A Rocky Road for Company Morale
The past several years have been extremely difficult for employers in more ways than one. With the pandemic came quite a bit of uncertainty and fear. Covid has completely changed the way that most of us do business. We had to face company shut downs, vaccination requirements, telecommuting, lay-offs, staffing shortages and unfortunately, many still lost their battle and had to close their doors completely.
For those of us that were lucky enough to have survived the new normal, we have had to reset a lot of our company values, culture and retention strategies.
Your company culture is the shared set of values, beliefs and attitudes that guide your organization. This was quite the struggle for a lot of us during the past few years. Keeping up employee morale was nearly impossible for a lot of companies! A lot of us simply don’t have the staff to sit back right now and define our company culture if we haven’t already. However, I promise you this is pretty important when it comes to defining how you would like for your staff to interact with not only their co-workers, but will also help identify how you expect them to treat your clients and customers. Plan an after-hours get together with a few of your most valued employees, order some pizza and define what your core values are. Use these core values to implement your employee retention strategy.
In the past two years, guidelines, protocols and policies have changes weekly and sometimes daily. Along with that, comes with the uncertainty of whether you are going to have staff from one day to the next. This not only makes it difficult just to run your business, it also does little for employee morale.
So, how have employers faced this struggle and come out on top? I can tell you it has not been easy and most of us have had to change our way of thinking. Employers have had to discover ways to retain staff and keep them happy. Let’s take a look at a few things that employers have done to do both of these things. Some can be quite costly but they don’t all have to be! Obviously, a big raise is going to make most people happy. Let’s face it though, we don’t all have the budget to hand out a huge raise to our staff to keep them around so I am going to focus on more of the employee retention approaches that don’t necessarily come in the form of a raise!
Employee Retention Strategies to Keep Your Staff Motivated & Cultivate An Incredible Company Culture
One of the biggest employee retention strategies that has become very important to most employees due to the onset of the pandemic…..employer flexibility! This is not something that all employers can actually put in place, it all depends on the type of company you are running. If you have the ability to be a little more flexible with start and end times, do it! If your team is interested in working a 10 hour day, four days per week instead of the normal five day work week and your company has the ability to accommodate that, do it! If you can accommodate someone only coming into the office two or three days per week and allowing telecommuting the rest of the week, what is stopping you? According to an article (1) in Forbes Magazine in February of 2022, flexibility is “the most empowering benefit for employers.” The report goes on to say that offering scheduling flexibility ranked nearly as high as providing traditional benefits like more PTO or 401k matches.
I know I just mentioned that flexibility is often times more important that paid time off. However, it still ranks pretty high on the list of benefits that are important to your staff. Especially given staffing shortages during the “new normal,” we all could use a couple of extra days off. You don’t have to just freely hand these out either! Set a goal for your staff, if they all reach that goal, give them an extra day off to use at a later date.
So, I just mentioned having your team work towards a common goal and offering them a day off. This is a prime example of a strategy that is completely free to implement! TEAMWORK! I can’t begin to stress how important it is to be able to work as a team toward one common goal! If you don’t have teamwork, it’s time to change your culture to stress how important this core value is to your company. Informing your staff that teamwork is going to be vital going forward might weed out the few bad apples that seem to always drag down your employee morale, but I promise you, focusing on the positive will improve your culture AND your employee retention. Build the type of team you want from the start of the first interview and make sure you are transparent about the expectations on teamwork and positive outlooks.
Again, while a big fat raise is always nice, positive employee feedback can often go just as far. Making sure your staff feels appreciated can often times be more rewarding than a few bucks in the pocket. We have a dry erase board in our office where periodically, we will write positive notes about everyone in the office, or put compliments on sticky notes for staff to dole out to the their co-workers. If you don’t have a dry erase board, grab a cheap bulletin board at the dollar store. Make sure the boss participates in the activities! The higher up these compliments can come from, the better.
Communication and transparency are great methods to keep your staff happy, engaged and aware of what is going on around them. You may not always have the best news to share with them but I promise you that finding a way to keep your staff informed will be better than keeping them in the dark and wondering about the future of their job. And communication is completely FREE!
The last of the employee retention strategies that I want to focus on is learning opportunities. Not all employees are interested in moving up the food chain in your business, but I bet most of them would be interested in learning new things about how your company operates or maybe even sitting with someone that holds a job that has nothing to do with theirs. This might give them a new perspective on how the two jobs might cross paths or how their co-workers job duties directly interact with their own.
A Motivated Future
As a whole, organizations that implement effective employee retention strategies can reap many benefits. Higher retention rates can lead to increased productivity, improved morale, and lower turnover costs, but there are many different approaches and not all of them will be right for every business. It’s important to carefully consider which strategies will work best for your organization and your employees. I hope some of these more cost effective employee retention strategies are helpful to you.
Segal, E. (2022, February 4) Flexibility Is The Most Empowering Benefit For Employees: New Poll https://www.forbes.com/sites/edwardsegal/2022/02/04/flexibility-is-the-most-empowering-benefit-for-employees-new-poll/?sh=2aa57e468b19