Five Talent Retention Strategies to Minimize Turnover Rates

With job opening rates increasing across the US, many companies are realizing the importance of talent retention. As the Great Resignation/Reshuffle continues to develop, data has shown the unemployment rate was at its highest in the District of Columbia at 6.3 percent. New Mexico and California aren’t too far behind, with rates of 5.9 percent and 5.7 percent, respectively. 


Meanwhile, the South and West are leading the way with the highest percentage of employees quitting their jobs (3.1 percent and 3 percent, accordingly). Not to mention, the Midwest and South have a significant increase in their job opening rates at 7.4 percent and 7.1 percent, accordingly. The Northeast and the West come in close with rates of 6.8 percent and 6.7 percent, respectively. 


There are many factors that have led to the increase in the number of people quitting their jobs. For example, back when the United States first went into quarantine, many workers realized they could earn more from unemployment than from their job. This motivated many to find different avenues to earn an income. 


While it doesn’t seem like things will turn around quickly, we can begin to look at ways to improve your talent retention. Here are five talent retention strategies to minimize turnover rates.

1. Get To The Root

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), as of January 2020, the average number of years an employee stayed in their role was 4.1 years.  Unfortunately, the BLS does not have an updated report for 2020 or 2021 yet, but we can only imagine with the layoffs, furloughs, and voluntary terminations that happened in 2020-2021 due to COVID, this average has significantly dropped.  So if your average voluntary tenure is less than 2 years, it’s time for you to dive into which roles, departments, management teams, locations, etc. are having problems.


To get to the root, you have to understand why your company is struggling. Perhaps your company is struggling because employees are not happy with policies and procedures, or perhaps your company has flaws within the interviewing process.  Once you discover the root of your issue, you can begin to address it. Here are a few tips to do so.


Tips to Discover Your Root


If you have a high turnover rate, collect some data from your employees who are quitting. You can do this by creating an “exiting survey.” On or before your employees’ last working day, ask them to fill out a survey. In the survey, you can ask questions such as, “Is there anything we can do better as a company?” This will give you feedback on what you can change.


You can also do this with current employees. Perhaps each year or quarter you can give your employees a survey regarding how happy they are and what changes they would love to see. You may also want to consider allowing your employees to submit their feedback anonymously. This can encourage honest feedback. Just make sure you take action and communicate results to your employees, otherwise you significantly increase your chances of making things worse!

2. Before Interviewing

It’s important to recognize that talent retention starts well before you hire someone. It even starts before you put up your hiring sign. It starts by defining your goals. What are your company’s goals and who can help you achieve them?


After defining your company’s goals, you can begin defining your ideal employee. Consider what makes a candidate THE ideal employee in that particular open role.  What skills and personality traits are you looking for? What beliefs/values do you want your ideal hire to have? Perhaps they believe in treating everyone fair and listening to understand a problem in order to fix it. There are different ways you can create your ideal employee profile, but you may want to consider leaning on your Talent Optimization process. Creating the ideal profile by answering questions like these will help you know what to look for during the interviewing process. AND it will help you focus your interview questions as well.

And make sure you are being intentional about who you are looking for AND be diverse. As we learned from Scott Dust, an associate professor of management at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and chief research officer at Cloverleaf, companies who are intentionally seeking diversity should focus less on demographics and more on psychographics.

3. Onboarding Process

Review and develop a strategic onboarding process. Your new hires should learn exactly what their role is. This is also a great time to teach them about your company culture and who the company is, teach any new skills, and, of course, they should feel welcomed and that they feel like they belong (as part of your DE&I strategies).

Did you know that over 69% of new hires are more likely to stay with a company for at least three (3) years after a great onboarding experience?  And that 20% of turnover with new hires happens within the first 45 days of employment.  To top that off, 23% of new hires turnover before their first anniversary.  This puts a lot of pressure on the onboarding phase of the employee lifecycle. Get it right and you have a good chance the employee will stay around but get it wrong and you might as well start looking for a replacement.  And have you considered what the cost is when you do get it wrong? A whopping estimated cost between 100% and 300% of the replaced employee’s salary!!!

4. Provide Mentorship Opportunities

Having a mentor is a great way for your employees to build a meaningful relationship with someone they can be open with. A mentor can provide guidance and support as your employees continue to grow. You don’t have to have a full mentorship program in place to provide new hires. Help your new hires out by identifying Subject Matter Exports (SMEs) they can reach out to and get support when their manager and/or other team members are unavailable. 


Did you know that having a mentorship opportunity/program in place for minorities is a huge step toward building a diverse organization?

5. Put Your Employees First

Many companies are customer-focused, but shifting your focus to the happiness of your employees is a win for your customers and company too. If your employees are happy with their compensation and benefits, and they feel heard and valued, they are more likely to provide quality service and work…and stay with you. How do you know if your employees are happy? Ask! Stay-interviews, focus groups, surveys, getting feedback from managers through 1-1 meetings with their employees, etc.

Need More Help?

We know how hard it is to run a business, but there are ways to help alleviate the hardship that comes along with talent retention. Being in constant communication with your team, providing and obtaining feedback, and engaging with them on a regular and deep level are more ways to help. 


Your talent is what helps your company move forward. We know this, and we know that you know this too, otherwise you would not be reading this post. If you are in need of someone to come alongside you to build strategies to acquire and retain talent, Guide to HR is always here for you. Feel free to contact us!

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