In today’s extremely competitive markets, companies thrive when they develop and maintain a strong workforce. Companies cannot hope to become leaders in their field without strong employee retention programs that help ensure the best employees remain with the company. High employee turnover rates cause companies to devote critical time, money, and manpower to filling the same positions again and again rather than focusing on moving the company forward. Turnover also undermines employee morale and can hinder the productivity of the employees who are still with the company.
As millennials make up an increasingly large portion of the workforce, strong employee retention programs will become even more important. Among millennials, the current average tenure at a position is about two years, but companies who can convince them to stay will reap tremendous benefits as their investments in talent and skill propel the company forward. At the heart of any successful employee retention strategy is a focus on the employee’s needs and an appeal to their human side. In recent years, many people have raised the call to humanize human resources (HR) and this imperative is especially important for keeping employees happy, engaged, and committed.
The following are some of the key tips that business leaders need to keep in mind as they strive to humanize their employee retention strategies.
Keep respect at the heart of all operations.
When everyone at an organization approaches other people with respect, true communication can occur. If staff members do not respect or value someone at the company, this will color all interactions and cause needless tension. Every employee, from the CEO to the janitor, is essential to a company’s success, and no one is easily replaceable. When executives and managers realize this fact, they can create open and welcoming environments that allow for creativity and collaboration. Employees who feel safe and respected are more likely to take risks and come up with the next major innovation. Cultures built on respect understand the importance of listening to people and providing honest, constructive feedback. This sort of environment makes all business processes move faster and creates a workforce that looks forward to coming into the office.
Include employees in growth strategies.
Growth strategies may seem unrelated to employee retention, but the fact is that growth dictates most functions at a given company. Through growth, new positions become available and existing employees have the opportunity to further their careers without leaving the company. Business leaders need to recognize the importance of including employees in the growth strategy and clearly demonstrating to employees how they can advance as the company expands. Growth can allow companies to offer the benefits and perks that other organizations cannot. Perhaps the best example of this approach is Google, which has given back to its employees as it has expanded, by offering flexible schedules, generous holiday policies, opportunities for advancement, and more. These benefits are part of keeping employee satisfaction at the heart of company growth strategies.
Align corporate values with employee values.
People spend an incredible amount of their time in the office, so it is important that they feel no conflict between their personal values and those of the company. When individuals believe in the mission of their employers, they are excited to come to the office and are proud of their work, which means they are more engaged. The value system may include the company’s mission, but it could also speak to its commitment to the community and other philanthropic pursuits. Employees who feel especially connected to the value system of their employers become crusaders for the company, which in turn will attract other great workers to the organization.
Take a collaborative approach to culture.
Too often, executives feel like they can dictate culture. While these individuals certainly have some sway over the general culture of the company, everyone in the organization has a role to play. When leadership emphasizes this fact, they empower employees to be the type of workers they think will build the best environment. Sharing the workload through collaboration shows employees that they are trusted and makes them more cognizant of how their actions are seen and interpreted by other people at the company. This sense of control allows employees to feel responsible for their company’s positive culture, which in turn makes them more attached to the company and its success.
Care about the employee experience.
Unfortunately, employees feel invisible and ignored when their company fails to directly engage them. One of the central aspects of a successful employee retention program is simply communicating with employees and caring about how they feel. Employees should feel welcome to approach their managers when they have a problem or a concern. Executives should lead by example; they should set the precedent that the company values team members who care about the feelings and ideas of other people at the company. The entire team is accountable for the happiness and fulfillment of each individual member. Creating this type of environment can quickly identify the people who really do not care, as these individuals may be a driving force behind high turnover rates.