providing clarity regarding the job.

    The single major reason why employees seek to change jobs is lack of clarity regarding expectations, earning potential, and performance standards. An organization without efficient systems and procedures and which always works on an ad-hoc ways fail to retain professionals. Clarity of what an employee has to do and what they can expect in return ensures that candidate either do not join, or if they join, stay for long.

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    2. Effective Skill Utilization

    One good employee retention techniques is making effective and optimal utilization of their skills. Talented employees prefer using their skills to keep themselves updated, and do not fancy rusticating their skills in companies that fail to provide adequate opportunities. They would sooner quit such companies even if pay and other working conditions remain favorable.

    HR needs to identify the skill-sets of each employee and effect a job re-design to ensure that the job description provides opportunities for employees to apply their relevant skills.

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    3. Growth Opportunities

    A routine and docile work nature with little or no challenges hardly excites talented employees. Such employees prefer a learning environment where they can convert their experiences into learning opportunities, learning new things that contribute to their personal growth.

    Education and training as employee retention strategies works, but retaining top talent also requires providing challenging work opportunities where the employees can test their skills and take the initiative to develop themselves, and providing cross training in other functional areas.

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    4. Autonomy

    One of the most effective of all employee retention strategies is providing autonomy at work.

    Talented employees prefer guides, mentors, and coaches rather than supervisors who peep over their shoulders, watching every move for compliance. They prefer autonomy in work-settings, with the ability to set their own pace and the method of doing things to achieve the required targets.

    Supervisors and managers need to act as facilitators, and adopt relevant leadership styles such as servant leadership.

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    5. Involvement and Ownership

    Involvement of workers in preparing their job duties and assignment increases ownership in work, and this infuse a greater commitment to work, leading to lesser attrition.

    HR would do well to gather feedback from the employees regarding job duties, consider employees suggestions during the strategic planning initiatives ad when designing products and services. Such initiatives go beyond reducing attrition levels, for employees being in the forefront of operational activities and interacting with customers would invariably know what works best.

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    6. Flexibility

    Managing Employee Retention Most employees seek to balance work and life, and employees stick on with companies that allow flexibility to attain such balance. Elements of flexibility include allowing for telecommuting, cafeteria-style benefits that allow employees to choose the nature of benefits, or flexible work assignments.

    Image Credit: flickr.com/YvesJunqueria

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    7. Shared Values

    Very often employees feel reluctant to leave a company that they align or associate with in values. The best approach to ensure such a ft it at the recruitment stage, to ensure that the employee’s personal values “fit” with the organizational values and culture.

    Organizations with open culture that allow employees to speak their mind and provide blunt criticism without fear of reprisals, and organizations that value fairness and equity, and do not take decisions based on subjective whims see a fewer employees quiting.

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    8. Social Bonding

    One goog way of managing employee retention is social bonding among the workforce. A friendly and thriving workforce, with plenty of fun opportunity for non-work interactions such as regular parties, break hour competitions, and other interventions will also discourage employees to leave. The workplace is increasingly taking over the societal needs of employees, and companies that recognize this fact and provide adequate avenues to fulfill such needs would see fewer employees leaving.

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    9. Recognition

    Side by side with providing opportunities for employees to grow and effectively utilizing their talents, organizations would also do well to recognize their achievements through corporate newsletters, intranets, award functions, and other avenues.

    Most employers concentrate on empowering the employee and providing them avenues to accomplish tasks, but neglect the crucial component of recognizing employees that would make infuse a sense of belonging and prompt them to stay.

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    10. Identifying Relevant Motivators

    Employees remain motivated by many factors, and the challenge for companies to manage employee retention is to identify what works well with their employees and effect employee retention techniques based on such drivers. Some employees remain motivated by better compensation and benefits, other employees primarily seek career development or new experience, while others remain satisfied with perks such as employee sponsored vacation, tuition free reimbursements, and the like.

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    Managing Employee Retention in Your Company

    The best employee retention techniques depend on the nature of the company and the workforce. Most companies do not apply such interventions across-the-board and rather concentrate on managing employee retention only for their highly skilled workers whose skills and competencies are hard to replace, and for workers who have made themselves indispensable by their attitude, commitment, and dedication.

    Please be sure to check out the other tips and strategies found in Bright Hub's HR Guide for Recruiting and Retaining Employees.