Here, we’re taking a look at how to keep employees from quitting their jobs—and from leaving the industry altogether!
There are more than a few things your business can do to keep employees from quitting and even encourage new people to join:
1. Create a staff retention plan to keep employees from quitting
No doubt you created a plan for hiring new employees.
In it, you likely outlined a number of specific steps that were designed to help bring that new member of staff on board. It likely included:
the job listing itself,
training they’d need to undertake,
the equipment they require to do their job,
and more besides.
What too few businesses have though, is a plan that’s designed to help keep them keep their employees around.
Once they get an employee on board, too many leave them to run on autopilot and expect staff to work tirelessly, with only coffee and money for motivation.
Sure, the initial excitement of a new role can keep them going, but as they settle into their routines and learn the ropes, your employees will need more to incentivise them to work hard and stay long-term.
That’s where having a written employee retention plan comes in handy. It can make a huge difference in your efforts to keep employees from quitting.
“Each employee replacement costs about 6 to 9 months’ salary, considering recruiting, onboarding and training.”
The benefits of having an employee retention plan:
are both financially and mentally beneficial! Losing a senior, experienced employee can negatively impact the productivity of the team who stay. What’s more, there can be a knock-on effect: others may be tempted to look elsewhere and start comparing their current job to what’s on the market.
demonstrate your commitment to your employees. It’s something that can be physically shared with senior managers and staff to ensure that, collectively, everyone is on the same page and can take the right action when it’s needed.
gives the concept of staff retention more weight, making it something to think about in advance and prepare for, rather than leave you scrambling last minute when someone does move on.
With a plan, everyone can collectively strive towards making your business a fantastic place to work. Then, when concerns do arise, there’s time and space to take action and follow through with specific steps that will help to keep employees from quitting.
How do you write an employee retention plan?
In your plan, you might detail how your business will recognise and reward employees for exceptional work. You might also make it clear how promotions work.
When someone does raise concerns, the plan could feature a series of questions and activities that help, such as checking in to speak with the employee as to why they’re dissatisfied, or if there are steps you can take to identify pressure points that could be impacting your employee’s productivity and happiness.
After all, it’s only by asking “for frequent feedback [can you] make sure that these opportunities are perceived as being relevant and useful” for your staff, too.
Creating an environment that encourages communication & collaboration is a surefire way to help your engineers and other essential members of staff feel connected and valued.
When employees feel genuinely valued, they’re far less likely to consider quitting.
A great way to do this is to share information that highlights the company’s successes, the direction it’s heading in, and yes: even share failures.
By doing this, you’re creating an atmosphere that’s more inclusive and honest.
This is a great way for everyone to see what’s happening and feel involved, ensuring they feel like they’ve contributed to the success and are committed to fixing the failures.
Creating a more open dialogue is as easy as sharing a simple report that shows staff:
The number of jobs they’re doing per week
Who’s got the best driving record
Feedback (written and verbal) from your customers.
The success of recent sales activities.
Recent sales performance.
There’s no need to go into excessive detail, but what you don’t want is to have employees who feel siloed and lonely, or like they’re not making an impact. By sharing information, you’re less likely to isolate them, which can be a driving force for staff wanting to quit.
In addition, instead of offering up feedback at random times, or only at annual performance reviews (if you don’t do these, it’s worth considering), then finding a way to share concrete results with your staff on a regular basis could still boost an individual employee’s motivation.
The Harvard Business Review makes it clear that even if employees don’t need all of the information above, being able to see a summary will help them feel engaged and motivated.
3. Ask for your employee’s opinions
If you’re wondering how to keep employees from quitting, it will also help if you allow them to share their opinions.
Your engineers, for instance, deal with customers directly. This makes them, more than any other member of staff, best suited to give feedback that can improve how your business interacts with them in the field.
If they can share their experiences and see you at least considering their suggestions, they’ll feel more valued and may even become more invested in their work as they strive to help you create amazing customer journeys.
Of course, not everyone will want to be the centre of attention when it comes to giving feedback—say, in a team meeting—so it can help to offer staff a variety of ways to give their views, including privately.
For instance, as we suggested above, you might create a monthly report that gives everyone a simple but informative overview of how things are going, or have a meeting (virtual or in-person) that does the same.
In this meeting, you can also highlight insights from your staff—mentioned anonymously—but which acknowledge that management is listening.
Strategies like this will also be helpful if you make sure they don’t interfere with your employee’s day-to-day schedules. After all, field service staff have days that can differ wildly from one to the next, whether it’s due to working in the field, from home, or because of flexible contracts. But by providing a variety of ways to update and communicate with your staff, you can help everyone to feel more included.
4. Provide valuable training opportunities to keep employees from quitting
According to an article in The Balance, implementing new-hire training is essential to employee retention.
If no one steps up to make an employee feel comfortable in their new role, chances are they won’t last long.
Of course, when it comes to training, it should be with a “start as you mean to go on” mentality. That’s especially true of field services, where new technologies and tools play a significant role in assisting engineers, every day.
If it’s clear from day one that training employees is something you’re focusing on, you’re well on your way to creating a strong rapport. That’s especially if they’re teaming up or being taken under the wing of a more experienced engineer. Once you earn their trust, now you need to maintain it.
There’s a difference between being independent and having to always fend for themselves. Nothing will make staff feel like they’re stagnating than leaving them to repeat the same things over and over.
Providing staff with training when they need it will show you’re actively switched on to growing their skills and responsibilities.
Whether it’s with a new update to the job management software you’re using, new tools, or soft skills training you should offer a wide variety of training and learning opportunities. Staff will feel energized, engaged, and continue to work at their best.
Encourage staff to share knowledge that will benefit new employees and help them get a headstart on establishing good working relationships, which will also help seasoned employees feel like their own knowledge and experience has valuable (which it does)!
5. Create a workplace that feels good to work in
A lot of what we’ve mentioned above will contribute to creating a workplace that feels good to work in. Inclusivity, knowledge, training: these all make for an engaging environment. Of course, it never hurts to have a bit of fun, too!
Employees will need to have a break, particularly between busy shifts, and especially if they’re carrying out detailed work that requires a lot of energy and focus. If they can’t unwind, they can’t refuel and energise themselves and that can seriously impact positive customer experiences. No one wants to work with an irritable engineer, right?
It’s important, then, to break up the days that are full of hard work, deadlines, and customer hassles. Integrating little extras into the work environment will keep your staff motivated and happy, and can save them from the brink of burnout after an especially difficult week.
Simple things make a big difference. Snacks, good coffee, and little surprises can be… well, surprisingly impactful. You might scoff at the idea that inexpensive perks—or no-cost surprises like a written thank you—will actually motivate your employees, but research shows it’s often the little things that make the greatest impact.
Showing gratitude, giving congratulations, and general appreciation are highly valued, often more than financial bonuses! They’re what make employees feel good about where and who they work with.
Here’s how to keep employees from quitting:
With all that in place, you’re far more likely not only to hire the right employees that fit your business but will create an environment that encourages them to stay.
Not only that but by equipping them with the right tools, you’ll help them to deliver great work and improve the way they interact with customers.
Speaking of which, we’ve a useful resource that you can check over:
I'm eager to tell compelling stories and share great advice that helps field service businesses to build on their success.