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10 Key Strategies for Retaining Talented Employees

April 26, 2022
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Few of the 4 million U.S. students who graduate each year either want or expect a job for life. In fact, the average American employee stays with a company for just over four years, according to Bureau of Labor statistics. Churn is the sign of a healthy employment landscape, but something bigger is afoot in the current job market. More than 19 million U.S. workers have quit since April 2021 as part of the “Great Resignation.” For the most part, employers don’t know why they’re struggling to retain employees or how to stem the flow beyond crude employee retention strategies such as pay rises. The volatility shaping the employment landscape is about purpose, not pay. Today’s employee isn’t debating where to work, but why. Paradoxically, that’s an opportunity for employers to listen, learn and reassess how to retain employees.

What Is Employee Retention?

We’ve already explored how leadership can stimulate employee engagement, but that’s only possible if you’re able to keep employees on the payroll in the first place. Employee retention typically refers to the proportion of existing employees who remain with the company over a standard 12-month period. Sectors with the highest employee turnover include seasonal roles (lifeguards and ski instructors), retail, food service, cashiers and hospitality. These have drawn fierce criticism recently for offering minimum wage positions with little career advancement, ultimately leading employees to vote with their feet.

The Importance of Retaining Employees

Research by McKinsey at the height of the Great Resignation revealed that 40% of employees surveyed expected to quit their job in the next three months. Significantly, many were planning to resign without having lined up their next role. For the employee, it’s a brief moment of liberation before the reality of student loans and bills refocuses the mind, but for American businesses as a whole, $11 billion is lost every year due to employee turnover. The cost of hiring and training new employees adds up.

Why Do Good Employees Leave?

Half of employees leave within their first two years of employment. Not all necessarily have an ax to grind, but research by PwC identified four recurring reasons why employees jump ship:

  • Salary - Many employees find they can only unlock a pay rise by switching employers.
  • Benefits - Health coverage, pensions and child care are powerful tools employers can use to attract talent from their rivals.
  • Career advancement - Today’s fast-evolving digital landscape means that employees can quickly outgrow the skill set of their current business and will search for more challenging opportunities.
  • Flexibility - Particularly since the pandemic, employers are looking for something more than a cubicle in a downtown office five days a week.

How To Retain Employees: 10 Strategies from Great Companies

What are companies such as Pfizer, Verizon and Procter & Gamble doing to set them apart from other Fortune 100 companies when it comes to tempering volatility and boosting employee retention? The most effective employee retention strategies excel in the following ten areas.

1. Onboarding and Exit Interviews

The best-valued employers have a clear, consistent process for onboarding new hires that is interactive and engaging, perhaps featuring self-service resources, for example. New arrivals are given transparent benchmarks for performance targets.

The exit interview isn’t a lost cause when it comes to retention, however. For the employer, there’s a huge learning opportunity to discover shortcomings within the company that a current employee wouldn’t be willing to share.

2. Set Mutual Goals

Employees don’t want to feel as if they’re simply filling a vacancy. They want a road map, marked with SMART goals, that gives them momentum. Too many employers focus on what they need from a new employee, in terms of targets, without incorporating the element of professional development employees may be thinking about.

3. Work/Life Balance

Research by Microsoft showed that Gen Z has more work-related problems than any other generation. It stands to reason. They’re starting their careers in a disruptive time and have to progress at a relentless rate just to keep pace with evolving technology. Employee burnout is by no means confined to the Wall Street masters of the universe. With the lines increasingly blurred between work and home, and the right to be “offline” up for challenge, employers need to show greater flexibility when it comes to accommodating their staff.

4. Perks

A corner office or snack trolley is no longer the apogee of office perks. The most sought-after employers offer a richer variety of perks that find time and space for personal growth, whether it’s opportunities for wellness, fitness or education. These benefits should be applicable to all employees too, and incorporate family-focused perks. Patagonia, for example, offers new moms on-site child care.

5. Build Company Culture

A toxic work culture is one of the biggest reasons why good people leave a company. It could be active, such as unethical behavior or bullying, or passive, such as a failure to progress on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) measures.

