Lattice’s 2023 State of People Strategy Report found that employee retention is the biggest priority for HR teams for the next 12 months. But in times of economic uncertainty, it’s not just retention that matters. It’s also keeping your highest-performing employees feeling engaged, empowered, and committed to your company even through rough seas.
Unfortunately, it’s become quite a challenge to keep employee morale and well-being high as a recession looms in the distance, inflation lingers, and layoffs continue to make headlines. Luckily, HR teams don’t have to face these difficult times alone. The right HR tech stack and tools can help your team navigate these troubled waters and better serve and retain employees.
6 HR Tools to Boost Employee Retention
Having a suite of HR tools like employee recognition software and goal-setting platforms can help your business build a workplace culture that leaves every employee feeling supported, valued, and set up for success. This can help your organization retain top talent even amid hiring freezes and periods of uncertainty.
In this article, we share six key people practices every workplace should prioritize during uncertain times, as well as how HR platforms can help you achieve them and build a workplace that employees want to remain a part of. Here’s a closer look at how your business can retain your best employees through uncertain economic periods using these innovative solutions.
1. Engagement Surveys
Engagement surveys are always valuable, but they become all the more crucial during uncertain times. Engagement and pulse surveys can be a direct lifeline for your employees, allowing them to share their struggles and suggestions for a better workplace. It’s your organization’s job to listen to what they’re saying and take swift action to address their concerns.
Unfortunately, drawing insights from survey scores can be tricky and time-consuming when you have to manually sift through data. This is where HR software can really shine. Using anonymized data, an employee engagement platform like Lattice Engagement can help you filter scores to dive deeper into your survey results. You can easily view employee data based on characteristics like age, department, ethnicity, gender, job category (full-time, part-time, contractor), job level, months since last title change, office location, salary band, tenure, and more. This allows your business to zero in on the experience of specific employee groups and pull actionable insights on how to improve their time with your organization.
Lattice Analytics allows your business to go a step further and integrate your engagement scores with your performance data. This means your business can cross reference performance ratings with survey scores, so you can better understand how your top performers feel about life at your company — all while still protecting employees’ anonymity.
Now, let’s show how an engagement platform like Lattice can help businesses pull powerful insights from their survey data in just minutes. Say your company’s engagement survey just closed and you want a better understanding of what engagement looks like across different job levels. With just a few clicks, you can filter your data to only show results from managers. In this view, you quickly notice that your company’s supervisors have lower-than-average engagement scores in areas like job satisfaction, work-life balance, and trust in leadership. Seeing these scores, you immediately worry your managers are burning out.
With this new insight, you can review survey comments and host focus groups to get to the bottom of these feelings. Then, your business can get straight to work improving manager support and work-life balance to prevent these pivotal workplace contributors from leaving prematurely. All this could be discovered in just minutes with a platform like Lattice. Having all your people data in one place paired with the functionality to easily and quickly filter results can help you identify underlying organizational problems and promptly take action to build a better workplace for your employees.
2. Growth Tracks
Top-performing employees value career development. They want to know how they can grow within your organization, as well as what they need to accomplish in order to get there. But employees can’t know what you don’t tell them. While the jump from individual contributor to manager might be fairly straightforward, many employees want to know what more nuanced growth opportunities exist within your organization — like making a lateral career change or deciding whether to become a specialist versus generalist, or landing a leadership position — as well as what skill sets, competencies, certifications, and experience they need to be eligible for such roles.
Having one centralized tool rather than scattered spreadsheets can ensure your employees always know what internal opportunities exist.
Using an employee development solution can give employees the career path transparency they crave. A tool like Lattice Grow allows businesses to build competency matrices and career tracks that employees can use to formulate individual development plans (IDPs). Together, these tools not only allow employees to understand internal development opportunities and the skill levels needed to attain such roles, but they also help employees break down larger career aspirations into actionable milestones they can start working toward today. It empowers employees to take ownership of their own professional development and career growth, while enabling managers to support and coach them every step of the way.
Having one centralized tool rather than scattered spreadsheets can ensure your employees always know what internal opportunities exist. Using one tool to store all of this information can help improve the clarity and visibility of internal career advancement opportunities and ensure your growth-minded employees remain engaged and committed.
3. Competitive Employee Compensation
Money talks. One of the most important ways to retain top talent is to offer competitive compensation packages that meet or beat those offered by similar businesses. Offering competitive pay can help your business reduce turnover and hiring costs, but building a holistic, transparent, and equitable approach to employee compensation is challenging.
