Although most scientists and medical professionals would say we are past the worst of the pandemic, the economic woes are clearly still with us, including the after-effects of the Great Resignation.
Decent compensation and a robust benefits package are meaningful and essential ways to retain your employees. But is there more you could be doing? Are your employees motivated, engaged, and fully committed to your organization? Or are they just biding their time until something better comes along?
It's a question that every business leader should ask themselves regularly. In this labor market, it's vital to retain your high performers and it pays to encourage their buy-in to your company's goals. Here are some of our top suggestions on how to do that:
#1. Make Clear Communication a Company Priority
Although few company leaders would suggest that communication isn't a top priority, not all follow through on that. It's complicated, after all. What's the best way to communicate? How do you get your message to the right people? How do you know what's true, and what's shaded by personal agendas?
Partly, the solution is predicated on company size. For a business with 5,000 employees, the CEO can't possibly be available to hear from all of them. A robust marketing or PR team, working in collaboration with HR, needs to help determine what employees need to hear, and how they want to hear it.
That's where a clear and consistent voice plays a huge role. When an employee scrolls through your blog or website—or any communications you send out—there should be a consistency to your wording that fosters identification with the company and what it stands for.
What about Emailing Employees?
Email has long been an industry standard for communications, but it can also become a source of decreased productivity as inboxes are cluttered by non-essential messages. Going paperless is great, but not if it leaves your employees answering email for hours a day.
Mobile-driven communications can help. A company app, for example, may be one way to get your message across without bringing along a lot of clutter. Productivity apps such as Asana or G Suite can help open up lines of communication both at the lateral level and with leadership.
Ideally, you have already identified the appropriate channels for your corporate communications. If not, now is a good time to assess how you are talking to your employees and how they communicate with you, their immediate managers, and their peers. Being collaborative is a good reminder that each of us matters, and no one is just a cog in the wheel.
#2 Focus on Well-Being
Corporate well-being isn't just springing for a pizza party on Fridays after a successful week or staging the often-dreaded corporate team-building exercises that annoy and distract employees more than motivate them.
Increasingly, well-being programs are designed to monitor and treat one of the more insidious outcomes of the pandemic: increased stress among workers. It should come as no surprise that employees—especially those in particularly hard-hit sectors such as hospitality and healthcare—have been struggling with stress related to both their professional commitments and personal life. Working from home has its benefits, but it's also challenging, especially when an employee is trying to finish that quarterly report while managing childcare or meal duties.
Wellness programs are increasingly being seen as more than just a perk by workers, and instead have become a regular part of a benefits package. They appeal to employers, too, who can find evidence online that for every dollar spent on wellness programs, there is an ROI in decreased medical costs and absenteeism of more than five dollars.
If your organization is not prioritizing workforce well-being, perhaps it's time to jump on the bandwagon. Well-being efforts range from simple programs to stop smoking or lose weight up to comprehensive platforms that provide multiple channels of support for employees, no matter their individual situation.
#3. Keep Your Remote Employees in the Loop
According to Gallup, 45% of American workers spend all or part of their working hours at a remote location, whether it's a kitchen counter, home office, or the local Starbucks. Still, engagement is vital, and you should work hard to ensure your employees are highly collaborative and resourceful.
How? There's no single magic bullet, of course. Good communication—which we talked about above—plays a big role. And that communication needs to go two ways and extend from the CEO down through the ranks. Take employee feedback seriously, and always look for insights from your people.
Do Meetings Work?
Meetings can be great…if you do them right. Meetings should generally be brief, lasting a half hour when possible. They should allow you to remain cognizant of what each team is working on, as well as what other company groups have on their plates at the moment. That helps prevent silos and allows you to gain a broader picture of how the company operates—which benefits everyone and keeps your employees interested in the company's work.
Companies of every size benefit from opening the appropriate channels that allow remote and non-remote employees to collaborate. One way of maintaining engagement for remote workers is the effective use of technology.
Team members can chat over Zoom with just a few clicks of a mouse. Consider other programs and apps to keep people engaged and involved, too: Slack, for example, for in-house communication; Trello and Google Docs so that work is updated in real-time and you have an instant understanding of what everyone is working on.
Employee Retention Is What It’s All About
Engagement is only one element in ensuring good employee retention, of course, but it's an important one. And it all comes down, in its most simple form, to one key fact: your employees are individuals with complex lives who should be respected, supported, and encouraged whenever possible.
It goes without saying that employee retention is something that business leaders should consider carefully. According to Gallup, the cost of replacing each individual employee ranges from one-half to two times the employee's annual salary—at least.
Although every business needs to find the solution that works for them, communicating clearly, caring about employee well-being, and working to keep remote employees in the loop are good places to start.