Attentive efforts generate loyalty, decrease turnover.

As the economy begins to improve, the issue of employee retention takes on increasing significance. Workers who have stayed in place because of limited opportunities elsewhere may soon seek greener pastures.These departures can be expensive. Outgoing employees take along knowledge, skills and customer relationships, and productivity and morale can suffer when they leave. In addition, it’s costly to attract, interview, and train a new employee.

The costs associated with turnover, which can add up to 150 to 200 percent of an employee’s annual salary, make employee engagement worth the effort. To encourage worker loyalty:

Offer recognition:   A survey by the American Psychological Association found that half of employees who say they do not feel valued intend to look for a new job in the next year. Letting employees know they’re appreciated shows respect and keeps morale high.

Say thanks: Recognizing employee contributions can be as simple as a thank-you note. Verbally praising a specific accomplishment, giving an employee credit for a good idea, or saying thanks for contributions made to the team all show appreciation. Employees can also be thanked with a tangible reward, such as an award, gift certificate, lunch with a supervisor, or a department celebration.

Train managers: Managers make a significant impact on an employee’s job satisfaction. Almost half of workers in one survey said they were likely to leave their job if they did not feel appreciated by their manager. Managers should be aware of the importance of showing gratitude for a job well done. Supervisors who are trained in communication, teambuilding, and conflict resolution can create a productive and engaging environment that encourages employee loyalty.

Consider creative benefits: A flexible schedule, casual dress days, and an improved physical environment are options for creating an enjoyable work atmosphere.

Get it right from the start: An onboarding program that extends for several months can help a company’s newest employees understand values and expectations. Spending time with key colleagues and meeting regularly with a supervisor help an employee get up to speed more quickly. A mentor can personalize an employee’s orientation, provide guidance, and offer support during the first months on the job.

Follow strong principles: An employee’s satisfaction with a job can be impacted by the values of the people he’s working for. The credibility of leadership and the sense of fairness in the workplace factor into an employee’s decision to stay.
It’s well worth the effort to take time to communicate with employees about the contributions they make and their value to the organization. Letting them know that their work is appreciated can make their job more satisfying and encourage them to stay in the long-term.