To start, determining an employee’s salary and future raises isn’t always a straightforward process based on their skills and experience. You have to take into account other criteria like role, location, company industry, and more, which makes building a compensation strategy difficult. That’s why many businesses use compensation management software to inform, build, and manage their employee pay strategy. With a tool like Lattice Compensation, employers can access industry-leading benchmark data powered by Mercer to understand how their company compares to similar businesses.
Plus, if your business operates on a pay-for-performance model, being able to integrate performance review data with compensation empowers you to make better and more transparent decisions about merit increases. This allows your business to pay your high-performing employees fairly and equitably, so you can ensure your top performers understand how their pay is decided while also feeling valued and motivated at work.
4. Goals and OKRs
High performers often crave clarity, especially when it comes to setting goals. Unfortunately, goal-setting isn’t always approached with the attention and care it requires. This often leads to team leaders setting vague, unambitious, or unhelpful goals that are forgotten before the end of Q1. On the other hand, when goals are taken seriously and referenced throughout the year, they can help:
- Establish concrete performance expectations that improve alignment between managers and employees
- Define success to keep top performers motivated
- Show employees how their work contributes to overall business objectives
To reap all of these benefits and more, your business needs a goal management solution to keep goals top of mind for employees year-round. With a goal-setting platform, employees and managers can easily set and approve goals, tie individual targets to larger organizational objectives, track progress toward targets, share and resolve blockers, and seamlessly incorporate goals into one-on-one meetings.
Goal management solutions like Lattice OKRs & Goals ensure that goals are integrated into employees’ daily routines. This keeps goals top of mind so they can continuously guide employees’ work and keep larger business initiatives on target. During times of uncertainty, giving your employees clear, realistic goals allows them to focus on what they can control and celebrate small wins. This can do wonders for improving team morale and giving your employees direction and purpose at a time when finding the motivation to move forward may be tough.
Two-way communication is critical, especially during times of change. Employees and managers shouldn’t wait until annual performance management conversations to give and receive constructive feedback. They need to frequently check in and communicate with one another whether via face-to-face one-on-one meetings or instant messaging tools like Slack.
This continuous feedback allows employees to bring up and address roadblocks, change goals and priorities as needed, and discuss professional development opportunities. On a more personal level, it also allows managers to get to know their employees better and gives employees an opportunity to share updates from their personal life that could be affecting their work performance. All together, this allows your business to build a psychologically safe workplace and practice empathetic leadership year-round.
HR tools like Lattice Feedback allow employees to request and receive feedback any time of year, helping them incorporate suggestions in real-time. Plus, such tools allow employees to ask anyone in the company — their team members, cross-functional colleagues, mentors, etc. — to share targeted and tactical feedback high-potential employees crave. This can help fast-track employee growth, so individuals can benefit from these insights year-round, not just during review season.
While feedback can promote growth and improve employee performance, it can also increase engagement. Sharing positive accolades and highlighting employee accomplishments can make employees feel seen, valued, and appreciated. It can also help build a company culture of recognition — one that celebrates the big and small wins and gives credit where it’s due. Regular recognition has been tied to building stronger teams, increasing motivation, and improving employee retention.
Using a tool like Lattice Praise, these accolades can easily be shared publicly via instant messaging platforms like Slack and Microsoft Teams. Your employees can showcase their colleagues’ amazing wins, while also tying accomplishments to company values and building a stronger workplace culture. Employee recognition software is a great way to honor high achievers’ hard work, while encouraging impactful contributions that push your company closer and closer to its overall goals.
Even amid times of economic uncertainty, your HR team’s mission should remain the same: Do what’s best for your people. While this can be difficult during a time when you’re probably being asked to do more with less, it’s also a great time to revisit your HR tech stack and ensure you’re taking advantage of all the features and tools these solutions offer.
Experimenting with new features or automation can free up your team’s time to be more strategic and work on high-impact projects. If you’re already paying for these solutions, it’s in your company’s best interest to ensure you’re getting the most out of them. For example, if you use the same system to house your performance and engagement data, you can merge these two data sets to track how top performers feel about your company. Having that data centralized and accessible will help you take swift action to keep your top talent happy and engaged.
To help you get the most out of your current HR technology, we’ve created a new ebook, How to Build an HR Tech Stack That Drives Performance. In it, we share five actionable steps you can take to start building an HR tech stack that drives peak business and people performance.