You’ve heard of the Great Resignation, but what about the Great Retention?
Companies and leaders spend a lot of time talking about how to attract new talent, but there are so many things we can do within our teams to improve retention of the folks we already have.
Despite all the upheaval, it’s possible for employees to love where they work and actually stay there long term. Here are some of the things you can do to better support retention and help your employees love where they work.
Help manage employee stress
Employee burnout is real. The last couple of years have been a whirlwind and companies (and people) have had to do a lot of pivoting – how they work, where they work. If we’re being honest, everyone’s a little tired.
And if the pandemic wasn’t enough, the Great Resignation has also created a surge in employee turnover that has left employees who’ve stuck around with higher than normal workloads.
The result? A whole lot of employees that are just completely over it.
Helping your employees manage their workloads and stress can be instrumental in improving their mental health. This requires trust and an open line of communication, so you know when and where to step in as a leader.
Sometimes even simple things can help move the needle. For example, implementing policies that require your team to take a certain amount of vacation every year, or offering weekly focus time. Benefits that include mental health, not just physical care, can also go a long way in preventing burnout and preserving overall employee happiness.
Create inclusive (and actually thoughtful) policies
While policies aren’t the glamorous and fun part of employee experience, your workplace policies play a huge role in the happiness of your team.
The last few years have forced many companies to re-evaluate and take a good hard look at their policies. Strong policies put employees at the forefront and are designed to help them perform their best. Take a few moments as a leader to consider if your policies are serving your team. (Be honest, do you really think your team will benefit from returning to the office full time?)
Your policies also need to be inclusive. Your workplace policies shouldn’t benefit one group of workers more than another. They should also be flexible enough to accommodate the unique backgrounds and needs of every employee – no matter the size of your organization. Otherwise, you’ll likely find an imbalance of happiness across your company.
Offer better benefits
Just like policies, your company benefits should help your team be better employees and better humans. They should be things that make them feel happier, healthier, and more productive.
Like many other business practices, companies have had to rethink their benefits package to help retain employees. The general consensus is that offering benefits that prioritize flexibility are at the top of the list.
Some benefits that successful companies have recently adopted include:
- Flexible work hours
- Remote or hybrid work
- Mental health benefits
- Education stipends
Note that these aren’t all things that impact the bottom line – often, it’s just about meeting your employees where they are in their own lives. At the end of the day, your benefits plan is only as good as what your employees care about and can actually use. You can look at utilization rates to determine what’s working and what’s not. If you’re not sure what your team values – ask them!
Build a sense of purpose
Employees jump ship for lots of reasons – when a team member leaves, we often think it’s due to compensation or job title. In fact, one of the top reasons for employees moving companies is due to a lack of purpose.
As an organization, one of the easiest ways to retain employees is to offer a sense of ownership. Purpose makes your team feel more connected to the company, as well as the company’s mission. If they find themselves asking “What’s the point?” a few too many times, they’ll lose interest and look elsewhere for a better fit.
It’s also important to understand your employee’s goals and aspirations. Take steps towards helping them reach these goals through development opportunities. Your team will be happier if they feel like they have a sense of purpose and are continuing to grow. Otherwise, they’ll start feeling compelled to look for somewhere new.
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Show your appreciation
Acts of appreciation can go a long way in making employees feel cared for. And no, we don’t mean you should throw another random pizza party.
Appreciation can manifest in many ways. Sometimes showing appreciation means promotions and compensation adjustments. Other times, it’s gestures that show your employees they matter. Consider sending a gift card to celebrate a life accomplishment or sending employee care packages just because.
Ultimately, your employees want to feel valued and not just like another number on the roster.
Foster trust and transparency
No business is going to experience sunshine and rainbows every day. But be honest about wins, learnings, and even challenges. When it comes to specific team members, be honest about their growth and career trajectories.
By being open and communicating with your employees, you’ll build a culture of trust and credibility. That trust goes a long way when it comes to employee retention. When your team doesn’t know what to expect or feels like they’re being left out of the conversation, they’re going to feel disconnected. And let’s just say disconnected employees typically don’t stick around.
Your employees need to trust you as a leader, but you should also trust them. Trust your team to work remotely or work flexible hours. Trust and transparency are what will empower your team to deliver results.
You can love where you work
Work doesn’t have to feel like a drag. In fact, it shouldn’t.
Over the last few years, employees have significantly reevaluated what’s important in their work life. When work feels like a chore, your employees aren’t going to want to stick around.
Fortunately, employees want to love where they work. Your company doesn’t need to be haunted by the ghosts of the Great Resignation. By making small tweaks to your company culture and how you do business, it’s possible for your company to join in on (or even lead) the Great Retention.