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6 Employee Retention Myths Business Owners Tell Themselves

Employee retention is a growing topic of importance. As we experience the Great Resignation and see more and more businesses enter “Now Hiring” status, it’s more important than ever for business owners to think about the realities of employee retention.

Employee retention is the practice of keeping employees happy and satisfied so that they choose to stay in their current job instead of seeking opportunities elsewhere.

Unfortunately, employee retention is a topic that is often overlooked and misunderstood. To help provide a better understanding, we’ve compiled a list of the 6 most common myths about employee retention we hear business owners say:

Myth #1: “I can just hire a replacement if an employee decides to leave”

Hiring a “replacement” is often more expensive than investing in employee retention. Here’s why:

To hire new employees, business owners need to post job openings, navigate the process of accepting and screening resumes, and schedule time to conduct (multiple) interviews. Once an employee is selected, the job isn’t done. That new employee will need to be properly trained and onboarded, and will likely need time to “figure out” company or team culture and the new role they stepped into….and ALL of this must be done before being able to complete tasks correctly and efficiently.

On the other hand, to retain a current employee who is already meeting or exceeding performance expectations, a business owner simply needs to invest some time into figuring out what would make that employee want to stay.

Myth #2: “There’s nothing I can do about employee turnover– it’s just a part of business”

While employee turnover will always exist, business owners don’t have to sit idly by as they watch their best employees abandon ship. Often, they just need to invest some time and resources into understanding what keeps employees happy at work and, subsequently, what makes them want to stay with their organization.

Stay interviews are a great way to accomplish this. Requiring just a little bit of time investment, stay interviews can provide valuable insight and information about the things within an organization that are currently working, and what changes could be made to improve employee experiences.

Myth #3: “The only thing that will keep employees happy is higher pay, so if I can’t compete financially then there’s nothing else to do”

While employee pay and monetary incentives are certainly important factors when it comes to employee retention, there are other ways employers can increase employee retention:

  • Recruitment- Be clear about the job expectations from the get-go so employees are hired in with appropriate expectations.

  • Training & Development - Provide sufficient training when onboarding as well as opportunities for employees to grow or improve skills throughout their time with the organization.

  • Socialization - Create opportunities to build relationships and improve team dynamics, including opportunities for mentorship.

  • Appropriate Supervision - Hire supervisors who communicate well and have a leadership style that meets the needs and expectations of the employees they supervise.

  • Employee Engagement - Provide opportunities for employees to take pride in their work and the company they work for.

While some of these actions seem small, they can have a big impact on an employee’s day-to-day experience at a company.

Myth #4: “There aren’t enough benefits to justify putting in the work of stay interviews”

Keeping good employees is valuable in many ways. Not only is it cheaper to keep employees than it is to constantly hire new ones, but increased employee retention has other noteworthy benefits, such as increased revenue and improved performance.

As mentioned above, stay interviews are an excellent way to gain valuable information from your best employees. What’s working? What’s not? What changes could be made to improve employees’ experiences? Answers to these important questions can easily be gathered through stay interviews, and all business owners have to do is invest the time.

Myth #5: “I don’t need to worry about employee retention until I start to see employees leaving”

This is a reactive attitude that many business owners have, but waiting until the problem is blatantly evident to put processes and procedures into place isn’t the way to go if business owners want to keep their best employees.

By the time they realize that retaining their good employees is a problem, it’s often too late for business owners to do anything to keep them. Instead, business owners should adopt a proactive approach to employee retention.

Myth #6: “One employee leaving isn’t going to be the end of the world, even if they were one of my great employees”

Often, one employee leaving doesn’t end up being just one employee.

Until a replacement is hired, that one employee’s workload will need to be dispersed amongst remaining team members. Oftentimes, this overloads the remaining team members. Increased workloads leave the remaining employees feeling as though their compensation is no longer sufficient given their workload. It can also require employees to have to put in extra hours to tackle their new workload, resulting in an increased difficulty of maintaining a work-life balance.

And what happens when employees feel under-compensated, under-valued, and overworked?

They leave, too.

One employee leaving has a domino effect on an organization, and will often lead to additional resignations.

So what can you do to combat these myths and improve your organization’s employee retention?

One great solution is to conduct stay interviews. Whether done in-house or by a neutral third party, stay interviews are a cost-effective way to gain valuable insight into what’s working and what improvements can be made.

Check out our free Stay Interview Best Practices download to learn more about conducting stay interviews at your organization.

Ready to jump in and begin conducting stay interviews? Schedule a free Employee Retention Discovery Call today, or visit our shop page to purchase our comprehensive Stay Interview Toolkit.


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