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Employee Retention: How To Stop Employees From Quitting

- 17 Sep 2021 by Yehezkiel Faoma Taslim

HR professionals who work in the retail industry must be shaking their heads at the title of this article. Retail is consistently the industry with the highest voluntary employee turnover rates, anytime and anywhere.

Let’s refresh our memories with some brief definitions:

  • Employee turnover is the rate at which employees leave your company. Voluntary turnover means they leave by choice (resignations).
  • Employee retention is how well your company can reduce that turnover.

But employee turnover is a problem HR faces in every industry, not just retail.

There are the familiar stories of new hires quitting right after probation, or a valuable top-performing talent suddenly leaving without giving any hints.

And as HR leaders, it’s always frustrating to realize what was lost with an employee’s departure:

  • money invested in hiring (US$ 4,000 in cost per hire)
  • time invested by the recruitment team (2-4 weeks per hire)
  • work output, knowledge, and expertise
  • team morale and performance

So why do employees leave? And what can we do as HR leaders to improve employee retention?

Why are my employees quitting?

A 2020 study by Michael Page Indonesia threw some light behind why employees may leave or stay.

Interestingly, 91% of employees who quit didn’t do it because of monetary reasons.

Employees quit because of:

  • better opportunities elsewhere
  • unhealthy work culture
  • not fit with leadership style

And they would have stayed if:

  • employee engagement was strengthened
  • promotion opportunities were available
  • training & development was offered

5 employee retention strategies to make your talents stay

Make work enjoyable

One reason for quitting that wasn’t listed above is the misfit between one’s interests and the job they’re in.

In Indonesia alone, more than 51% of people who work feel that they’re in the wrong career.

Working in a job that doesn’t satisfy your passion is one of the main reasons for low job satisfaction, poor performance, and eventually turnover.

Even if a talent performs amazingly in their role, it’s entirely possible that their interests lie in another. It’s up to leaders to help talents shape their jobs into something they enjoy doing that brings them satisfaction and meaning.

This can be something as small as giving them projects or clients that are related with their interests. For example, a talent with a passion in helping others might love to work with your non-profit clients.

Another way is to give the opportunity to rotate into another role in your company that fits their interests better. You would still need to fill the gap left behind, but more importantly, you’re enabling the talent to contribute in a role they enjoy, without having to move to a different workplace.

Make the most of their strengths

Another strategy to improve employee retention is making sure that your talents have the opportunity to fully utilize their strengths in what they do.

When their strengths are not used, employees would feel like they’re wasting their time in a role where they don’t belong.

Leaders should know their employees’ strengths and should assign roles where they can make the most out of it.

More than just identifying their strengths, this is an opportunity to address one of the main factors for employee retention: training and development opportunities. Offering talents the chance to sharpen their skills not only allows them to perform better, but is also an incentive to stay.

To take it a step further, leaders could even create new roles in order to accommodate the overlap between a talent’s traditional role and their actual strengths. Besides discovering new ways in which talents can contribute, promoting talents by creating jobs based on people’s strengths allows them to feel fulfilled in a career that fits them.

Foster a positive work culture

Here in the Dreamtalent Blog we always talk about the importance of company culture, no matter what industry you’re in.

But what does a positive culture actually mean?

A positive company culture promotes psychological safety and is free of toxic behavior.

Psychological safety is when it’s safe to be honest and admit your mistakes in front of others.

Seeing that unhealthy culture is one of the top reasons for leaving, it’s pretty obvious that keeping an attractive culture and eradicating toxicity is an important strategy for improving employee retention.

Employee engagement is another important aspect of a thriving company culture (and a factor for employee retention). Something as simple as informal talk sessions could be really helpful in learning what your people think and feel on top of building meaningful relationships.

Give opportunities for growth

Providing opportunities for learning and development is a way for companies to show that they care about the growth and future of their people, and is an effective way to ensure employee retention.

As mentioned before, talents value opportunities to learn and grow not only professionally but also personally. Using assessments to discover strengths and weaknesses could help you devise a training program that is most effective for each talent by addressing their needs directly.

Learning doesn’t always have to take place in the classroom. Let your talents take on more challenging work or tasks that fall outside of their regular duties, so that they can sharpen their skills while building their career path at the same time.

Giving feedback is also another way to make your employees grow by learning from their mistakes. Learn more on how to give tough feedback the right way in our article here.

Recruit talents who fit your company

It’s much easier to retain people who are already a good fit with your company, rather than scrambling to rotate them to different teams at the risk of turnover.

Psychometric assessments like Dreamtalent let you discover talents who have the right fit with the job, your company culture, your leadership style, and even their teammates’ work styles.

When talents have the right job and culture fit, they would naturally feel satisfied with their work and belonging in your culture, since everything is aligned with their interests and work styles, hence improving employee retention right from the first day.