Boost Employee Retention Rates with 5 Actionable Tips

Mar 12, 2024
Applicant Tracking, Blog, HR and Recruiting Industry Information

Hiring new employees is a huge time investment. Growing your small business sometimes takes labor from various departments, with hiring contributions from a lot of people. After all that, you want to be sure the new hires stick with you and become valued members of the team. 

Employee retention is a concern in companies of all sizes, but for small businesses, it’s especially vital to avoid costly disruptions. More than just offering a bonus or a perk here or there, employee retention practices start with the first job posting and go well beyond the interviews and job offers. Here are our best tips for better employee retention. 

1. Crafting Clear Job Descriptions

Job seekers likely read dozens if not hundreds of job descriptions. The typical cliché language (“rockstar”, “go-getter”, “team-player”) starts to blur together and might even make a candidate click right on by your posting. From the first interaction with your company, you want a potential hire to stop and feel intrigued, impressed, and interested in submitting a résumé without delay. 

Avoid vague language that doesn’t accurately describe the work or, worse, actively misleads someone. There’s no better way to chase someone off than by revealing a totally different set of responsibilities than what was listed in the posting. 

Rather than recycling old postings with a few changed words, consider taking the time to rewrite in a conversational tone that sounds welcoming and has enough specifics to help the right candidate apply. Share just enough about the company to make you stand out, e.g. the most important product you sell, a tidbit about company culture, or any relevant accolades. Chances are the candidate will seek out your website and social media, but remaining deliberately mysterious doesn’t serve anyone.

ApplicantStack provides an ideal system for creating and sharing job descriptions. You’ll never have to go searching in the cloud for that one missing document ever again. Plus, templates make it easy to save the information you need.

2. Ensuring Salary Transparency

Many companies lean towards always posting a salary range in job postings, particularly those in states where legislation has been passed to require it. Some companies remain squeamish, though, and industry experts suggest “without it, employees—and job candidates—trust those companies less, which in turn could blunt companies’ competitive edge.”

No one is willing to work for free, so an awkward culture around salary discussion and negotiation can be a big reason why you can’t retain valuable employees. Salary transparency goes beyond that initial description in the job posting. It also means your employees are free to discuss compensation without fear of retribution. It means management is willing to discuss compensation matters outside of scheduled performance reviews. Openness around a formerly taboo topic can very well be the reason an employee stays or goes.

3. Providing Access to Flexible Schedules

A Pew Research Study in 2021 found that 45 percent of people who quit a job in 2021 cited “not enough flexibility to choose when to put in hours” as their reason. To be sure, 2021 was a unique time in the world’s history, but for many workers, a flexible work schedule became non-negotiable. There are some jobs where fully or even partially remote work isn’t a good fit, but where possible, a flexible schedule may be the thing that can help you hire an ideal candidate in the first place and keep them satisfied in the longer-term.

It may take some creative thinking to figure out how to transform a former in-person job to something fully remote or hybrid. Chances are, you’ve been applying creative thinking all over the company since 2020. There is real power in negotiation and compromise in helping talented employees stay and give quality work. 

4. Creating Advancement Opportunities

In that same Pew study from 2021, a whopping 63 percent of employees who resigned cited “no opportunities for advancement” as their reason. The ebb and flow of small business growth may mean that day-to-day operations sometimes take precedence over keeping up with employees’ career aspirations. However, based on that statistic, it’s clearly worth some curiosity. 

Though some employees might be an open book when it comes to ambition, others might be quietly harboring resentment that they aren’t approached for raises or moves up the management ladder. Developing a company strategy for frequent check-ins may prove to be one of the most valuable ways to retain employees. This kind of open communication may reveal opportunities for mentorship or even previously unknown skills that are a good fit for other jobs within the company.

5. Offering Competitive Perks and Benefits

An on-time paycheck, health insurance, and a safe space to work are the bare minimum for a company employee. Beyond that, you can show your workers how much you value their efforts by adding in perks and benefits that improve their life circumstances in real ways. Here are some ideas:

  • Wellness initiatives like gym memberships, massages, or complimentary food and drinks at work
  • Work-life balance benefits like generous PTO and sick and family leave, or allowances for time away for appointments or family obligations
  • Personal development opportunities like conferences or classes
  • Paid volunteer opportunities, either individual or as a company
  • Workspace personalization allowance for things like plants, standing desks or walking pads, and freedom for personal decor
  • Commuting assistance for public transportation or fuel stipends

Employee retention depends on people being valued for the complete person they bring to their work. Successful companies need more than just skills and labor. Acknowledging that value begins at the first contact. Subsequent interviews can demonstrate the culture a person is capable of bringing to your company.

ApplicantStack gives you a place to manage candidates, cataloging and keeping track of first impressions. You can get a sense of how a candidate will fit in and whether you think they could be happy in your business. An eye on retention may help you value these soft skills even more than the ones listed on the candidate’s résumé.

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