A business that stands for something as a company, on the other hand, with strong values that resonate with those of its employees is more likely to retain talent. That’s the values-driven ethos behind Groundswell, making it easier for companies to offer tax-advantaged charitable giving as an employee benefit.

6. Mentorship and Training

Even a master’s degree or MBA has an expiry date. Ambitious employees crave ongoing professional development and it should be customized to their role or needs. A team that isn’t learning will stagnate, so employers have to take the lead by offering bespoke learning opportunities. It’s not enough to attract the cream of the graduate pool. Employers need to grow their existing teams too to hold on to them.

7. Communication

The frequency and quality of feedback can be critical in retaining employees. It doesn’t have to be restricted to the official quarterly review, which often feels like a box-ticking exercise for Human Resources. When employees feel heard, understood, and nurtured, they stay. When they feel overlooked or misunderstood, they seek fresh challenges.

8. Compensation

On average, workers gain a 10% to 20% raise in base salary by switching employers, but the number on the napkin isn’t the only factor to clinch the deal. Employees are looking for transparency when it comes to pay scales, gender equity, the opportunity to access performance-related commissions and bonuses, as well as rewards that don’t necessarily feature on the pay slip.

9. Recognition

Organizations with formal employee recognition programs can expect around 31% less voluntary employee turnover. Unfortunately, too many employees feel paid but not valued. As many as two-thirds of American employees claim to have received no recognition whatsoever for their good work in the last year. Employers can boost retention by establishing formal programs that enable top-down and peer-to-peer gratitude and recognition.

10. Support Flexible Working

Research from Prudential showed that 42% of American employees planned to quit if remote working was not an option. That’s the post-pandemic reality. Employers must recognize that the limitations of the office environment have been exposed and embrace the sharing of ideas and breaking down of silos across remote channels.

Retain Your Talent

Groundswell established charitable giving as a pillar of compensation. In turn, that allows your business to attract values-driven talent and reward them with a perk that matters. To find out more about our accessible philanthropy platform, contact us today.

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Unlocking Philanthropy: A Ready-to-Use Corporate Giving Policy for Modern Businesses

Sample Corporate Giving Policy You Can Use Today

In today’s socially conscious environment, more companies than ever are recognizing the value of corporate philanthropy. Not only can a robust giving policy boost a brand’s image and reputation, but it can also play a pivotal role in community development and global betterment. If your company is considering the establishment of a formal corporate giving policy or refining its existing strategy, this sample policy might be the perfect starting point for you.

Download Sample Policy

Pillars of a Strong Corporate Giving Policy

Corporate giving programs range from employer donation matching programs to full blown corporate social responsibility programs with grantmaking and volunteerism.  Many companies find somewhere in the middle that aligns with their size, budget, geographic presence and most importantly company values and commitment to diversity and inclusion. But what truly makes a corporate giving policy stand out? Let’s delve into the key features, from donation matching to the strategic use of platforms like Groundswell.

1. Donation Matching: Doubling the Impact

One of the most effective tools in a giving policy is donation matching. This is where companies match employee donations to eligible non-profits, effectively doubling the contribution. Such programs not only amplify the impact but also motivate employees to participate, knowing their chosen cause will receive twice the support.

2. Charitable Stipends: Encouraging Employee Choice

Charitable stipends are allowances given to employees to donate to a non-profit of their choice. This not only encourages a culture of giving but also empowers employees to support causes they’re passionate about. The stipends can be a fixed amount annually or can vary based on the employee’s role or tenure.

3. Dollars for Doers: Volunteering Translated to Contributions

“Dollars for Doers” programs convert volunteer hours into monetary donations. When employees volunteer their time for a cause, the company makes a donation equivalent to the hours spent. This fosters a culture of hands-on involvement and ensures that both time and money are being donated to valuable initiatives.

