Three Trends Shaping Employee Retention in 2024

Mental health support is just one of the areas that dominate the conversation around employment and hiring.
A group of happy employees sitting around an office table

NATIONAL REPORT — With the unemployment rate holding steady at 3.7% since the beginning of the year, and the labor market remaining tight, one of the main questions facing human resources departments is how to keep on the employees that companies already have.

In order to maintain a healthy work environment and raise employee retention rates, a new report from Forbes suggests that companies concentrate on three main areas to not only bring in new staff but ensure the staff they already have stay in the long term.

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) can sometimes seem more like buzzwords than implementable action, but the news outlet points out the obvious: that employees often won't stay where they don't feel like they belong. 

To foster those careers may mean building out infrastructure such as women's development leadership programs and their requisite lines of communication, or creating programs that nurture Black leadership and fill out management ranks.

However, Forbes also stated that ensuring underrepresented voices are heard should be a company-wide mission, not just the purview of an isolated department or single initiative. 

"Diversity is a program. Inclusion is a state of mind," said Indra Nooyi, former CEO of PepsiCo.

Mental Health Support

Forbes points to 2020 as ground zero for the rising concern over mental health in the workplace. A 2022 survey from the American Psychological Association found that 71% of workers believe their employers are more concerned about mental health than in the past, while 80% stated that the ways employers supported mental health would be an important factor when searching for a job.

In the c-store space, this mental health support isn't just a concern of employees, either. A recent CLVG roundtable of industry leadership featured a long discussion on the different ways frontline managers can address mental health concerns and use kindness campaigns to support employees who may be struggling.

The Forbes report further suggests flexible scheduling that allows employees to see a therapist or take a sick day for mental health reasons can help an employer stick positively for potential job applicants. 

Financial Wellness

A survey from PNC Bank found that 80% of workers would stay longer with an employer that offered more financial wellness benefits, making it a major area of concern for employees.

Forbes suggests that while salary increases always help, employers should look beyond just pay and start to offer more holistic resources, such as classes on refinancing loans or offering a 401(k) match for regular student loan repayments. 

For convenience stores operators, opening up options like employee stock ownership plans can ensure investment at all levels of an organization, from frontline floor staff to behind-the-scenes administration.

When combined, all three areas can positively impact each other. Less stress over financial well-being can lead to better mental health, for example, while better DEI resources could lead to a better financial situation. As Forbes states, "By working on any one of these areas, you can potentially improve all three."

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