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This 1 Thing Could Be the Secret to Employee Retention

By Maurie Backman – May 1, 2019 at 7:07AM

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Losing too many valuable workers? Here's a move you might try.

A healthy economy is a good thing in theory, but when jobs are plentiful, employees risk losing valuable talent when competing opportunities abound. If that's been the case at your company, then you might rethink everything from your compensation strategy to your workplace culture to your willingness to invest in career growth. But while improving salaries, benefits, and education is apt to cost money, here's one thing you can do to retain talent without spending a dime: Be more flexible.

Flexibility matters

Many employees today struggle to achieve a decent work-life balance. By being flexible with your workers, you effectively help make that possible -- and once you do, you're likely to experience an uptick in loyalty. In fact, businesses that support remote work opportunities have 25% less employee turnover than companies that don't. And over 75% of workers say they'd be more loyal to their employers if they offered flexible work options.

Professionally dressed man and woman at laptop, smiling

IMAGE SOURCE: GETTY IMAGES.

Or, to put it another way, if you don't get on board with being more flexible, you might lose some of the valued employees you've worked hard to train. Case in point: A good 61% of employees have either left or considered leaving a job because it wasn't flexible enough for them.

Why workers crave flexibility

There are lots of reasons why workers want the ability to set their own hours or work from the place of their choosing, whether it be home or another remote location. For one thing, flexibility helps workers with kids better manage child care. It also helps employees keep up with personal obligations -- things like household maintenance and the like.

There's also the idea of not having to commute that's a major perk for many workers today. A stressful trip to and from work can sour an otherwise decent experience, and not having to deal with travel on a daily basis could be reason enough for some of your best workers to decide to stay put, even if higher-paying opportunities arise elsewhere.

Furthermore, flexibility tends to go hand in hand with worker appreciation. When employees are granted more leeway on the job, it makes them feel valued. And the better they feel about themselves, the more inclined they'll be to stick with you, even during periods when it's generally not so difficult to find work elsewhere.

If your company has yet to adopt any sort of flexible work policy, it's time to reconsider that strategy, especially if employee retention is a key goal. Remember, that flexibility can take different forms. It can be a simple matter of allowing workers to leave a bit early or come in a bit late to tend to personal matters, or it can extend all the way to telecommuting. Of course, the more flexible your company is able to be, the better, but if you start with baby steps and work your way up, your employees will, at the very least, note the effort on your part and perhaps be a bit more hesitant to blast out their resumes.

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