Growth within a company is great, but sometimes businesses can get distracted focusing on new employees instead of retaining existing ones. They can slip through the cracks, sneaking out the “back door” before you know it.
But, what is the back door?
The “back door'' is a metaphor for people leaving your organization quietly. Just like leaving through the back door of a house, leaving through the back door of a company involves employees leaving without being seen.
It’s often caused by employee dissatisfaction going unnoticed at work, causing said employees to feel uncared for and leave the company.
This “back door” can be ignored when your company is under-resourced and employees are under-trained or badly hired, or simply don’t feel appreciated.
How can you take steps to stop ignoring your company’s “back door''?
Make sure the culture truly fits when making hiring decisions.
If there are hesitations or doubts, make sure you address them. Even the tiniest of red flags can turn out to be major issues later on. Listen to your intuition–if something seems off about the culture fit, this employee won’t be happy at your company in the long run.
Be honest about your company’s vision and your expectations for this role. Going through a full and comprehensive vetting process will save you from losing employees out the back door later!
Invest in your team as much as your hiring and onboarding.
Investing in your team can mean a variety of things. You can invest in your team not just financially, but emotionally. Of course, it’s not possible to be best friends with every employee, but individuals are more likely to stay at a company if they feel supported.
This support can come in the form of team outings, check-ins from supervisors, and recognition in company meetings. If you have it in the budget, bonuses around the holidays (or other times!) are also incentives for employees to stay–you’ve told them they’re appreciated and shown them so with tangible rewards!
Get to Know Your Employees as People.
We’re all gathered together for work, but everyone has a life outside of work, too. Knowing that your co-workers care about you beyond just your contributions to the company builds stronger bonds. Make an effort to really get to know the people on your team.
Building connections like this doesn’t have to be anything crazy–you can ask simple questions! Think of it just like making a new friend. Did their partner just have a baby? Did they recently make a new move? If you can, make conversation personal. Everyone likes knowing that they’re truly seen in their organization.
Ensure Workload is Doable.
Look at your employees’ workload: is it doable, or are they spreading themselves too thin? If employees are consistently doing too much, they can start to experience burnout. New employees especially might be too afraid to speak up.
Conducting check-ins with employees, especially newer ones, can be helpful in seeing how they handle their workload. Do they seem engaged and interested, or frazzled and overwhelmed? You can’t read people’s minds, so asking direct questions about their workload is the best route to take.
Allow Room for Growth.
Perhaps employees are leaving your company not due to a culture issue or workload, but because they feel that they’ve progressed beyond what your company has to offer. If your company has the scale to do so, allowing employees room to grow is an incredible way to increase retention.
Lay out a path that clearly outlines what an employee needs to do to move up within the company, and follow through when they’ve met these objectives.
If you hired an entry level employee right after they graduated from college, they are no longer considered “entry-level” after a year at your company, and deserve to be promoted and compensated as such. When this doesn’t happen, employees often start looking for other opportunities where they’ll be compensated more properly for their level of experience.
Hiring new employees is great, but retaining the ones you already have is crucial for an organization’s growth. Nobody knows your company better than the people who already work there, so you want to be sure great employees aren’t slipping out the back door in pursuit of other opportunities! Provide them a great working experience, and they’ll want to stay.