In trying times like these, employee retention is a huge concern for employers. This is especially true in challenged markets like commercial real estate. As workplace culture changes and the economy becomes more unpredictable, building a loyal employee culture is simultaneously more vital and more difficult.
But it doesn’t have to be impossible. Understanding the factors that lead to higher employee retention in the CRE workplace will give you the competitive edge to build and maintain a dynamic workforce intensely loyal to your company and goals.
Employee Retention Starts at the Beginning
The first and greatest way to reduce employee turnover is to hire the right people, according to the Wall Street Journal. A poor or shallow hiring process will produce a high turnover rate. People don’t tend to hang around when they are not closely aligned with the company culture, values, projects, or skill set requirements.
There are numerous costs associated with a bad hire, and a high turnover rate is one of the least talked about. Yet your company stands to lose a ton of revenue, productiveness, and even morale. To protect your bottom line, keep your employee retention high by hiring the right people for the right job. Your employee retention program should begin all the way at the beginning with a highly effective and thorough hiring process.
The onboarding process is also crucial to ensuring low turnover. Starting on Day One, give your new hire the right first impression. 54% of new hires report a mishap on the first day of a new job! To start on the right foot:
- Prepare their workstation in advance with the supplies and equipment they need (this may look different in a virtual environment, but remains important).
- Have a clear list of expectations and responsibilities ready and waiting for them.
- Immediately introduce them to the team in a sociable way, giving them a chance to start lasting relationships. This is especially relevant in a virtual work environment. The team needs to be able to understand who the new hire is and what capabilities they have to ensure the right training, management direction, and workload is provided.
Invest in Company Culture
While a competitive compensation package is important for employee retention, even more integral is workplace culture. Inspire your employees with a culture of inclusion and diversity. Clearly communicate to them the company mission and values and gather their buy-in as well. When your employees believe in your company, they won’t jump ship at the first opportunity to make an extra buck. Position your organization as more than just a workplace. Foster an atmosphere of family and cooperation.
Stephen Covey once called trust “the one thing that changes everything.” And building workforce relationships on trust can be the difference maker for employee retention. Here are a few secret ingredients for infusing trust into your company culture:
- Establish Competence: If your employees believe they work for the best company in your field, this will build trust and loyalty.
- Demonstrate Integrity: It goes without saying that honesty is the absolute best policy for building trust in the workplace.
- Be Consistent: If your division or company is always swinging from one extreme to the other in response to market changes, employees won’t be able to trust in your stability and longevity.
- Decide with Transparency: Your employees are your stakeholders; don’t leave them in the dark.
Become Your Employees’ Career Coach
It sounds counterintuitive, but taking an interest in furthering the career goals of your employees will result in higher employee retention. Employees must feel fulfilled and engaged in their work. Therefore, your job as a manager is to help them find their purpose and then align it with their contributions to the company. When they are thoroughly engaged and appreciated, they will be far less likely to roam.
Ask these key questions to help them connect with that sense of appreciation and fulfillment:
- What are you good at?
- What tasks do you enjoy?
- What are the most useful things you do here?
- What are you learning that will prepare you for future goals?
- How do you relate to others?
These questions will help employees better understand their role and unique offering to the company. In turn, they will better integrate with their teams, they will contribute more to the mission, and they will become more productive and skilled in their jobs.
Help your employees find meaning at work, closely align new hires with their strengths and pay attention to the role needed now and how that will grow, and create a vibrant and diverse culture they can believe in. Increasing employee retention – even in trying and difficult times – is really just a matter of inspiring them to achieve great things as an invested part of your team.