innovative ideas HR
Employee Retention

We all know that companies worldwide are fighting hard to hire and retain top talent.

In addition to keeping up with the latest trends in technology, businesses today must also plan and implement creative HR ideas or they risk being left behind.

From hiring new employees efficiently, onboarding them enthusiastically, training them strategically and engaging all employees thoughtfully, there are many opportunities to stand out with creative HR practices.

So, let’s take a look at some of the most unique and innovative HR practices that top companies around the world have implemented.

1. Want to Keep Your Best Employees? Offer Them Cash to Quit

When it comes to hiring and firing, there is a sort of unwritten rule that most companies must hire quickly and fire slowly.

But the shoe and accessories e-tailer Zappos swears by the opposite – they claim that the most harm actually comes from hiring mistakes. Their own past hiring mistakes have cost them well over $100 million dollars.

So they came up with a unique solution. During the initial training of a new employee, Zappos offers to pay them for any time spent training plus one month’s salary – and all they have to do is to quit. Only a small percentage of the newbies take the offer, but the committed employees stay and continue to provide the exceptional customer service that the company is famous for.

This approach isn’t limited to just Zappos. Amazon also started their own Pay to Quit program. Amazon’s employees get this offer once a year, the first an offer for $2000 with annual increases of $1000 each year after that, with a maximum of $5000.

2. Develop Mentorship Programs to Engage Employees

Approximately 30% workers in America are now millennials, according to Howe and Strauss.

By 2020 this generation will become 50% of the global workforce, so that means that the war for the best and brightest is happening now.

The Deloitte Millennial Survey 2016 showed that millennials who plan to stay 5+ years at a company are twice as likely to have a mentor. This study only confirms what we already know in our hearts: When a manager is involved in their team member’s training and development, they’re much more likely to stay longer.

But how do you train someone on top of doing your own work? One way you can do this is by training in snippets and showing (not only telling) your employee what good work looks like.

3. Welcome New Hires With High-Fives

A study in the Academy of Management Journal showed that when people starting a new job have a higher level of support, they’re more positive and more productive.

One way to show your support is by organizing a high-five lane for the new employee on their first day at work so that everyone greets and welcomes the newbie by creating a euphoric atmosphere.

It can also be done at the end of the new employee’s orientation – similar to how the company WP Engine ends their orientation, as shown in this video.

If we go by the results of a UC Berkeley psychology professor who examined NBA games for 8 months and concluded that high fives actually played a part in helping teams win, then this practice seems like a great return on the (almost non-existing) investment.

4. Increase Retention With Company-Sponsored Personal Development

Salary, bonuses, free transportation, and insurance benefits are just a few of the items in a classic remuneration package – but things are changing in this regard, too, as modern companies are developing new, creative ways of attracting and keeping top talent. Part of this change focuses on promoting health and well-being by offering great work-life balance and stress-reducing activities such as a free company gym sessions.

One example of this is company-sponsored fitness classes. Alexa Von Tobel, Founder and CEO of LearnVest, offers a gym class to her employees at the start of the work day.

Other perks include endless vacation time and flexible time off – employers are finally realizing that employees do not choose to be sick, injured, or stuck in traffic. Life happens.

5. Create New Feedback & Evaluation Standards to Develop Your Employees

Forget 360-degree feedback systems. Hoping to improve performance simply by supplying anonymous feedback on a leader’s shortcomings without context or details is unrealistic.

The same could also be said for managers providing feedback for their team members — the rigid evaluation sheet is a thing of the past.

Instead, try this: T.H.I.N.K and be S.M.A.R.T. Stay focused and compassionate during the feedback discussion (with an emphasis on discussion) by asking yourself the following questions: “Is it True?”, “Helpful?”, “Inspiring?”, “Necessary?” and “Is what I’m about to say Kind?”.

When providing feedback, make sure it’s: Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant and Timely.

Keeping these two acronyms in mind during your next evaluation discussion with your teammate will help you separate constructive feedback from opinions that are better kept to yourself.

6. Reimagine the Standard Workspace to Keep Things Interesting

It can be easy to forget that millennials were in school only a few short years ago, where they spent quite a bit of time trying to be engaged (even though they weren’t always), so they can be pretty skilled at pretending to be engaged.

Placing them at a standard desk for an entire workday, giving them classroom-style training and asking them to participate in long, drawn-out meetings in a standard meeting room can result in lost interest – and the worst part is that you may not know it until they hand in their resignation letter.

A few alternate ideas include unassigned workstations, getting rid of private offices, and increased connectivity – as the real estate giant CBRE recently discovered after relocating to a more creative working space.

In their internal survey, 83% of employees reported feeling more productive from working collaboratively in a smaller space.

7. Help Your Employees Give Back by Matching Charitable Contributions

Speaking of millennials, 75% of them believe that businesses are too focused on their own agendas and not focused enough on improving society. Additionally, Cone Research found that 79% of people favor working in a company that is socially responsible; while 79% of people believe it’s important that their employer matches their charitable giving.

Since most employees wish to work for companies that are on a mission to change the world, ideas like matching employees’ charity donations and encouraging employees to spend a few paid days every year volunteering in their community are welcomed.

An easy activity that the HR department can organize is workplace giving – meaning the employer makes it possible for the employees to make monetary donations directly from their salary. This, the America’s Charities 2015 Snapshot claims, is a common component of employee engagement.

It’s a win-win for everyone.

Some of these companies are so original in their HR strategies and so transparent in their thinking that it’s easy to make our heads spin — but proper dedication and execution can make all the difference in making sure you fill your organization with the right people.

