You’re going to have to be more flexible and more giving than ever as an employer in the current economy, but it pays off
If you are looking to retain good employees, join the club. Every smart leader knows that a cohesive, enduring group of workers is the rock on which you build new ideas, new ventures, growth, and all the rest. So I think we can agree that, once you’ve got people you trust who are doing good work, you ought to make sure they keep wanting to work for you.
But! Loyalty to the employer is at an all-time low, and people know there are opportunities in a robust job market. How do you keep people excited to come to work every day?
One thing you can do is make retention the top item on your agenda this year. You won’t be alone. Raquel Roberts of the employee-benefits company Purchasing Power says keeping good people is not only important, it’s the trending topic among managers. Some of the methods she’s tracking may seem like a stretch to you, but try them before you dismiss them; they really work.
1. Give people a reason to work for you (besides money).
Are you having what she calls “positive, meaningful interactions” with the people around you, or are you just barely communicating to get specific answers or give assignments? The accounting firm PwC says that people need to have a sense of meaning and purpose in their day. So do I. So does anybody using simple reasoning. Are you figuring out what the reason is and then communicating it?
2. Make the work day more flexible.
It seems counterintuitive that letting people come in when they want, leave when they want, and work from home on occasion is a productivity builder, but it is. Turns out, giving workers more control over their environment makes them more productive. This is a trend that will continue to grow as we become an even more digital, online society and workforce.
3. Ongoing reviews, not annual reviews, as the new gold standard.
Once a year just won’t cut it in a fast-paced workplace, and it also tends to come with expectations of promotions, raises, or–on the other end of the scale–warnings and separations. How about showing your interest and appreciation on a much more regular basis?
4. Recognition that happens at unexpected times.
Think of new ways to show employees they’re essential to your success: unexpected lunch sent in on a Tuesday for no reason? Tickets for a group outing to Opening Day at the local minor-league park? An email sent to Reply All that praises someone’s small act that showed initiative? Everybody likes to hear their name called out for praise.
5. Better, more innovative benefits.
Lactation stations, a phased-in return to work after maternity and paternity leave, onsite child care, and other lifestyle-focused benefits will attract and keep some of the best people in some of their strongest work years. Companies including Goldman Sachs and PwC are doing it; so should you.
6. Wellness as more than lip service.
A Health Affairs study found that every dollar spent by corporations in wellness programs saves $3 in later medical expenses. There are many ways to do this beyond Soviet-style forced group workouts. Think volunteer days at the park, “walking meetings,” standing desk options, personalized nutrition counseling, and yes, group workouts for those who want them.
7. Apps, digital games, and other playful uses of technology.
With every year that passes, your workforce is more used to smartphones, computers, and digital communication. Use those things to communicate through intraoffice platforms like Slack or even creating your own apps and internal blogs.