Keys to Employee Retention During “The Great Resignation”

Dec 13, 2021 | Incentives & Recognition

You see the term everywhere: “The Great Resignation” or “The Great Reshuffle.” Employees are leaving one job for another in record numbers. Even if it were cost neutral to hire new employees (which it isn’t), the list of applicants waiting to fill the empty spots at your organization is likely pretty short.

Bottom line: It always pays — in multiple ways — to keep good talent. That’s especially true right now, as employers struggle to banish burnout and keep employees both focused and feeling good.

Speaking of feeling good, most organizations understand that retention isn’t just about raises and perks. Yes, being paid what you’re worth is essential, AND relevant recognition is key, but it’s more than that.

The key to employee retention can be as simple as connecting with them as fellow humans. Sounds like a slogan on a coffee mug? Here’s what we mean.

Four Keys to Employee Retention: It’s about connection

Listen. This sounds easier than it is. Don’t multitask in one-on-ones, don’t let your eyes stray to your phone when you’re on a video call together. The reaction you want is: “I feel heard. You understand me.”

Actively appreciate them. Appreciate each team member for who they are and what they bring to the team. Could be their humor, could be their eye for details. Whatever it is, appreciation should be ongoing and consistent. This means you’re doing more to recognize hard work and thank your team than at an annual review or an end-of-year celebration.

Recognize great work. Recognition is project-specific and time-specific. The key is to make the reward personal. If everyone on the team gets the same gift each time they do something great, it loses its effectiveness.

Trust. None of this will mean anything if you, as the manager, don’t give them stretch assignments, or follow their lead. If you’re really listening, and you really appreciate them, then trusting the quality of their work is the ultimate proof.

The good news is, you can get started quickly by implementing recognition AND appreciation quite easily.

What’s the difference? Recognition is for a job well-done. It should be timely and specific. Appreciation is for who they are as a person. Think of it as an ongoing attitude, rather than a time-specific event.

Based on our proprietary One10 study of more than 3,000 employers, when an employee feels like they are being properly recognized, they are 74% more likely to stay. This is where a points-based rewards and recognition program can be useful.

Employees need to feel understood as individuals – we all do. That’s why blanket rewards won’t work. And cash, while practical, tends to get spent on everyday needs like groceries or gas, reducing the feeling of recognition to bill-pay relief. A points program lets each person choose what most appeals to them, while also sending the message that the organization values them.

Making your team feel valuable doesn’t need to be complicated. If we focus on our team members as humans, and look for that connection – listening to them, valuing them, and letting that value show – we can keep more employees happy. And who doesn’t want to be happy at work?

Nicole Neal

Nicole Neal

Nicole Neal is a 25-year human resources professional who has focused her career on helping organizations create intentional cultures. Working with a variety of companies spanning from fast-growing technology firms to large global organizations, Nicole has shared her passion for helping employees through change while focusing on the employee experience. She is currently the EVP of Employee Xperience at One10 where she leads a team of human resources professionals tasked with fulfilling One10’s mission of creating an employee centric workplace.