4. Corporate Grants: Sowing Seeds for Bigger Change

Beyond individual employee contributions, companies can set aside a dedicated fund for corporate grants. These grants can be given to non-profits, research initiatives, or community projects that align with the company’s CSR objectives. Such grants can lead to substantial, long-term changes and foster strong partnerships with community leaders and organizations.

Why Choose Groundswell for Your Giving Initiatives?

Incorporating these elements into a giving policy requires streamlined management, transparency, and ease of execution. This is where platforms like Groundswell come into the picture.

Groundswell offers an efficient and affordable solution for companies aiming to elevate their philanthropic endeavors. Here’s why it’s the ideal choice:

  • User-Friendly Interface: Groundswell’s platform is designed for both companies and employees, ensuring smooth navigation and straightforward donation processes.
  • Versatility: Whether it’s donation matching, handling charitable stipends, or managing corporate grants, Groundswell offers solutions tailored to each company’s unique needs.
  • Cost-Effective: Groundswell provides a comprehensive suite of tools at competitive prices, ensuring that more of your money goes towards the cause rather than platform fees.
  • Transparency: Track donations, monitor employee involvement, and generate detailed reports to measure the impact—all in one place.

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An effective corporate giving policy is a blend of structure, employee engagement, and impactful contributions. By incorporating elements like donation matching, charitable stipends, “Dollars for Doers,” and corporate grants, businesses can create a ripple effect of positive change. And with platforms like Groundswell, executing these initiatives becomes not just feasible but also highly efficient and cost-effective.

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5 Tips to Boost Engagement & Impact on Giving Tuesday

Leverage GivingTuesday to boost generosity

Every November, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving is known as GivingTuesday, which often serves as the unofficial start of end-of-year giving campaigns. This comes on the heels of holiday shopping deals on Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday. It is a worldwide phenomenon, inspiring millions to lean into the end-of-year holiday spirit with generosity and compassion. For many charities, GivingTuesday has become their biggest day for donations – and can help resource their ability to have an even greater impact in the year ahead.

For companies, GivingTuesday and the end-of-year giving season offers an opportunity to double down on their commitment to social responsibility, strengthen relationships with employees, and boost their impact in the community and broader world.

At Groundswell, we partner with companies all across the country to design and launch GivingTuesday campaigns – leveraging our easy-to-use platform that makes it easy for employees to participate and send donations to the causes and charities that they care most about. Below are some best practices to boost engagement and inspire generosity during the giving season.

1. Make Giving Easy:

A lot of giving platforms out there make it incredibly hard to donate. Some don’t have all 1.5 million IRS-approved charities listed. Others require employees to navigate through a web of intranet or sharepoint sites to find the giving program landing page. And others require that HR is notified of any donations an employee wants to make. At Groundswell – we are committed to removing all of the friction, and ensuring that employees can find charities easily, through a platform that is accessible from the palm of their hand, so they can give whenever they want to.

2. Launch a GivingTuesday Match Campaign:

Through Groundswell you can customize and launch a special GivingTuesday match campaign in a matter of minutes. Simply pick the nonprofits to include in the special campaign, select the start and end-date for the campaign, and then determine the match – 2x, 3x – along with any overall budget limits, then you’re done!

3. Boost engagement by involving ERGs:

Share nonprofit recommendations from Employee Resource Groups to provide inspiration around causes and nonprofits that matter to your employees. You can feature these nonprofits on dedicated ERG Corporate Spotlights and Campaigns that will be visible to all employees on their Groundswell dashboard.

4. Surprise (and Delight) Employees With A Gift to Give:

Consider sending a surprise “gift to give” to reward those already participating in your giving program (and to incentivize others to enroll). These gifts might be used to further maximize impact through the existing campaign, or to donate to other nonprofits your employees care about. Groundswell’s custom gift feature allows companies to easily schedule and send gifts with little to no administrative burden.

5. Level up with Volunteer Matching:

Groundswell’s Volunteer Matching program – sometimes known as Dollars for Doers – recognizes that some employees may not have funds to contribute, but have time – and rewards them in the same way. It’s an inclusive approach that invites everyone to participate in GivingTuesday, even those who may not be able to donate their own funds.

