Happy employees are loyal employees. And retention of key employees is critical for company culture and long-term success.
But with the economy on the mend, private sector quits are in the rise. People are growing more confident in the job market as more opportunities open up. And companies, in turn, are prioritizing retaining their top talent and looking for effective ways to keep their best employees happy.
It all starts with hiring the right people, who have long-term potential and are a right fit for the company culture. But, beyond that, keeping employees engaged and motivated is key -- their suggestions need to be captured and their ideas heard.
Here are seven effective strategies to foster a more productive and satisfying work environment, which ultimately cuts down on turnover:
1. Offer Professional Development
Offer career counseling services that include creating and implementing a professional development track for each employee. Provide opportunities for people to share their knowledge on certain topics, such as presentations and team assignments. People like to know that they have room for growth in their position at a company. It keeps them motivated and engaged.
Being willing to help pay for courses related to your employees’ career path shows the company is willing to invest in its employees. Companies that continuously offer comprehensive, individualized training to their workers are ensuring employees have the tools they need to succeed. Costs for such classes should be included in each department’s budget and assessed at the end of the year.
3. Cultivate Culture
Everyone needs some time away from the computer, even while at the job. Make it a point to have a weekly social gathering during work hours, like a “Thirsty Thursdays” where co-workers enjoy cocktails, refreshments, snacks and games around 4:30 p.m. Other ways to de-stress and boost employee engagement and morale include having offsite outings, wellness programs, ping pong tables, office teams and clubs and company-wide challenges. But, importantly, be sure to involve your employees on the brainstorming and decision-making process when coming up with ideas.
4. Encourage Feedback
Lou Solomon, founder of Interact, a company that teaches management to connect with their team members, believes that it’s important for leaders to accept employees’ new ideas as well as embrace them. “No one wants to work for a company where they feel their contributions are not being recognized.”
5. Support the Whole Employee
Professional development and work perks are only part of the equation when it comes to creating a work environment where employees are loyal and motivated for the long haul. Also consider how your company can support employees outside of work, so they can be better versions of themselves in the office. Successful companies have found offering paid leave and care-related benefits can lead to more productive and engaged employees, who are more able to focus on work when they’re not worried about their responsibilities at home.
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6. Provide Feedback and Recognition
Most companies have annual employee reviews. However, 12 months is a long time for an employee to go without checking in with management. Implementing “unofficial” reviews on a more consistent and casual basis will give workers an idea where improvement is needed and praise on where they are excelling. These less formal conversations also open the lines of communication, making employees more aware of goals and what's expected of them.
7. Instill Corporate Social Responsibility
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is the responsibility an organization takes for its social and environmental impacts and its relationships with employees, communities and customers. And it’s becoming a top driver of employee retention, according to Coro Strandberg, a leading CSR advisor.
“People, especially the millennial generation, prefer to work for organizations which are socially and environmentally responsible,” says Sandberg. “Progressive companies are committed to fostering a diverse, equitable, thriving, participatory workforce where employees are champions of sustainability at work, at home and in the broader community.”
Ultimately, it's about appreciating your top talent and making them aware of such acknowledgement. In addition to these suggestions, ask your employees what they are looking for in their work environment and what they feel makes for ideal management. Their answers can help guide you in tailoring programs, operations and incentives that will keep satisfaction up and turnover down.