Have you ever noticed that some companies seem to have no turnover? Is there a competitor in your industry that seems to hang on to its people no matter the state of the economy? What’s going on there? What does it take, in today’s war for talent, to hang on to the employees you already have? 

While every company culture is different, those with little turnover typically have some common practices or attributes that bind teams more closely to them and make them impervious to poachers. Consider these:

  • Leaders who are trustworthy-;transparent, approachable, believable, honest, and fair
  • Employees who are paid fairly and are rewarded with meaningful work, opportunities to develop their skills, and appreciation for their contributions
  • Company cultures that are strong and positive, with an emphasis on being a good corporate citizen involved in the communities in which the organization operates
  • Benefits designed specifically for the company’s workforce

This last point is an overlooked opportunity for many organizations. Asking your employees about what is important to them beyond a fair and competitive compensation package may yield surprising answers. Organizations like World at Work, SHRM, and a wide range of other total rewards (compensation and benefits) experts can provide information about what other companies are offering, as well as the current common or usual practices. No one knows what will work to retain your employees better than your employees!

Common benefits like health insurance, preventive health and wellness programs, retirement savings options, leave policies, flexible working arrangements, family-focused benefits, skills and career development programs are all table stakes in today’s more challenging talent retention and acquisition environment. Additionally, increasing federal, state, and municipal regulations mean that some aspects of these common benefits are not “nice to haves,” but rather legally required “must haves.”

But what about those competitors who never seem to lose employees? They’re providing much more than the common and required benefits. Many of them are asking their employees every year about what is important to them. Just as the demographic makeup of your workforce may change every year, the answers to that question may be different every year.

Extended paid parental leave for the birth or adoption of a child is being requested in many organizations for both mothers and fathers. Organizations with multiple National Guard members are offering extended pay and benefits during deployment. Many employees of all four generations are finding paid time off for volunteer or community service a very “sticky” benefit that makes them enthusiastic about remaining in their jobs. Unlimited sick leave and unlimited vacation leave are not common, but are being introduced in some organizations. Financial wellness programs are beginning to gain traction as Baby Boomers confront the financial realities of retirement and Millennials wrestle with paying off massive student loan debt.

The best way to keep your employees forever is to create a culture where they feel safe, trusted, appreciated, and where their bosses relate to them as living, breathing humans and not just nine-to-five skills resources. Creating bespoke benefits packages that are custom-fitted to your employee population - not an expert’s one-size-fits-all pattern - will win the skirmishes as well as the war for your employees’ loyalty. And you’ll soon become one of those enviable companies with amazingly low turnover.