Cake with white frosting and red words written on it that say, "Congratulations on winning 'Best Automotive Website of 2011'"
PHOTO: Supermac1961

It’s simply a reality for most organizations: People will quit. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of people quitting their jobs in November was 3.4 million. That doesn't mean you can't build a strategy to help keep those employees around. We caught up with employers who have some successful tactics for retaining employees.

Reward Them With Vacations

Sounds simple enough, right? But some organizations provide too little vacation or wait too long to offer extended vacation weeks. Danielle Kunkle, of Boomer Benefits, said her organization recently moved all employees to three weeks paid vacation after just 12 months on the job. “Our employees spend a great deal of time on the phones either in sales or policy service, and it’s easy to experience burnout in a job like this,” she said. “We’ve got great people, and we invest a lot in getting them trained and licensed to work with insurance products in 47 states."

Kunkle said it's worth it to give them extra vacation time to keep them. "We want them to like their jobs and also feel like they get to spend enough time with their families outside of work as well," she said.

Related Article: The Forgotten Employee Experience: When People Quit

Know the ‘Currency’ That Attracts Employees

Determine the “currency” that appeals to your top talent, MessageBird CEO Robert Vis said. “Turns out, it’s not always money. In 2019 and beyond, we’ll see more and more job applicants choose companies that give them the most opportunity for growth. Or, another way to put it, prospective employees will prioritize job opportunities that provide them with the most tools for their professional tool boxes,” he said.

For example, engineers want complex challenges and cutting-edge technologies where they can have an immediate impact. Millennials, he added, want companies who can offer remote work opportunities or global travel. Gen Z will request learning and development opportunities as they grow into their careers. “The biggest change we anticipate in 2019 when it comes to the job search is a shift in mindset. We see top candidates thinking more holistically about what a company can offer beyond the paycheck, while companies are getting more creative about how to not just attract, but retain their top talent,” Vis said.

Related Article: 9 Ways to Improve Employee Retention With 'Stay Interviews'

Appoint a Happiness Overseer 

Christoph Seitz, co-owner of CFR Rinkens, said one of the best things his company did was create a new position called the Director of Happiness. The main goal of this position is to increase engagement from employees and to enhance company culture. “The main thing to focus on is identifying the core values you want your company to align with,” Seitz said. 

His company also supports transparency and displays recognition for reaching goals on a large screen that is in the center of the office for everyone to see. Other happiness tactics: the team celebrates birthdays with catered lunches and hands out team member of the month awards with a value of $500. It also sets up a monthly meeting to recognize the success of each section of the company, which is followed by a free lunch and games. “We’re positive that this leads to happier employees,” Seitz said.

Ensure Employees Know Where They Are Helping

It's important to share the company's goals with each team member, as well as create an ongoing discussion about their own goals, according to Phil Spensieri of The Alternative Board York Region. “It's important they understand how they fit into the bigger picture,” he said. “Time should be set aside for this. Each employee should have regular 1-on-1s in which goals and expectations are clearly defined. Be transparent about the company's long term plans and how they fit into them.” 

Know where their position is headed and make sure they know it, too. This will motivate them to work toward those goals and stick around longer. In doing so, you demonstrate the long term opportunities, Spensieri said. 

As far as those goals and objectives, let your employees be in the driver seat, said Ketan Kapoor, CEO and co-founder of Mettl. Do not bombard them with questions about the progress of their work, but do give them enough support and hand-holding when you have to. “It’s really about the right balance,” Kapoor said. 

Related Article: How to Onboard for Retention

Offer Training, But on Their Terms

Training in most of the organizations today and as per standard processes is predetermined, according to Kapoor. “What it might translate into is training the same stuff to the employees who might already have expertise in those particular skills, or assuming a person would know certain skills and [then offering training on a much more] difficult sets of skills,” Kapoor said.

“One great tactic that has really worked for us in retaining our employees is to ask them the kind of training and orientation they would like, and then customizing the processes accordingly to engage them right from the very first day,” he said.

Get the Right Employees in the Door

Chris Chancey, of Amplio Recruiting, said the best method for keeping good employees happens before they're hired. “In order to have happy employees who want to stay on the job, two things are paramount: fitting the right person to the right job, and making sure there are opportunities for growth and advancement,” he said. “Avoid the impulse to hire the most qualified candidate for every opening.” 

For a highly specialized or technical position, the candidate with the most experience or prior career success is almost always the right choice, Chancey said. But for entry-level positions or mid-level jobs that call for more general skills. Chancey looks for characteristics such as reliability, teachability, willingness to work hard and commitment. “There really is such a thing as being over-qualified,” Chancey said. “I think of it this way: someone who is adept at quantum physics would be incredibly bored — and disconnected as a result — in a basic algebra class.”