Employee retention - how to create a culture of happiness
31/05/2017 by Ean Brown Partners Limited
Part 10 of our blog article series: "Strategies for business success"
(and part 3 of 3 of our mini blog series on "How to build a great team")
Following on from our previous two blog posts for attracting the right staff with an enticing job listing, and subsequently integrating them successfully into your company culture, you should be pretty happy with your efforts to finding an outstanding candidate who is the right fit for your business enterprise. You may be forgiven for thinking that all the hard work is now done - you can sit back and let your staff get on with their jobs, right?
Talent retention is a key component of the employee life-cycle that will ultimately (and hopefully) span the longest length of time, so it makes sense that this aspect requires a well-considered approach.
So how do you maintain happy, engaged, loyal employees? The answer lies in creating a company culture that nurtures, challenges and rewards your staff. Here are some things to consider:
Beyond the honeymoon period
We can all identify with the initial excitement of something – buying a car, moving house, or starting a new job. At the beginning, everything is rosy and bright, and there is boundless enthusiasm for the new 'thing'.
Invariably this feeling will go, but it needn't spell the start of dissatisfaction and boredom if good levels of communication are practised with your employees. This could be in the form of structured staff appraisals, less formal one-on-one conversations, or ideally a combination of these, to ascertain if your employee:
Is still feeling challenged in their role?
Is liking or disliking particular tasks or aspects of their position?
feels their skill sets are being properly engaged?
With this information you can really start to understand your employee: their aspirations and goals, their drivers and motivators, and their own metrics for success. Together you can then work on structuring their role so that it fulfils them, as well as your business requirements. You may even discover that your staff member has hidden talents that are not being utilised. Passion will ultimately drive success more than passivity – if you can engage someone's passion, it becomes a win-win for you and the employee.
Nurture and grow
Career plans and a desire for personal growth is inherently present in most employees – we all wish to progress, whether it is knowledge, skills, job rank or title, and/or pay scale.
By providing on-going training you not only support your employees' career development and long term goals, you will also reap the rewards of their new knowledge for the benefit of your business.
Training can range in format from unstructured (eg staff training other staff, or an employee carrying out independent research) to structured (eg workshops, seminars, webinars, conferences or courses).
Training can be industry or job-specific, or pertaining to personal development, such as time-management, stress management or personal branding.
Freedom and empowerment
An often-overlooked factor for job satisfaction is the freedom of autonomy. If you encourage your team to be free-thinkers and lateral problem-solvers, there is an implied sense of trust and respect for their ideas, instincts and judgements.
A willingness to place faith in your team's skills will pay dividends when it can lead to uncovering better efficiencies or improved business strategies.
The key is balance – allow them the flexibility to stretch their problem-solving skills in order to execute strategic risks, whilst also making yourself available to offer advice and guidance if they need additional support.
We're all familiar with the old adage "work to live, not live to work", and this very much hinges on having a good work/life balance. By being flexible and accommodating your staff's personal commitments and circumstances – both the planned and unplanned - you respectfully acknowledge that all your employees have lives outside of work and sometimes the unexpected can – and will – happen.
Recognition, reward and appreciation
Everyone likes to be acknowledged when they do something well, such as on-boarding a large client, closing a big contract, or exceeding a quarterly production target. Receiving recognition for these achievements will undoubtedly give warm fuzzies and a sense of accomplishment to the employee.
And rewards don't have to be costly – being praised in front of the team, a thank-you card, or a small token such as a gift card, can really make someone's day and have them leaving work at the end of the day with a skip in their step.
Regular organised work outings, such as Christmas or mid-winter functions, or morning tea shouts, can be great morale-boosters for the crew, help strengthen team relations, and provide your staff with a feeling that they are appreciated and valued.
Teamwork and inclusiveness
A company's inherent culture will always be more than just the individuals who work there – no matter how content each person might be, there will never be a happy company culture if team members do not work harmoniously alongside each other. At the heart of every business with low staff turnover and overall contentment, is the integral sense of equality, mutual respect and teamwork.
Excessive levels of hierarchy within an organisation can also create segregation, a "them vs us" environment, where lower level groups are excluded from knowing the company's long term plan. For strategic business planning to be successful, every member of staff needs to be fully invested in this process in order to build accountability, engagement and commitment. Consider adopting regular team meetings where business planning decisions can be discussed, and everyone has the opportunity to offer their input.
It is natural for your employees' objectives and motives to evolve over time, but by maintaining an open dialogue with them, recognising good performance, providing meaningful work and nurturing a positive, inclusive workplace, you are sure to amass loyal employees and a happy, productive workplace.
That's it for our blog mini series on "how to build a great team". We hope you've enjoyed reading our articles!