August 2019 | Blog | By: DecisionPathHR
Employee retention is a sensitive subject for HR managers everywhere thanks in part to historically low unemployment numbers, but the job market isn't the only culprit here. Hiring managers everywhere often overlook a key component of retaining talent: giving them reasons to stay.
We know, “Thanks, Captain Obvious,” but for something so simple, it isn't always top of mind. No matter how much you might appreciate your employees, they aren’t mind readers. You can’t expect them to just know how much they matter; you need to remind them.
We have broken down the best ways to engage your employees in four simple ways.
Possibly the simplest of our suggestions is one that most managers swear by, but don’t always follow through on. Communication.
When prioritized, employees feel their voices are heard and they are more engaged. Without it they find themselves trying to guess at what is expected of them, waste time by not doing what is needed, and are more likely to be distant and not work up to their potential. These feelings make them more likely to disengage and find work elsewhere.
Failing to communicate can directly affect production, too. According to research by Gatner, 70% of business mistakes stem from poor communication. Below are three suggestions on how to improve your communication at work.
A crucial part of communicating, especially at work, is letting everyone know how you can be reached. A popular way to start is instituting an open-door policy to show your employees and co-workers you’re always available if they need you. We would also recommend finding the ways your staff is most comfortable communicating. Whether that be phone, email, text, or other avenues like social media, embrace it. The more comfortable they are, the more engaged they will be.
Working without knowing what is expected of you can be frustrating. Save your employees from this irritation by setting clear, concise expectations so they have something to work towards. Creating long-term goals and short-term objectives for the staff keeps them engaged throughout the day and lets them know how they fit into the overall business process. That will develop a sense of purpose that results in higher engagement.
Far too often in a conversation we just wait for our turn to talk. It is imperative that you listen, not to respond, but to understand. When you actively listen to what your employees and co-workers say and try to empathize with them, less is lost in translation and they are more likely to feel valued.
Appreciated employees become engaged employees.
Committing to effective communication practices with your employees will take the guesswork out of interpreting what was really meant, prevent potential problems from ever arising, and get everyone on the same page. That will create a more inviting atmosphere in the workplace, increase employee engagement and, ultimately, increase retention.
One of the more fun ways to increase employee retention is to make a concerted effort to recognize your employees for what they do. When you show your appreciation, employee morale improves, productivity increases, and employees are happier to be at work. Data from Socialcast tells us that nearly 70% of employees would work harder if they felt more appreciated.
The concept of employee appreciation is so important and relevant to today’s working environment, there is an entire day dedicated to it at the beginning of March every year. Here are three easy suggestions on how to recognize your employees:
Use your social media pages to craft messages demonstrating how important your employees are to the company.
Nothing says, “I appreciate you!” quite like a meal courtesy of the company. Give your employees an hour for lunch and provide it yourself.
Don’t just make a blanket “thank you” that goes out to everyone at once. Go the extra mile and personalize the message, that extra effort will pay off.
There is a fine line between building strong working relationships and getting too familiar with your employees. Developing trust across management levels of your organization is very important and the most effective way to do that is to connect with your employees on a more personal level. You just have to make sure the tone doesn’t become too unprofessional.
For example, having lunch with your employees and inquiring about their weekend plans is encouraged, but you may want to stop short of having afternoon drinks to avoid any miscommunication when it comes to the chain of command.
Here are three easy ways to start building stronger relationships with your employees.
Yes, we already went over this one, but it’s so important we thought it would be best to do it again. Effectively communicating with your employees will build trust, which is the foundation of a good working relationship. It’s also important to note that communication isn’t just making sure they stay on task by barking orders at them. It’s a two-way street. Actively listen to what they have to say and take their input into account. More often than not they'll bring a fresh perspective to the situation.
Part of managing is setting goals for your employees. Part of building relationships is offering rewards when those goals are met. Make sure the objectives you set out are achievable, so when they are reached you can take a minute to recognize the person doing the work. They don’t have to be crazy expensive rewards, either. A small gift card, social media shout-out, or lunch will certainly do the trick. You just need to show them they're appreciated
Although thanking someone may seem like a minute, if not unnecessary, thing it can actually mean a lot. According to Cicero Group, 50% of employees believe being thanked by managers improves their relationship and builds trust. Take the time to single out an employee and commend them. You’d be surprised how far taking the time to tell someone you appreciate their work can go.
Now that you know how important building meaningful relationships with employees can be and you have a couple of starting points, get creative with it. Come up with ideas that may be specific to your business and include your employees. Those relationships can go a long way to building trust and having them engage in what they’re doing.
Our last tip for boosting employee engagement is, perhaps, the most obvious one. If you haven’t yet caught on, our tips have a central theme – value your employees. A major part of expressing that value is compensation. If you don’t compensate your employees fairly, they'll find someone who will.
Compensation doesn’t just mean their pay rate, either (although that is a great place to start). It includes traditional benefits (insurance, paid time off, etc.) and non-traditional benefits, such as flexible schedules and work-life balance. Creating an employee-friendly environment will ensure your current staff sticks around and will attract top talent to your business.
While many people believe they are not compensated fairly, over half of workers would consider accepting a lower wage if other benefits were afforded to them, according to an Aflac survey. Here are a few ideas on how to fairly compensate your employees:
We aren't suggesting you have to offer salaries well above industry marks, but you do need to remain competitive. If your benefits and company culture are strong and inviting, how much you pay your employees becomes less important.
Look at what your competitors are doing and then do more. If you’re a manufacturing firm, consider investing in the production floor and make the environment as comfortable as possible. If you operate in an office setting, offer work from home days and sell candidates on your flexible scheduling.
Identifying your company culture is imperative to recruiting (and retaining!) talent. If you built a strong foundation using your company beliefs, you're in a good position. Stand by your culture and make sure its message reaches your employees. Once they buy into the culture, a stronger company connection will be made and engagement will increase.
As the job market evolves and new generations join the workforce, employee engagement is going to become even more important than it is now. You need to have a plan in place to ensure your employees enjoy their time at work, if you don't they'll go searching for an employer who does.
With today’s historically low unemployment, the job market is even more competitive, and candidates have choices. Separate yourself from the pack and be a company where people want to work, not where they have to.
To partner with DecisionPathHR® and get access to top talent in your area, click here. Or give one of our office a call.
Charlotte, NC: 704.624.8100
Concord, NC: 704.251.4000
Miami, FL: 786.420.6088