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12 Employee Benefits Survey Questions Modern Companies Should Ask

In today's business environment, having the right and highest performing talent is more critical than ever. With benefits packages playing a vital role in these decisions, how can companies truly gauge their effectiveness? By initiating regular employee benefits surveys.

Scroll down for a free survey template below.

Let's dive in to the importance of asking the following questions.

Is our workforce satisfied with the current employee benefits package?

Gaining insights from "how satisfied are you with our company’s benefits package?" can offer companies a quick pulse on the effectiveness of their benefits. A dip in satisfaction might signal a need for re-evaluation, especially if you're looking to maximize your budget.

How comprehensive are the employee benefits we offer?

Do employees feel that the organization covers a wide range of their needs? Asking, "do you feel our benefits package is comprehensive in its offering?" can shed light on any potential gaps in coverage.

Are we showing true commitment to Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion through our benefits?

Are the company's efforts in promoting DE&I resonating? This can be gauged by asking if the benefits genuinely support diversity and inclusion. If they aren't, here's an opportunity to collect ideas directly from your employees.

Read more about how to make sure your giving program is equitable and inclusive.

Do our benefits reflect our company culture and values?

The question, "do you feel our benefits package supports our cultural values?" will highlight any potential discrepancies in practicing what you're preaching.

Did you know? Two-thirds of employees say it’s important for a company to align to their values.

Are we catering to the needs of a remote or multi-location workforce?

With remote work on the rise, is the company adapting its benefits accordingly? It's essential to find out if employees feel supported, regardless of their work setting.

Would employees recommend the company based on our benefits?

This is an easy one to skip, but it's a great question to ask. See how influential your benefits package is for employee referrals. Determining if employees would advocate for the company based on its benefits can be a key metric for recruitment.

How do specific benefit categories fare?

By querying satisfaction levels across various benefits – physical health, social impact, mental health, financial health, and fringe benefits – can companies discern which areas are thriving and which need enhancement?

What additional benefits do employees desire?

Is there a particular benefit that could make a difference in employee satisfaction and retention? Discovering this can be as straightforward as asking, "if you could choose one benefit not currently offered, what would it be?"

If your workforce desires a more meaningful benefit, see why decentralizing your corporate philanthropy strategy can achieve greater impact at scale.

How often should I send an employee survey about our benefits?

While every business has their own set of unique needs, conducing a quarterly employee survey at minimum can help you get a pulse check.

There will be some natural and unplanned peaks in valleys throughout the year that can drastically affect employee morale and company culture. By proactively seeking feedback through surveys, companies can foster a culture of continuous improvement, ensuring they remain at the forefront of employee satisfaction.

What are some affordable benefit options we can provide employees?

Corporate matching or giving programs can be a low-cost addition to your benefit offering that supports your employees’ unique passions and perspectives through charitable giving and boosts your company’s commitment to social impact.  Groundswell offers a comprehensive solution with a simple implementation and nearly zero administration burden.

[Free Template] Employee Benefits Survey Questions

  1. How satisfied are you with our company’s benefits package?
  2. Do you feel our benefits package is comprehensive in its offering?
  3. Do you feel our benefits package supports our cultural values?
  4. Do you feel our benefits package supports our commitment to Diversity & Inclusion?
  5. Do you feel our benefits package supports our remote or multi-location workforce?
  6. How likely are you to recommend applying based on our benefits package?
  7. How satisfied are you with our physical health benefits (i.e. health care, sick leave, etc)?
  8. How satisfied are you with our social impact benefits (i.e. corporate matching, volunteering, etc)?
  9. How satisfied are you with our mental health benefits (i.e. vacation time, EAP, etc)?
  10. How satisfied are you with our financial health benefits? (i.e. retirement, student loan assistance, etc)
  11. How satisfied are you with our fringe benefits and perks? (i.e. fitness subsidies, stipends, etc)
  12. If you could choose one benefit not currently offered, what would it be?
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