Thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic that has accelerated the pre-existing trends in the workplace, remote work has completely reshaped the 9 to 5 work schedule.
When the concept of remote work first entered the business environment, it was met with a great deal of scepticism.
Now, the option to work from home is a great retention strategy as it offers significant levels of flexibility and unmatched work-life balance.
According to a LiveCareer research, 81% of working professionals enjoy remote work, while 65% of respondents said that working remotely has positively affected their work-life balance.
However, to create and retain an all-star team, you need to do more than just implementing remote work policies.
Managing remote employee retention requires strategic actions to keep your team focused and motivated so they will stay with your business for years to come.
That’s why we’ll now take a closer look at the benefits of employee retention and the best practices for avoiding high turnover.
Table of contents:
- 7 ways employee retention benefits your business
- 7 employee retention strategies for remote businesses
1. 7 Ways Employee Retention Benefits Your Business
High employee turnover is bad for your business.
In fact, employee turnover can take a heavy toll on your business in terms of time and recruitment fees.
As a small business owner, even if you’re recruiting staff yourself (without having a dedicated HR team), you are still forced to dedicate time and resources to recruiting, onboarding, and training a new employee.
These costs are known as the cost-per-hire and cost-of-vacancy. Surprisingly, they can mess up your plans for scale and growth (so, don’t make the mistake of thinking that employee turnover is less harmful and expensive for your business just because you are recruiting staff yourself).
Therefore, your business can benefit in a wide variety of ways when you keep your best talent and motivate them to stick around. These include:
1. Reduced acquisition and training time: Recruiting and interviewing potential employees is a stressful, tedious, and time-consuming process. After that, it takes even more time to onboard and train new starters. So, adding up all the hours, employee turnover can be a crushing burden for you or your HR team.
2. Increased productivity: Employee turnover sets back productivity as vacant positions lead to delays, overtime, and various issues that affect the productivity rate. Focusing on employee retention and keeping employees engaged throughout their careers allows you to significantly raise productivity levels.
3. Reduced costs: Employee turnover is expensive. When people leave your company, you may need to pay high costs associated with severance, hours spent on recruiting, onboarding and training new team members, and more frequent mistakes. You should be aware that your business hits a speed bump every time you pay these costs (while employee retention can drastically reduce these expenses).
4. Experienced employees: The longer an employee is with your business, the more experience they will acquire (typically, it takes about one to two years before an employee is fully prepared and productive). On the flip side, if experienced employees leave, they’ll take all that expertise with them (potentially to a competitor).
5. Loyalty: Typically, longstanding employees are more loyal and dedicated than new starters. They are more likely to align with your business’s values and mission and believe in your company. Furthermore, loyalty encourages your staff to perform to the highest standards and have an impeccable work ethic.
6. Improved customer experience: Your employees’ experience and expertise can greatly impact how they engage with customers. While experienced employees can deliver stellar customer service, new employees are more prone to customer service mistakes (which may negatively impact your businesses’ reputation).
7. Positive company culture: It can be challenging for your employees to feel enthusiastic and excited about work if their coworkers are always leaving (especially in a remote environment where building strong relationships is critical to overcoming isolation). On the other hand, when employees stick around, your company culture can benefit.
2. 7 Employee Retention Strategies For Remote Businesses
Now that you have a firm, clear understanding of the importance of keeping your employees around, let’s look at the best strategies for retaining top talent in a remote environment.
1. Be transparent and open during the recruitment process
New employees are more likely to stick around if you clearly inform them about their job descriptions during the hiring process.
Therefore, it is critical for you to be honest and transparent with the candidates and define your expectations.
For a clear recruiting process, I recommend you specify a salary range (and potential benefits and perks), prioritise day-to-day tasks, communicate the hiring timeline, and be open about any challenges new employees may face while filling the role.
2. Use the right communication tools
Having the right communication tools makes all the difference when working remotely and helps your team stay connected and productive.
On the flip side, poor communication creates a domino effect of frustration, lower productivity, lower motivation levels and, finally, high employee turnover rates.
Today, there is a dizzying array of communication tools aiming to maintain seamless communication within virtual teams. When choosing them, you need to pay attention to factors such as the sensitivity level of information to be communicated, amount of information to be shared, urgency and frequency, etc.).
3. Free up your staff for more meaningful duties
Especially if you’re a small business owner, you may need your skilled employees to do menial, repetitive, and time-consuming tasks (e.g., answering business calls, performing basic administrative tasks, etc.).
These menial tasks are likely to derail your core team members, leading to frustration and stress (two common causes of employee turnover).
Hiring a new in-house team member may seem like a good idea, but perhaps you should think twice before paying the high costs associated with a new employee.
Remote business owners can quickly get tedious tasks off their plate (and free up their core team members) with an affordable virtual office package.
Virtual offices include essential services (such as a virtual receptionist trained to handle business calls and perform basic activities) that allow you and your team to focus on your business core activities instead of dealing with repetitive tasks.
4. Make virtual meetings with your team members more engaging and productive
As a remote business owner, finding clever and creative ways to make your virtual meetings engaging is an absolute must in order for your team members to overcome isolation and zoom fatigue (and keep them motivated and happy).
I’m by no means saying that you should use Zoom filters and turn yourself into a cartoon during your daily catch-ups with your team (although it can be a great way to make your Zoom meetings fun – if your company culture is playful and light-hearted).
But, I am encouraging you to apply a few tips (like the expert tips in this post) to make your virtual meetings more interactive and engaging and spark creative energy (instead of holding draining and boring online meetings).
5. Offering creative compensation
High compensation is a must when looking to retain top talent. Outside of the monetary reward, you may also want to offer your employees perks such as gym memberships or access to online training and free learning courses.
Alternatively, you can offer your best employees a remote perk stipend that allows them to choose what they want and need most.
Personally, I believe that a remote perk stipend is by far the best way to motivate remote employees through compensation (because remote employees are very different from each other and may live in different geographical zones, which is why a traditional one-size-fits-all perk approach might not work best for them).
6. Adopt flexibility of time and location
Especially after the Covid-19 outbreak, a number of organisations (especially large corporations) have introduced remote working policies but without actually rethinking the 9-to-5 culture (meaning that employees must be available from 9 to 5 during regular working hours – not to mention that some organisations do not allow remote employees to change their current location).
Adopting flexibility of time and location means enabling your employees to work from anywhere, anytime, without boundaries.
For many employees, the ability to work a split shift (e.g., before and after the school day) can make a world of difference.
So, remember that flexibility is key to workplace happiness.
7. Trust your team (and avoid time tracking)
Employees who trust their employers are far more likely to stay loyal to the business.
Trust is an essential building block that you need to nurture in order to avoid employee turnover.
In many cases, time tracking initiatives hurt employees (not to mention that it can be inefficient as it creates stress and leads to low employee morale). That’s why I am encouraging you to focus more on the quality of work rather than the number of hours worked.
Most of the time, time tracking is unnecessary administrative overhead rather than a way to boost employees’ productivity.
Show your team you have confidence in them, and you do not need to calculate hours worked to ensure they stay productive.
Conclusion: An innovative employee retention strategy engages and motivates your employees to get more work done in less time and stay with your business for years to come.
If you haven’t built or revisited your employee retention strategy yet, I suggest you try the golden nugget tips in this post. They will help you increase your team commitment and loyalty and reduce employee turnover.
If you’re running a remote home-based business, there’s no better way to improve your company’s culture and boost employee morale than getting a cost-effective, exclusive virtual office. It would be a pleasure for us to provide you with essential services that will improve your workflow and make your team happier and more productive.