Employee retention strategies: it’s within your control
While you may not be able to control all the reasons people leave, there are varying employee retention strategies that you can implement now to mitigate and reduce attrition.
The main reasons people may leave your organization are widely published. Highly stressful environment, mismatch on job fit, lack of recognition, no clear career pathway ahead or even (and most commonly) the relationship people have with their manager. Focusing on employee recruitment and retention strategies in the areas you can control will go a long way to reducing turnover.
We’ve previously looked at the ways that contact centres can create a positive workplace by building the right environment and using the right systems and we’ve explored how strong management can improve the employee experience. Here we’ll look at four strategies you should consider for your employee retention plan:
- Recruiting for retention
- Walking the talk on culture and values
- Creating meaningful development opportunities (and using stretch goals)
- Recognising people and celebrating success
Recruiting for retention
We’re hearing a lot from our clients about the daily reality of contact center management and the endless cycle of hiring and training new staff. But let’s face it, we’re recruiting in a new environment. The days of advertising a role and being able to choose from a large pool of suitable, available candidates are gone. Employees are mobile and will move on if they’re not satisfied. This means employers now need to compete for good people and need to showcase the value they offer.
Employees are looking for job satisfaction including meaningful work, a supportive and healthy environment, flexibility, transparent leadership, recognition and growth opportunities.
So, how does your organisation attract people? Get people excited about your company by outlining how they can grow and develop with your business, ask them what is important to them, and deliver on it.
When recruiting, don’t forget it’s not just about the technical skills: make sure you look out for the soft skills and values that will fit your workplace culture. If you can attract people who share similar values to your organisation they’ll be more likely to stay.
Be prepared to change some elements of your business to align more with current employee needs.
Walking the talk on culture and values
Once you’ve got great people, pay attention to what happens once they start. Make sure the daily work experience matches the promise!
Motivate your people and build a great culture by being clear about your organisation’s values and checking in with people to make sure the workplace culture mirrors this. For example, if you say you offer flexibility, ask people if their needs are being met – and be prepared to act based on the feedback you hear.
Creating genuine professional development opportunities
People will no longer sit in a role without having the opportunity to develop: they want to see a career path ahead of them. A critical employee retention technique is to regularly engage with people about their goals and aspirations and to find ways to genuinely support them.
Providing career pathways and real development opportunities will improve engagement, motivation and your high performers will be more likely to stick around for longer. There are many aspects to great people development, including coaching and goal setting. Let’s take a closer look at the ways that stretch goals can reduce turnover.
Stretch goals can help you take an individual approach to people development and are an effective way of working with people on the ambitious goals that are important to them.
What is a stretch goal? A stretch goal should be challenging to achieve. It’s not a goal related to daily behaviour and output. Stretch goals (and the assignments, projects and opportunities that go with them) help to build new skills and can be a pathway to career advancement. For example, a frontline customer service consultant in your call center might have a career ambition of moving into management – stretch goals for them could include running a team huddle or taking on an analysis project to build the skills they need to take their next steps.
Tips for setting stretch goals:
- Carve out time to listen to your people to identify appropriate stretch goals
- The goals should be employee led – help them to clearly describe the goal
- Find genuine opportunities to support the goal
- Track progress towards the goal – find ways of checking in outside of regular coaching and feedback sessions
- Recognise when people are achieving milestones towards their stretch goals
- Celebrate success when people reach a stretch goal – and help ambitious employees look for next steps within the company
Set your own stretch goal
Recognising people’s contributions
People want to feel like the work they do matters. High achievers aren’t the only ones who deserve recognition. Call centres are highly stressful environments so find the time to encourage all your people and recognise their efforts.
Recognition doesn’t need to be financially based. Start with ensuring frontline managers find a minute a day to verbally acknowledge individual team members. It’s easy to get verbal recognition wrong, however. Simply saying, “great job” whilst walking past someone in the hallway is lazy and won’t mean much. Consider these simple steps for improving verbal recognition:
- Be clear about the behaviour you observed the team member demonstrate
- Be clear about the outcome of the team member demonstrating the behaviour
- Be clear about what it means for the team/you.
For example: Salma, I noticed earlier today how you spent time taking Talitha across the new compliance rules. This has really helped build her confidence on her calls which in turn should really ensure her customers are getting what they need. Well done.
It’s longer and takes a bit more time, but it will have greater impact on the team member and makes very clear the behaviour you appreciate.
How YakTrak can help
Leaders and supervisors play a critical role in your employee retention strategy. Leaders need to carve out time to check in, coach and recognise people. If your leaders don’t have the capability to set, support and track stretch goals you’ll be missing out on effective ways you can motivate people and reduce turnover.
On-the-job employee coaching improves capability and can be incorporated into a daily routine – meaning that people won’t be taken away from important operational work.
YakTrak encourages setting clear goals at every level from frontline team members to team leaders, senior leaders and even coaches.
YakTrak can be used to set, re-set and monitor goals – both the everyday output goals and stretch goals. Regular reminders and follow up notifications help to keep your people development on track, making it a vital part of your employee retention plan.