Employers can gain tremendous benefits from knowing how to keep top talent on their team.

Keeping top talent ensures that you won’t lose your competitive edge and will be able to continue to deliver the best possible service to your customers.

At the same time, keeping great employees will also provide financial benefits. Employee Benefit News (EBN) reported that it costs employers 33% of a worker’s annual salary to hire a replacement if that worker leaves.

That statistic alone should be enticing enough to drive you to adjust your employee retention strategy.

You might think that keeping great employees is a matter of higher pay or promotions. However, this may not be a feasible route budget-wise and 65% of employees reported that they actually prefer non-cash incentives according to the Incentive Marketing Association.

So, how do you keep great employees around?

1. Give Them More Freedom and Flexibility

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Interest in freelance work is increasing. The gig economy is growing at a rapid rate. One of the reasons for this is that it provides people with more freedom to work when and where they want.

More businesses are now exploring possible ways to implement these concepts into their internal models.

By giving your employees more flexibility and freedom, you’re working to improve their work-life balance. They are certainly going to appreciate you taking this step and it will show you care about their wellbeing.

Allowing employees to work remotely provides some financial benefits to your business as well. More employees working from home means that you will require a smaller office space and fewer resources are being used in the office.

Many business owners and managers are under the impression that giving employees more flexible options will make productivity decrease. This is actually the opposite of what happens.

A survey conducted by Connect Solutions reported that of those worked remotely, both part and full-time, 77% were more productive; and 30% said that they accomplished more in less time than when they worked in-house.

If remote work isn’t the best option for your business, you can also allow employees to leave early on Fridays or take additional vacation days. This will help prevent burn-out and keep employees happy. One study found that happy people were 12% more productive and happy people tend to stick with their employer.

If you are looking to retain employees without emptying your pockets, flexible work options might be the way to go.

2. Keep Communication Open And Be Responsive

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Make sure that employees feel as though they have a voice. Let them know that they are an important part of the team by employing empathy-based listening. They need to know that their opinions regarding the business matter – or, at the very least, that they will be taken into account.

Rather than just listening to employees, you also have to understand their perspectives. This is about their goals rather than just the problems that they might be facing. It’s going to help them develop a deeper connection to your company.

Implementing better communication will encourage higher levels of loyalty which will result in employees being less likely to leave your business – and it costs you nothing except for a few minutes of your time.

In the same vein, provide constructive criticism and praise to employees. This will let them know that you care about their success within the company and will promote their professional growth. Which brings me to my next point.

3. Give Them Training Opportunities To Further Professional Development

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It’s true to say that there may not always be a promotion on the table for your employees.

Employees want to expand their professional knowledge, gain new experiences and further develop their skills.

A 2016 national survey of over 400 employees spanning three generations (Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Millennials) found that 70% of the respondents feel that job-related training and development opportunities influenced their decision to stay at their job.

87% of Millennials said that access to professional development opportunities are very important in their decision of whether to stay or go.

Employees understand the profound benefits that additional training will bring to them in the future. They also understand that further training and professional development will increase their chance of gaining a promotion when one does become available.

What you need to do is make sure that these training opportunities are a focus within your business.

Provide employees with the option to attend workshops, conferences, seminars, and offer mentoring programs.

Address each employee on a personal level and assess their goals.

Don’t forget, this is going to benefit your business in the short term as well. It will guarantee that employees are able to deliver a better level of service and refine their expertise.

4. Plan A Career Path For Them

No employee wants to feel like they are in a dead-end job. They want to know that they are continuously moving forward. This is a matter of self-preservation.

Employees know that issues with stagnation and a lack of development mean that they will be less attractive to future employers. While your main goal is to keep them on the team, you still need to understand that they will eventually want to expand their horizons.

In addition to providing the professional training and development mentioned above, ensure that they remain committed to your business by showing them that there is a plan in place for them to grow with your company.

Develop a structure that they can depend on and crucially, that they understand. Again, these career paths should be completely personalized and be based on goal achievements.

Illustrate what they need to accomplish to move to the next level. This encourages motivation – a driving force in business success and employee retention.

5. Improve the Workplace To Meet Modern Demands

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Finally, you need to think about how your workplace has adjusted to modern demands. This is a key focus when looking at how to keep top talent.

Don’t forget, over 30% of an employee’s life will be spent in the office and workers are more aware of this than ever. Many (especially in younger generations) will not remain in a business where they don’t feel comfortable, happy, or valued.

There are a variety of different ways you can make improvements. I will outline a few below, but listening to your employees’ needs will be the key to improving how your business operates in the modern professional landscape.

First and foremost, you need to make sure that you are addressing any issues with bullying or discrimination.

Your employees need to be building positive relationships through group thinking and team building. It’s possible to do this by arranging activities and interactions outside the typical workplace setting and appropriately addressing toxic behavior.

(Recommended Read: Turning Your Negative Work Environment into a Positive One)

Secondly, make sure everyone has the tools they need to do their job.

This sounds simple, but many businesses forget that outdated technology and software is not only unproductive, but it is also extremely frustrating to use. It may seem like you are saving money by not upgrading, but this could actually end up costing you money – and great employees – in the long run.

Lastly, make your office a space where people want to be. Gone are the days of drab cubicles, grey walls, and fluorescent lighting.

Let your employees hang up pictures and decorate their space, bring in some plants, hang up some artwork, and offer things like free coffee and snacks. These things may sound minor, but they can make a huge difference when it comes to how happy your employees are at work.

Ultimately, you need to make sure that every employee feels like part of a larger community. Stay focused on their needs, listen to them, and you will find that more employees are likely to stick around.

For more information on how you can improve your business and better retain employees, contact me today to learn about my consulting services and more.