According to a recent Gallup poll, the odds that your employees will jump ship are growing. Today, employees are largely optimistic about the job market, spurring many to leave their jobs to search for better positions elsewhere. In August 2012, two million Americans voluntarily left their jobs. By August 2016, this number rose to three million.
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Millions of employees are opening their eyes to new possibilities. They're reading about companies with incredible cultures, they have increasingly positive perceptions of the job market, and they are aware that job hopping is no longer frowned upon. Right now, we have an employee's market, and we need to face that fact. We need to consider how desirable our companies are, how engaged are employees are, and how likely our workers are to hightail it as soon as a more attractive proposition comes along.
How can you put measures in place to reduce turnover and inspire employee loyalty? Below are some tips for better retention and higher levels of employee satisfaction.
1. Cultivate Positive Relationships Between Employees and Managers
When it comes to morale, engagement, and retention, relationships between managers and employees are critical. Knowing this, how often do managers have face-to-face meetings with employees at your company? Are manager-employee interactions largely limited to annual performance appraisals and the occasional nod in the corridor? If so, you're doing your employees and your company a disservice.
Your employees need and deserve more communication. They want to be coached through honest, timely feedback, rather than authoritatively instructed. This is why many businesses are gravitating toward continuous performance management. This method facilitates monthly check-ins with employees, during which time managers and employees can catch up on goal progression, pressing concerns, and opportunities for development. Importantly, managers can also use these regular meetings to express their appreciation for employees. After all, employee appreciation is integral to boosting morale and engagement.
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2. The Employee Experience Is Paramount
The "employee experience" is, essentially, how employees interact with their cultural, technological, and physical environments. Great employee experiences can improve engagement levels, encourage more discretionary effort at work, enhance a company's image, and inspire loyalty. If you want to give high performers a reason to stay with your company, show them you value them by focusing on perfecting the overall employee experience at your organization.
IBM suggests you can improve the employee experience by focusing on the following five things:
Increasing workplace flexibility and autonomy
Encouraging transparency and honesty throughout the organization
Streamlining and facilitating workplace processes
Promoting authenticity within the company's culture and leadership
Providing real-time feedback
3. Give Employees Autonomy
Micromanagement can be incredibly damaging to employee morale and loyalty. Don't forget that you have hired responsible, fully grown adults who are perfectly capable of managing their own workloads. To keep your employees engaged and loyal, demonstrate your trust in their abilities by granting them a degree of autonomy. This will, inevitably, lead to greater productivity and higher levels of morale.
Some companies give employees autonomy over their working hours, using performance management systems that track goals and progression rather than hours worked. Other companies grant autonomy over goal-setting, which is a good idea considering that we are more likely to achieve goals we set ourselves.
4. Highlight Development and Advancement Opportunities
Why would an ambitious, determined employee remain with a company that appeared disinclined to help them develop their skills and strengths? When an employee has no room to grow, sees no clear routes for progression, and feels consistently unappreciated, why would they remain determined to perform at their peak?
If you have hired the right people and your workforce is full of top performers, your employees won't be satisfied remaining stationary. People view their careers as learning opportunities. Work with employees to create realistic personal development plans. Help them understand the steps they need to take in order to progress the way they'd like to.
5. Keep Your Company Dynamic, Flexible, and Modern
Today, companies need to be forward-thinking and up to date on the newest workplace trends. When companies refuse to adapt to the times simply because they're comfortable with the way they have always operated, they stall out, never advancing or improving. By the same token, employees become frustrated and bored.
Consider the issue of flexibility. The 9-5 workday is dying out. More companies are introducing flexible work arrangements in one form or another. If your organization simply refuses to follow the trend, it will likely lose employees to more modern businesses.
Performance management and employee engagement are rapidly changing fields based on advances in our understanding of psychology, productivity, and morale. Companies that are aware of this and implement the necessary adaptations will gain positive reputations. These reputations, in turn, will help retain existing employees and attract top talent in the future.
The ability to keep hold of great performers is completely within your company's power. First, however, you must understand that employees are at the heart of your business. They are absolutely worth certain organizational changes and compromises.
Stuart Hearn is CEO and founder of Clear Review.