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How to Increase Employee Retention by Promoting Professional Growth

Years ago, people were committed to working at the same company for life. Today, by contrast, most employees will work at multiple companies before they retire. A steady stream of income is no longer enough to keep individuals engaged.

The modern worker is looking for more than just a job. They want to work for a company that fosters a healthy culture and supports their professional development.

If you don’t want to lose your top performers, you need to cater to these desires. This doesn’t mean installing pinball machines or offering free espresso.

While these perks are nice, they won’t keep people from jumping ship when they see a better opportunity. To keep employees engaged, you need to offer benefits that support their professional growth and well-being.

Unsure about what will support your employees’ growth and encourage them to stick around? Check out the following options.

Mentorship Programs

Many employees receive very little workplace training and have to learn through trial and error. Pairing new employees with company mentors can help relieve much of the stress newcomers experience when starting a role. Making a mentorship program part of your employee onboarding process sets new workers up for a successful transition.

A mentorship program doesn’t need to be limited to new hires, either. Your company’s more senior staff can benefit from it as well. Connecting seasoned employees with mentors can help them set professional goals within your organization. When your team sees a trajectory for growth at your company, they’re more likely to stay for the long haul.

Regular Feedback

Employees want more one-on-one time with their managers than a yearly performance review. Workers prefer more frequent meetings that create an ongoing feedback loop. Without regular feedback, your team members cannot know what they’re doing well and where they need to improve. This inhibits employee growth.

To ensure your employees are receiving regular feedback, set aside time each quarter to chat with each member of your team. When providing feedback, be specific. If the individual nailed a client presentation, don’t say, “Great presentation.” Tell them it was their lucid explanation of various complex stats that made the presentation great.

Similarly, if an employee struggles with client calls, don’t say, “You’re not great on the phone.” Instead, give them specific steps they can take to improve their performance.

Flexible PTO

Everyone needs time off work occasionally. But if your company has a rigid policy regarding paid time off, your employees may not get the time they need.

This can lead to reduced productivity, burnout, and poor employee retention. While your company may not want to offer unlimited PTO, there are other ways to make your time-off policy more appealing.

Flexible PTO has recently gained popularity. Unlike traditional time-off policies, flexible time off doesn’t distinguish between vacation days and sick days. This way, employees don’t have to leave allocated PTO on the table if they end the year with unused sick leave.

In addition, many companies have increased their total number of PTO days. This ensures employees have the appropriate amount of time to relax and recharge, allowing them to be more productive when on the job.

Employee Development Days

The daily tasks of office life can make it challenging to create strong workplace relationships. Furthermore, busy schedules and looming deadlines often force professional development to the back burner.

Offering quarterly professional development days can address both of these issues. Setting time aside to connect as a team for learning opportunities strengthens employee relationships and helps people hone their skills.

When planning an employee development day, mix up activities with presentations. No one wants to watch a slideshow for eight hours. Providing breaks between educational lectures gives your team time to mingle and ensures they’re energized for the next session.

Employee Recognition

In today’s hybrid working environment, team members are spending less time together. This can make it easy to overlook your team’s small victories. This lack of recognition can leave employees feeling unappreciated, lowering their morale. To avoid this, create a culture that prioritizes employee recognition.

Recognition doesn’t need to entail a grand gesture. Simply thanking a co-worker could make all the difference.

In the remote world, this may involve highlighting a team member’s achievements on the company Slack channel. Creating a specific channel of “shout-outs” also encourages teammates to publicly praise each other, creating a culture of appreciation.

Leadership Training for Managers

People don’t quit jobs; they quit bosses. In a 2018 Udemy study, almost half of employees surveyed revealed they had quit because of a bad manager. Furthermore, nearly two-thirds of these employees felt their bosses lacked proper managerial training.

To prevent poor managers from driving off skilled employees, provide them with ongoing leadership training. Leadership training for managers should be both educational and practical.

Each manager will have their own unique set of obstacles based on their skill set and team. Make sure you tailor programs to address these needs instead of creating a “one size fits all” approach. This will ensure team leaders have the necessary skills to provide their employees with appropriate guidance.

Your employees are your company’s greatest asset. Without a skilled workforce, you can’t run a successful business. That’s why it’s important to prioritize employee retention. By spending time focused on employee growth, you’ll create happier employees and improve retention rates.

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