A business is only as productive and successful as its employees. That is why every employer must strive to inspire employees to outdo themselves, encourage them to engage effectively and productively, and make sure they are happy both in their private lives and at the workplace. Most importantly, business owners and managers need to keep retention rates high in order to maintain consistency and expedite business growth. If you can’t get employees to stay around for long, your business will always struggle to excel at long-term projects.
But then, employees get disengaged at work every day. You watch them as they get more and more frustrated with their careers, as they quietly sit at their workstations doing almost nothing, but you are unsure of what you can do to help. You try forcing them to work but before you know it, they punch out heads down and are unhappy. You bring in replacements and after a few short months, their productivity dips and they eventually tap out. The cycle repeats itself.
This is not to say that you are to blame. Studies have shown that employee retention is among the biggest challenges employers face today. You are not to blame, but you need to work something out to inspire employee engagement and boost employee retention. Here are 4 tips to help you with that:
1. Offer employees benefits that actually benefit them
Two things make employers miss the plot when it comes to employees’ benefits. One, they treat these benefits as unwarranted favors which can be discontinued or eliminated altogether any time the employer deems necessary. Two, employers assume that because they are the ones giving these “favors”, employees have no say in the matter. Those two missteps can hinder employee engagement and retention.
This is the point:
Employee benefits aren’t favors per se. They are and should always be treated as part of employee compensation for services rendered to the company. Employees feel demotivated when their benefits are used as bait to make them toe the line as opposed to the benefits being a rightful reward they get for playing a critical role in the company’s revenue generation. Even if there has to be repercussions for employee misconduct, you should desist from withholding someone’s benefits or discontinuing them as a disciplinary action.
Also, employees need to actually benefit from their benefits. It is not fair when employers decide which benefits are right for their employees. You could be spending a lot of money on benefits that look good on paper, but that employees don’t find useful. You will significantly improve your employee retention rates by spending on benefits that improve their productivity, help them grow socially and professionally, and that make them happy. And who is best placed to know which those benefits are if not the employees themselves?
2. Be THE leader that drives engagement
Leaders have to be engaged for their subordinates to be engaged. Team leaders must stay around for the long-term for their team members to want to hang around for long. Leaders have to be happy for their staff to be happy. Leaders have to keep their subordinates engaged in order to boost retention rates.
One fact that many business leaders don’t understand is that everyone that works in a company is an employee within that company, CEOs and business owners included. Your line managers are employees. Don’t underestimate the influence they have on the engagement and retention levels within the organization. You too are an employee. Don’t underestimate your influence as a top executive. That is why you should be THE leader of engagement and retention at the company and train everyone else in leadership positions to be THE leader in their small capacities. Ensure that junior executives are happy and that they are executing their mandate as leaders happily, fairly, and justly. Ensure that you are fair, happy, and just at all times.
3. Provide development opportunities
Employees become more committed to your company, more engaged for that matter, when their potential is fully utilized. They are happy to see their talents utilized to drive company growth. They love to see the management help them discover their hidden talents and help develop their known talents. They want to see new career opportunities, clear career path options presented to them regularly. They feel valued when they are sponsored for career growth programs and provided with tools and resources to help them grow.
4. Create a Supportive Culture
Create and support an inclusive culture. Show genuine support and appreciation of all employees regardless of their culture, gender, race, religion, or sexuality. Build a culture that makes workers from minority groups feel heard and valued; feel safe. Acknowledge that employees from minority groups face tougher-than-normal challenges in adapting to workplaces, especially women of color and LGBTQ professionals, and make deliberate efforts as the leader to support them in the workplace. Make them feel appreciated enough to want to stay.
High employee turnover is terrible for organizations of all shapes and sizes. It slows down growth, can precipitate unwanted lawsuits, and can have far-reaching financial repercussions. That is why firing employees should be the last thing any employer wishes for. Put more of your energy in helping employees evolve, grow, and adapt and lesser energy on pressurizing them to perform.