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How to improve your employment retention strategy

Sep 20, 2023

Employee retention refers to an organization’s ability to prevent employee turnover. A cornerstone of stability, workforce retention plays an undeniable role in creating positive and productive work environments that bolster employee moral and organizational success. However, many teams struggle to keep top talent around long term.  

We’re taking a closer look at the employment landscape today and the strategies that teams can leverage to improve employee retention. 

How to improve your employment retention strategy

The state of employee retention today

The COVID-19 pandemic spurred the ‘Great Resignation’ or ‘Big Quit,’ a mass exodus of employees from their jobs in 2021. Despite a record number of employees voluntarily leaving their positions, the following year saw even higher turnover, with that more than 50 million workers resigning in 2022, according to The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Is the Great Resignation over? 

Although the Big Quit was unprecedented, and especially difficult amid a time of global uncertainty, economists claim this period has finally come to an end. Today, fewer people are leaving their roles, and YCharts reports that the unemployment rate remains at a low of 3.5% as of July 2023 compared to 3.6% last month and 3.5% last year.

What does this mean for businesses?

In 2022, workers had the upper hand as organizations across industries scrambled to fill labor shortages. This year, amid a looming recession, the pendulum is slowly swinging in favor of employers, with August 2023 numbers from the BLS’s JOLTS indicating that resignations have slowed and job openings are down.

Despite this turn of events, some industries are still having a difficult time finding workers to fill open roles quickly. This is especially true for organizations in manufacturing, transportation, construction, leisure and hospitality, and healthcare.

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5 effective employee retention strategies to introduce

While industries continue to navigate economic uncertainty and potential talent shortages, consider the following strategies to drive employee retention rates:

1. Improve your workforce management 

With continued labor shortages and a potential recession top of mind for employers, workforce management is more important than ever. Efficiently aligning your workforce plans, team skills, and workload is a linchpin in improving job satisfaction, minimizing burnout, and supporting greater retention long-term.

Organizations can work with trusted partners and staffing providers like Employbridge to streamline the process of finding talent and optimizing management strategies for better retention.  

2. Emphasize flexibility

Today, flexibility isn’t just a valuable employee benefit; it’s becoming a deciding factor in where individuals choose to work. According to The 2023 Voice of the American Workforce survey – the nation’s largest survey of the hourly workforce – over 15% of workers polled cited a flexible work schedule as a means for garnering employee loyalty. 

Introducing opportunities for flexibility may include offering remote or hybrid working arrangements or adjusting an employee’s core work hours to accommodate their personal needs while ensuring you still meet business goals.  

3. Implement recognition and reward systems 

While seemingly simple, proper systems for recognizing the achievements of team members can go a long way toward promoting retention. A combined study from Gallup and Workhuman survey reports that employees who feel recognized for their work are 56% less likely to look for new opportunities. Despite this knowledge, only 19% of workers feel their organizations have created a culture of recognition.  

Businesses can celebrate workforce accomplishments by introducing regular team shout-outs, peer-to-peer recognition platforms, or direct supervisor gratitude to foster a culture of appreciation and promote team cohesion.  

4. Reshape your organizational culture 

Company culture is a key factor in employee retention today. In fact, research from MIT Sloan Management Review reveals that a toxic corporate culture is 10.4 times more likely to contribute to turnover than compensation.  

Developing a strong corporate culture demonstrates your support for employee wellness and success. To foster a positive environment for all your valuable team members, organizations should: 

  • Determine what an ideal culture looks like.  
  • Establish clear communication strategies that welcome employee input.  
  • Encourage a work-life balance to prevent burnout.  
  • Recognize employees and remind them that their work matters.  
  • Keep company culture in mind when hiring new employees.  

5. Provide pathways for career development  

Employees and job seekers alike are in pursuit of learning opportunities that can advance their careers. It’s likely unsurprising that there’s a direct link between high turnover rates and a lack of employee development opportunities. McKinsey & Company reported that insufficient career advancement support was the top reason employees left jobs between April 2021 and April 2022. These results are echoed in The Voice of the American Workforce survey, with advancement opportunities cited among the top 3 values (other than pay) that fostered employee loyalty.  

By instituting avenues for professional development such as employee career pathing and mentorship programs, or providing learning tools like learning management systems, employers can empower workers to grow professionally and upskill in their roles. Helping team members gain new abilities and competencies is crucial as the U.S. skilled labor shortage is projected to leave an estimated 2.4 million positions vacant between 2018 and 2028, according to Gitnux.  

Key benefits of boosted retention rates 

Taking proactive steps to improve your employee retention strategies leads to a host of organizational benefits to consider, including helping teams enjoy: 

  • Enhanced workforce stability that reduces disruptions caused by frequent turnover.  
  • Reduced recruitment and training expenses that support significant cost savings. 
  • Increased productivity as a result of more experienced and efficient employees. 
  • Improved institutional knowledge retention which is critical for organizational growth. 
  • A positive company culture, promoting team cohesion.
  • Stronger client relationships with long-standing employees, boosting business reputation. 

Optimize your workforce management strategies with Employbridge 

As recruiting and retaining talent remains crucial for business success, Employbridge emerges as a key partner for organizations aiming to enhance their employee retention strategies. Our workforce solutions seamlessly blend national staffing expertise with the agility of our workforce-as-a-service platform, powered by Bluecrew, to provide top-notch support in recruitment selection, management, and reporting.  

We’re empowering companies to not only build but also nurture a high-performing workforce. With a proven track record spanning over three decades, Employbridge leverages deep industry knowledge, innovative technology, and a commitment to upskilling, enabling organizations to foster a more stable, future-proof workforce.   

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