To say that the labor landscape in 2023 is tumultuous is an understatement. With record low levels of unemployment, talent pools are sparse—highly qualified individuals are well-entrenched in positions. Meanwhile, the rippling effects of the Great Resignation have spun into a labor movement that favors workers, putting the onus on companies to distinguish themselves through better pay, benefits and culture.
All this is to say that hiring in 2023 is an uphill battle. Instead, many companies have shifted focus to the talent they have. How can you retain key employees and maximize the workforce you already have? Given the fierce hiring market, it’s a question more and more companies are asking.
If you’re looking to retain key employees and keep them invested in your organization for the foreseeable future, here’s six areas of focus that add up to tenure among your talent.
1. Build Out Total Rewards
Today’s employees aren’t just looking at their paychecks to justify the time they put in each week. They’re also looking at perks like retirement contributions (401k, 403b), PTO and vacation packages, healthcare benefits, reimbursement opportunities and numerous other employer-backed incentives. Are you offering them?
This collection of benefits, called Total Rewards, needs to incentivize employees to stay on at your organization by giving them no reason to look elsewhere. Thankfully, there’s a wide breadth of rewards employers can offer to sweeten an already competitive salary. It’s all about knowing what employees value and striving to give it to them.
2. Offer Upskilling and Continuing Education
When employees start to feel like they’ve reached their peak potential, it’s usually followed by feelings of complacency or stagnancy. This usually snowballs into lethargy. The antidote? Keep the fire of ambition burning inside of them with upskilling and continuing education opportunities.
Given the opportunity to grow their skills and broaden their capabilities, employees are more likely to reinvest themselves in their careers. If your organization provides pathways to continuing education, they’re also more likely to tether themselves to their current role—or set eyes on a higher position within the company. Why leave when you could stay and grow?
3. Refine Your Company Culture
One of the biggest factors companies use to retain employees these days is culture. According to recent data, culture fit is a top priority for 46% of job seekers. Moreover, engaged, happy employees can more than double their productivity (202%). Put simply: those who enjoy where they work and feel a connection to the company are more likely to invest themselves—time, energy, effort and purpose—in that company.
Make no mistake, there’s a huge difference between happy and content. If your employees aren’t enamored with your culture, it means they’re not fully invested. Conversely, those who feel immediate pride and happiness associated with their jobs are more likely to maintain employment—are more reluctant to explore other options when enticed.
4. Offer Remote and Hybrid Work Options
The way we work has changed and continues to change post-pandemic. Many companies have embraced remote work. Others have returned to the office. Still more are experimenting with hybrid work models. Whichever your company chooses to invest itself in, make sure you’re giving support to your employees.
Don’t just offer remote, flex or hybrid options—invest in them. Offer reimbursements for work tech for home use. Structure teams and projects around a virtual or flexible model. Open new channels for communication, to keep employees engaged. Above all, don’t just commit to a new work style: show employees you’re fully supportive of this new model and enable them to succeed within it.
5. Show a Clear Career Path
No one wants to feel like they’re stuck at a dead-end job. When there’s no clear path for getting ahead, eager workers will do the natural thing: job hop. As many as 75% of Millennial workers say that job-hopping has helped them get ahead in their careers, and it’s gratifying to begin a new position with higher stature than the one you just departed. Unfortunately for companies, that leaves more than a position to be filled—it represents a loss of qualified talent.
To retain key employees, companies need to provide a clear path for advancement—one that makes the prospect of job hopping seem needlessly difficult. Leaders who take the time to develop 1-, 3- and 5-year plans for key employees will find that not only do those employees stick around, they eagerly work toward a known future.
6. Reevaluate Your Compensation Structure
While it’s last on this list, reevaluating compensation should be closer to the top of the list for many companies that are struggling to retain talent in 2023. More often than not, the key driver behind workers seeking new employment is better compensation elsewhere. And, with inflation ticking up sharply in 2022, under-compensated workers have more reason than ever to pursue a bigger paycheck.
Reevaluating compensation structures and salaries is a daunting (and expensive) prospect. Take the time to work with an outside firm and use this opportunity to benchmark industry salaries at a time when they’re broader than ever. make it clear to employees that you value them and their abilities, and strive to pay them their worth. At the very least, consider what a cost of living raise would look like as a measure to retain key employees.
Strive to Retain Key Employees
Historically, hiring has never been a simple process, and it’s only getting more complex. Finding, vetting, onboarding and retaining talent all require extensive time and money—not to mention the frameworks to ensure a new hire feels welcome and valued in their role. Now, more than ever, there’s a need to retain key employees.
If you’re looking to expand your talent workforce, these tips will also help establish a foundation for attracting new hires. Just make sure you’re working with an search firm that understands exactly how to leverage these benefits into successful hires—especially if you’re seeking to hire an executive or top-level management professional.