As the Great Resignation continues and workers seek better opportunities, companies are offering larger salaries, better benefits, and more perks to new hires. Even in temporary contract positions, pay rates are increasing nationwide. It’s become more important than ever to support staff who so diligently stayed put.
Incumbents have continued to work, staying with their current companies at their current salaries. They’ve covered shifts and taken on additional work and responsibilities when others have departed for supposedly greener pastures. Without feeling the appreciation from their employer, some employees eventually decide to leave after all. And since the average job vacancy costs employers $4,129, neglecting your staff can drastically affect your bottom line.
Employers have the power to truly make a difference to their workforce! With a planned employee engagement strategy that aims to retain your best workers, you can help prevent turnover and keep your employees happy.
Consider Company Culture
What does your company culture tell your employees about the company’s expectations of them? We all know that hard work is essential to get the job done. But are you inadvertently expecting your people to put in more hours than necessary?
Make sure your leadership and management are setting good examples when it comes to work/life balance. Show employees that it isn’t healthy to work long periods of time without taking small breaks. Teach them how to prioritize their tasks so that they can practice good time management and complete the most important tasks first. And make sure there are no underlying expectations that only those who put in long hours move up the career ladder.
Work/life balance extends beyond the actual work, too. The workplace was already trending toward flexible work options, but the post-pandemic workforce expects to have more flexibility than ever. Explore ways to be flexible, whether it’s by adjusting work hours, allowing remote or hybrid days, or expanding your paid time off (PTO) policy.
Conduct Stay Interviews
How do you know what your employees want most? Research and data reports are great, but they don’t speak to your exact population. Many companies are turning to stay interviews to gain valuable insight into their employees’ wants and needs. The key is to then use that information to improve employee satisfaction and engagement.
Stay interviews are informal conversations between a current employee and their direct manager. Each interview should be regularly scheduled and NOT held during a performance review. It’s important that the feedback collected is not tied to the worker’s pay or advancement opportunities. This is a time for the manager to ask specific, open-ended questions to learn about the employee’s experience with the company – and how it could be better.
Based on the feedback received, the company can develop programs or benefits that will keep employees engaged at work. These could include recognition programs, better opportunities for professional development, or a change in the company’s benefits structure. Creative solutions to common concerns will benefit everyone, from staff all the way to leadership. But take note: you must be ready to take action as a result of the information you get. The point of the stay interviews is to empower employees to share information to transform the company for the better.
Perform Compensation Evaluations
When was the last time your HR department evaluated employees’ job descriptions compared to the tasks they actually perform? If it’s been longer than 5 years, it’s time to review each position in your company not only to ensure that the job description is accurate, but also to confirm that you’re providing appropriate compensation.
Compensation isn’t limited to salary; benefits packages, cost of living, paid time off, and other perks should be considered. The following steps can be taken to evaluate each position:
- Ensure that each job description accurately reflects the employee’s day-to-day tasks and responsibilities.
- Consider the level of work being performed and confirm that the job title is appropriate.
- Adjust the description and title as necessary.
- Use a salary tool to compare market data for each position within your geographical area. Include the employee’s years of experience and education level for a more closely aligned match.
- Adjust salaries for positions that are not on target for their comparable market worth.
In addition to evaluating each position, review the benefits and paid time off packages that are offered to new hires to be sure that they are in line with what is being given to existing staff. Keep in mind that people talk, whether they are advised against it or not!
Practice Career Pathing
Engaged employees feel that the company has their best interests in mind and appreciates the work that they do. A visible way to show gratitude is to invest the time in creating career paths for each employee. Managers are the best people to start this process, as they know their direct reports best.
Career pathing aligns business goals with opportunities for career growth within the company. Having a manager map out their next steps for advancement instills feelings of appreciation and trust in the employee. An established path can help identify the resources and professional development opportunities needed at each stage of the employee’s career. Investment into a person’s career leads to a boost in their engagement and keep them with your company longer.
To build a career development plan, managers should work with each employee to learn their skills, interests, and career goals. When you’ve determined the ideal next step, you can then develop milestones for the employee to achieve along the way. Help them identify resources and professional development opportunities to reach their goals. Track progress over time – and make it fun! Your excitement to help people reach their goals will show them you care about them.
Show Your Appreciation
It doesn’t take much for someone to feel appreciated, but going beyond a simple “thank you” or “good job” will make a significant impact. Consider the following ideas to boost morale and employee engagement:
- Awards or recognition programs
- Internal contests
- Company parties
- Challenges related to current events (March Madness, Super Bowl, etc.)
- Virtual gatherings
- Birthday and/or anniversary recognition
- Anonymous “kudos” for colleagues