8 Innovative Retention Strategies

Employers lose nearly 50% of new hires within the first year. Poor retention creates a culture of stressed, demoralized employees, both because they’re constantly shouldering the load of missing employees while you look for new hires, and because it shakes their faith in your organization as a stable employer. And it’s expensive! Estimates of the cost of replacing an employee range from half to double that employee’s annual salary.

Here are 8 strategies to retain talent in the digital age:

1. Understand millennial mobility.
If you’re hiring millennials, you’re battling with a culture shift. Most millennials expect to stay in their current job for less than three years.

2. Put your money where your mouth is.
Employees are increasingly focused on standing out in a crowded marketplace by building skills and demonstrating innovation. If an employee is told they’ll have access to these sorts of opportunities at your organization, and you don’t deliver, they’ll view pursuing employment elsewhere as an urgent matter, the antidote to being surpassed by their peers and rendered obsolete.

3. Offer clear steps for advancement.
To that end, take a page from the playbook of other innovative organizations. Document the necessary criterion to achieve periodic raises or bonuses. Delineate a clear path to move into positions of higher responsibility.

4. Welcome innovation.
Did you know that 54% of millennials want to start their own business…or already have? The autonomy that comes with entrepreneurship can be seductive. Offering an opportunity to innovate in an existing job increases employees’ satisfaction while reducing their financial risk.

5. Flex on hours and location.
Here’s a number that may surprise you: 45% of millennial workers rank flexible work hours and location as more important than salary. Studies show that flex employees are more productive. By offering flexible options, you also gain access to a broader range of talent.

6. Encourage questions.
Millennials offer unique insights that stand to benefit your organization, but how many opportunities do they get to share what they know with upper management? Offer opportunities for them to ask questions about your current practices, and ask them what spurred their inquiry.

7. Reverse mentor.
One way to ensure that newer employees have contact with upper management is to offer mentorships. But keep in mind while participating in such programs that the opportunities inherent to mentoring flow both ways. What can you learn about your employees and your target customers by listening to your mentee? Your interest will in turn show employees that their input is valued.

8. Leave the door open.
Did your company have a past policy of not rehiring former employees? That culture is very much in transition. Employees in good standing leave jobs for a variety of reasons, including major changes in their personal lives or opportunities to build new skills elsewhere. There’s no reason not to welcome these prodigal hires back into the organization, but most HR companies don’t have a strategy in place to maintain lines of communication.

In a nutshell, all of these strategies are grounded in trust, employee empowerment, and increased autonomy…practices that inculcate loyalty, and attract motivated employees who can drive your business forward. Create a culture that invites employees to excel, benefits everyone involved, and reduces your retention woes!


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