A couple of questions for you:

Does your company have some innovative HR practices? What kind of impact have they had on the company? Share your experiences in the comments below!

employee turnover rate retention best practices
Employee Retention

Let’s face it: Finding a replacement after a key employee leaves can be downright exhausting. It costs time, money, and — let’s be honest — a little patience.

The higher our employee turnover rates become, the more time we spend training new employees again and again and again.

The average total turnover among all industries in 2015 was 16.7%, with a voluntary turnover of 11.6%.

In short, it doesn’t matter how big your business is — it’s a pretty significant cost that can’t be overlooked.

I know what you may be thinking: “OK, OK, but what can I do about it?”

Well, the good news is that while employee turnover may be inevitable, there are some big (and often overlooked) things you can do to stay competitive and keep top talent.

If you want to keep your best people around longer, read on to discover the realities of employee turnover, as well as best practices to improve employee retention for your company.

Employee Turnover Rates: What You Should Know

Massive droves of rapidly fleeing employees aren’t just a problem for bad employers; almost all businesses experience this problem at some point.

In fact, 32% of employers say that they expect their employees to job hop (and know this even during the hiring process).

Employee turnover costs more than you might think, too.

The costs vary highly from business to business, but they’re still pretty mind-boggling.

For example, a CAP study found that even high-turnover, low-paying jobs that earn under $30,000 a year still cost a whopping 16% of the employee’s salary. This means that replacing an employee that earns $10 an hour would cost over $3,000.

The reality is that the more an employee progresses in their company and role, the more losing them will cost.

So, it’s really no wonder why many companies are making employee retention a major priority.

Factors that Contribute to High Employee Turnover Rates

So, what causes higher turnover rates in great companies?

Everything from having more career pressure placed on employees to bad management can make great employees jump ship.

With the job economy being the way that it is, it’s hard to imagine that turnover rates are as high as they are.

Why is it that people are consistently leaving their jobs when it’s so difficult to find new ones?

Here are some of the biggest factors that contribute to employees fleeing for greener pastures:

Scenario 1: Bad management.

The truth is that your leaders ultimately set your company culture, and having a manager your employees can trust and be inspired by is essential to keeping people around.

Scenario 2: Feeling undervalued.

Who doesn’t like feeling appreciated? Really, though — as it turns out, feeling undervalued is one of the biggest reasons employees go running.

Believe it or not, getting a scheduled pay raise isn’t always enough — most employees need fairly consistent acknowledgment that their work is both good and appreciated.

Scenario 3: Low pay.

If you’re offering pay that isn’t competitive, you might as well leave your help wanted ads up permanently. It’s competitive out there!

Scenario 4: The stress is too much.

Have you ever thought, “this job isn’t worth what I’m making?” That’s a thought most of us have had, but if your employees have it too often, you’ll lose them fast.

Some jobs have stress that’s too much, and whether it’s because of unrealistic demands from clients or management or because they’re picking up the slack when the business is understaffed, we all have our breaking point.

Scenario 5: Stagnation.

Many good employees will go into a new job and work hard to climb the ranks. These are the employees we really want to keep on board, because they’ll likely become our top talent.

If high-achievers stay stuck in the same position or aren’t given enough responsibilities, they’ll get bored, restless, and disengaged (in other words: NOT good for your employee retention rate).

Best Practices for Improving Your Employee Retention Rate

Some employee turnover is inevitable. If you’ve found a way to maintain perfect employee retention for 10+ years, then you’re most definitely magic.

For the rest of us, the best thing to do is to double down on improving employee retention rates.

Luckily, there are a number of awesome ways to keep your best talent around:

Solution #1: Hire off of referrals.

That old saying “it’s not what you know but who you know” is at least a little true — and hey, there’s nothing wrong with that. Your employees will refer you to people they actually want to work with.

Several studies have backed this up. One study found that traditional recruiting had a 20% retention rate after 2 years, while recruiting from employee referrals had a 45% retention rate for the same time period.

And that’s a massive difference that shouldn’t be overlooked.

Solution #2: Give regular raises.

Most employees want raises about every twelve months.

One study actually found that about 35% of workers said they would start looking for a new job if they didn’t receive a raise in 12 months.

Raises should be given both annually and when an employee gets a promotion.

Solution #3: Recognize value.

We discussed above how feeling undervalued is a reason employees leave, so it only makes sense that recognizing their value will keep them around.

While some companies use cash bonuses for a job well-done, a sincere acknowledgement can actually go just a little bit further.

Giving employees credit and validation for their work will make them feel great, and who doesn’t like feeling great? Training your company’s leaders and managers to recognize and vocalize their employees’ value will go a long way.

Recognizing value can also mean trusting your employees with appropriate levels of increasing responsibility as they’re ready for it.

Telling a worker that you know they’re ready to take the lead on a big project will let them know that you value them, and it will keep them engaged and growing.

Even if you’re taking a chance by giving them new (and bigger) responsibilities, the fact that you believe in them will go a long way.

Solution #4: Offer continual coaching.

We naturally (hopefully) want our employees to continue to get better and better, so it’s no surprise that our best employees want the same thing for themselves.

Offering continual education is crucial to their personal growth and their growth within your company. Conferences, courses, and one-on-one feedback will boost their performance and show them that you want them to advance in your company.

Final Thoughts

Keeping your employees is far from easy, especially with the consistently revolving door that many businesses are experiencing — which is why focusing on employee retention is vital.

With the high costs of recruiting, hiring, and training new employees, it’s an exceptionally important investment that brands and businesses of all sizes should be making.

How does your company lower employee turnover rates? Let us know in the comments below!