Educator Resources

How to retain employees: Strategies to reduce turnover

As your children’s activity or education business grows, you might be focused on hiring, but not yet thinking about employee retention. Parents want to feel comfortable with the people who teach and take care of their children, so motivating and retaining your staff is extremely important. When parents and students can develop a strong, long-term relationship with the instructors and other team members, you will experience higher student return rates and better overall experiences.

In this article, we outline how to retain employees, how to motivate employees (specifically Gen Z), and employee retention strategies that you can implement to keep your team engaged and excited to work.

How to retain employees

What is employee retention?

Employee retention refers to an organization or company’s ability to keep employees on staff for an extended period of time. It can be just a statistic comparing the number of employees who leave their role versus the number that stay each quarter or year. However, it can also refer to a series of strategies implemented by the company to train and motivate employees to keep them from switching companies, which is also called employee turnover.

What is employee turnover?

Employee turnover is the opposite side of the employee retention statistic. It refers to the number of employees who leave during a given time period. When speaking about employees leaving a company, many people call it employee turnover and when speaking about the statistic, they call it employee turnover rate.

Ways to motivate employees

Employee motivation is one of the best ways to ensure employee retention. When your team feels excited about the work they are doing, valued by their peers and manager, and challenged, they are more likely to stay. Here are some of our top ways to motivate employees so you can keep your team engaged and excited.

  1. Show your employees that they are valued. Let them know when they are doing a good job and then reward them for that success. Even if it is something small like buying them coffee or just giving them a heartfelt note or review, this will motivate them to continue doing a good job.
  2. Keep an open door for questions and support. Providing guidance to your employees and giving them an opportunity to ask questions when they need help is a great way to keep them interested in the work they are doing. When employees are engaged, they are more likely to continue at the company.
  3. Trust your team. Employees are motivated by upward mobility and potential for leadership. Giving the members of your team autonomy to write lesson plans, organize new games, and develop pickup and dropoff systems is a great way to keep them motivated at work.
  4. Be transparent with reviews and promotions. Even though your children’s activity or education company is likely not structured like a traditional office job, performance reviews and promotions cycles are still important. Being open and transparent about these opportunities for growth within the organization will help retain employees.
  5. Set manageable goals. Maybe you have goals around student return rate, parent NPS
    (Net Promoter Score), or student surveys. However you measure success in your children’s activity or education company, make sure that your team can actually meet, and even beat, these metrics. Employees will lose motivation if they feel they are being set up for failure.

Generation Z characteristics in the workplace

Children’s activity and education businesses often experience peaks and valleys in their enrollment numbers as the seasons change. If you are looking to hire gig or Gen Z employees (people born between the mid 1990s and early 2010s) for your camps or classes, it is important to know how to set them up for success. Here are some Generation Z characteristics in the workplace, so you can prepare your new employees for a great experience.

  1. They know technology. Hiring Gen Z employees might be a great way to modernize your business operations and onboard new tools. If you are looking for the best class registration software for your children’s activity or education business, check out Sawyer!
  2. Growth is important to them. Generation Z wants to develop their career and do work that matters to them. If they are interested in working with children, then help them understand best practices in the field, provide them with training, and give them opportunities to grow.
  3. Detailed training will help them succeed. They are likely in their first or second role of their careers, so Gen Z wants to make sure they are doing it right from the get go. Provide them with the right training and take time to make sure they understand so that they feel ready to be successful.
  4. They are not afraid to ask questions. Get ready, Gen Z questions everything. But it is extremely important for you to really listen to their questions and then make changes based on their suggestions. They do not want to be placated.
  5. Diversity and mental health are key. Show your Generation Z employees that your values match theirs by highlighting diversity and mental health at your company. Show them how you protect cultural differences and student and employee mental health. 

How to motivate Gen Z employees

Now that you know what your young team members find important in the workplace, you can develop best practices to motivate Gen Z employees.

  1. Learn from them. Gen Z employees are tech-savvy. Even if you are too, Gen Z likely knows more. They will feel excited and motivated if you give them a chance to make your business stronger. If they want to recommend a new software or program, implement it and learn from them.
  2. Let them lead. We know that an interest in career development and growth is one of the biggest Generation Z characteristics in the workplace. Therefore, you should find moments to let your Gen Z employees lead. Whether you are giving them a chance to teach a class, lead a game, or provide support for parent conversations, this autonomy will help motivate and retain your Gen Z employees.
  3. Give them opportunities to renew training. Since detailed training is important to Gen Z employees, providing second, third, and fourth chances to renew and review training will help them stay motivated and interested in the work they are doing.
  4. Actively listen to them. Want to motivate Gen Z employees? Make them feel heard. When they ask questions, express concerns, or give suggestions, let them know that you are actively listening. Then, show them that you are interested in their opinions by making changes and working with them to better your business.
  5. Show you care about them and all of your employees. Make a point of explaining employee benefits, including mental health, as well as your stance on diversity and inclusion. If you don’t have these types of benefits yet, work with your Gen Z employees to develop them.
  6. Pay them well. One of the best motivation tactics, especially with younger team members, is money. A good salary shows that the employee is valued. This is especially important to Gen Z because they know their worth.

Employee retention strategies

Now that you know the definitions of employee retention and employee turnover, how to motivate employees, and characteristics of Generation Z in the workplace, it is time to put together some employee retention strategies to help you keep your talented staff.

  1. Onboard and train your employees well. Did you know that ​​91% of employees stay for at least 1 year when organizations have efficient onboarding, according to TinyPulse? Training is important to both Gen Z and older employees, so it is one of the keys to employee retention.
  2. Create a mentorship program. Being a mentor provides leadership opportunities and being a mentee provides additional training that newer or younger employees might find helpful. Mentorship is a great way to retain employees who might have left because they did not feel supported or autonomous.
  3. Include employees when you create goals. Setting reasonable goals is an important way to keep employees motivated, but working with your team to set the goals in the first place is a great way to keep them on board. When they feel more connected to the big picture, they are more likely to stay.
  4. Make reviews more frequent and interactive. Especially with a business that has busy and quiet seasons, employees will benefit from reviews that happen more often. Weekly or bi-weekly review sessions can help empower employees to grow based on feedback. Make sure they are mutual as well, so the employees can review you, too.
  5. Reward success with promotions, bonuses, and kind words. Build in promotions, bonuses, raises, and opportunities for shoutouts so that employees can be recognized for doing a job well done. This acknowledgement of good work is a great one of our favorite employee retention strategies. Plus, make them feel loved during the holidays! Check out our guide with holiday gift ideas for employees.

With the above tips, you should feel comfortable establishing an employee retention program to keep your valuable team members. If you are looking for some guidance on hiring for small businesses, including how to write a job description and knowing the right time to hire, check out our resources. 

As always, the team at Sawyer is here to provide you with everything you need to successfully run and scale your children’s activity and education business. Learn more about how we can help you save 28 hours per month of admin time by scheduling a free demo.

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