One of the best ways to retain employees is to help them become more enticing job candidates. It may seem counterintuitive, but employers that help employees aggressively expand their resumes can keep them happy where they are.
In the current job market, companies are using unprecedented incentives to keep their top talent. Competitive compensation and the flexibility of remote work are just table stakes. Some businesses offer their employees lifestyle benefits that go well beyond gym memberships or gift cards.
For instance, employers can use platforms that award employees with babysitting or housecleaning services, vacations or clothes. They can even reward employees with learning opportunities like lessons in blacksmithing, cheese making and surfing or experiences ranging from Broadway plays to sky diving. Google recently invited employees to a private performance by Lizzo.
Attention-getting perks like those certainly can’t hurt, but they’re probably not going to retain employees when then receive a tempting job offer at another company. Many factors contribute to employee engagement and retention, from culture and camaraderie to great benefits and competitive compensation. But the work itself may be the most important factor.
Make them excited to get to work
One of the questions we ask most often in employee engagement conversations for our agency’s clients is: How do you feel when you’re on your way to work?
When employees report that they’re excited to get to work, it’s generally because they’re involved in challenging and meaningful work. That might mean learning to use a new technology, building new skill sets or otherwise having a chance to try something that isn’t currently included in the experience they have listed on their resume.
Encourage managers to think of employees’ futures
When employees are successful in their current roles, managers might naturally want to keep them where they are. Encourage your managers to think about how to retain employees for the company, not just their department. Urge them to take an active role in plotting the future for their team members by talking with individual employees about where their career paths might lead and being proactive about providing their next challenge to create faster career growth.
Build the skills currently missing on their resumes
Viewing current employees through the lens of a hiring manager can help identify areas where they need to build skills and experience. Manufacturing employees, for instance, might benefit from learning more about lean principles and continuous improvement strategies. A manager might recommend Six Sigma courses to an employee and find ways to provide time for them to complete that training. Or a manager might assign that employee a project that involves working closely with current Six Sigma experts in the company.
If employees are interested in shifting their career paths, managers can help facilitate a move from human resources to marketing or from marketing to sales. The goal is to work with employees to help plot their career growth within the company, providing opportunities for them to stretch and grow and try new things within the safety of a company that supports them.
Make internal job openings more available
To that end, look for ways to make job openings within the company more visible for current employees. Post a link to current openings on the home page of your intranet or include a newsletter article on a department that’s hiring aggressively. You can quote leaders in that department and current employees about the team’s new projects or recent accomplishments.
Backfilling positions left empty by employees moving into new roles may feel like you’re trading one problem for another. But consider the value of retaining that experienced talent—and keeping them excited about the work in front of them each day.