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If you don't have an employee retention strategy... you should.

Employers in California are feeling the effects of the low unemployment rate. According to the Employment Development Department (EDD), the unemployment rate for California in January 2018 was 4.6%. While this is not the lowest it has been in the recent past, it certainly is affecting the retention strategies of many employers across the state.

What is a retention strategy? Why is it important?

Retaining employees is the practice of keeping employees driven and focused on their jobs so they remain engaged and productive at work. Why is this more important than recruiting a new employee? The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) discovered through a 2016 survey that the average cost to hire a new employee is $4,129. By having a retention plan in place, an employer is able to save time and resources.

Engagement: What does it really mean?

What can employers do to retain employees when the market is limited and the competition tries to entice your employees away? Employee engagement is more important than ever. An engaged employee is committed to the company and to their position, and therefore is at a much lower risk of turnover. They are proven to perform better in their roles and are passionate about what they do, thus bringing innovation and new ideas to the table.

Engagement meets retention

It's not just about pay. According to a recent Job Satisfaction and Engagement report from SHRM, benefits and other perks matter just as much as what you are paying employees. A strong health care package can make an impact, but many employers are going one step further.

Employees want to have a strong relationship with their managers. This can happen in many ways including feeling as though they are contributing to the team as well as having their successes acknowledged. A simple "good job" or other spontaneous moments of recognition can go a long way. This also combats employees feeling like they only hear about their performance when it is negative.

Company or department activities away from the office can also help foster a strong company culture. This allows the team to get to know each other outside of work and build meaningful connections. These events don't need to break the bank. Popular ideas include taking a walk in the park or volunteering at a local shelter. If your company is able to budget for these events, attending a local ball game or hosting a team dinner are great ways to get your team out of the office. If you are mandating your nonexempt employees to attend these events, they are to be compensated for their time.

Take action

Every industry will have their own retention strategies. Your consultant is available to help determine what might be best for your company and your employees. Implementing an employee retention plan can make a difference now and for years to come.