As a business owner, employee turnover doesn’t just take up your time, but it also eats into your margins and by losing good people your business is worse off.
The simple truth is that if you’re not taking the time to invest in those around, you’re neglecting the future of your business. Investing in the workforce is a vital part of creating an engaged team and keeping hold of good people.
Here are fourteen ways you can invest in your team this year…
1) Personal & Professional Development
The fact is that many of us feel disengaged in the workplace, and in many cases, this is to down to a lack of challenge and no clear development path. When your employees feel as though their career is at a dead-end, that’s when employment opportunities elsewhere become an attractive proposition.
One of the best ways to engage your employees in their development is with an ‘Individual Advancement Plan’. An IAP is a great tool when you’re looking to set both long and short-term goals for your employees. The beauty of the IAP is that it empowers your team members to really ask the essential questions, to understand how they can develop between points A and B.
To really reap the rewards of these development plans, you need to empower your management teams or give yourself the time to check-in on these goals, monthly, quarterly or annually (whichever you feel necessary) to consistently track progress. Without tracking progress goals and ambitions will inevitably get lost in the noise of the day-to-day.
2) Onboard New Employees Quickly
According to inc.com, more than half of all employees who quit voluntarily, and do so within the first twelve months of their employment. While it’s important to get the right people to your organization, you need to ensure they hit the ground running. From their first day, they need to completely clear on their role and how that fits with the overall ethos of the company.
Doing so, even before their first day, can go a long way towards helping them feel motivated and engaged in the long term. In order to help them do that, you need to consider:
- Providing an overview of your business values
- Offering an insight into how their role would contribute to the business’s goals
- Giving them the opportunity to ask questions
- Opportunities to meet with co-workers and interact with them
3) Offer Benefits and Perks Which Matter
When you decide to offer benefits and perks to your employees, there’s no one size fits all. If you want your perks to keep your employees happy, they need to be carefully customized to suit specific needs and desires.
For example, if your team works around the clock and they have children, consider offering early start childcare vouchers or some kind of perk that would benefit their personal life, such as flexible working hours.
You could also offer vouchers towards books, conferences, and courses to those who are keen on furthering their professional horizons.
4) Define Each Job Role
Finding meaning in work is a crucial employee engagement point for the modern-worker these days. Employees want to know about the bigger picture, and how their role will sit within that frame, so it’s up to you to tell them where the pieces of the jigsaw fit together.
Unclear expectation between each party is a sure-fire way to lead to conflict, resentment, and disengagement. For example, if your employee thinks that achieving X goal goes above and beyond, yet you believe they should be hitting Y target, then there’s a clear breakdown of communication. Discuss goals regularly, starting from the moment you sit down for the interview.
5) Create an Enticing Mission Statement
As we’ve already touched on, the 21st-century employee isn’t just looking for a way to pay the bills; they are looking for a way to make a difference and impact social causes.
Sit down and take some time to create a mission statement for the business and ask your employees for input and feedback. What do they like about the role? What are the clients saying? Combining employee experiences into your business values gives your employees a sense of pride in their work and shows that what they do has an impact on those around them – whether that’s clients or their peers.
6) Flexible Work-Life Balance
Building a successful business takes a lot of elbow grease and long hours. While you can afford to take a day or hideaway in your office if you’re feeling a little under the weather if you really need to, it’s crucial to remember that your employees are the face of your business and their performance correlates with how well your business does, so you can’t afford to run them into the ground.
That being said, sometimes you will need to ask more from your employees than what is expected of them, but doing so consistently can be a recipe for disaster, causing fatigue, stress and burn out.
Always try and do your best to be flexible with what you’re asking, and you’ll find that your employees will be more responsive. Your business is your life, but you must remember that the people who work for you have a life of their own too.
7) Team Building Events
While forcing friendships in the workplace, will never turn out well, you can encourage closer working partnerships.
Team-building activities like team sports, go-karting and paintballing are all great ways to get everyone together and interacting outside the office. Of course, if that’s doesn’t suit your team vibe, then you could schedule team lunches, or after work drinks – basically, as long as your team can converse outside of a working environment, anything goes.
8) Create Competitive Compensation Packages
As the cost of living increases the average minimum wage is struggling to keep pace, millions of employees all over the world are concerned about money, which means offering low wages isn’t enough if you want to attract the top talent to your business or encourage your best employees to stick around.
Once you have set benchmarks for where everyone is in terms of wages and bonuses, ensure that you evaluate each situation annually. According to Glassdoor, more than 1 in 3 employees will leave a position if they don’t receive a pay rise.
If you’re not fairly compensating for your workforce, another company will be more than happy to take them off your hands.
9) Allow Lateral Movement
When you take a chance on a young professional, more often than not, they’re still trying to figure out which path is for them. Over time, despite undeniable passion and motivation, you may find the employee is looking towards a different path to the one you expected.
Don’t discourage this; it’s almost always better to promote from within, and it’s up to you to help this person make the transition into their new role. When someone’s passions and interests align with their job role, they are more likely to be engaged and happy, which means your business will benefit.
Offering lateral movement will also help you keep hold of some of your younger staff members who might otherwise have jumped ship.
10) Feedback Culture
Caught cold by an employee resignation? This is never a good sign.
The first moment of realization that an employee is unhappy shouldn’t be when they slide the letter across your desk. This is particularly bad in a small team, as everyone else will have either been told or figured out that this person is unhappy, and from their point of view you’ve done nothing about changing it.
Strong communication in the workplace means that you should feel secure in telling your employees where they can do better and what they’ve done well. Conversely, it also means that your employees should feel empowered to come to you and speak up when something isn’t working. Even the best bosses in the world, such as Elon Musk ask for, and even champion, negative feedback.
It’s not easy to accept negative feedback; it’s pre-programmed into us to shrink away from such a situation. One thing you could do as a starting point is to send out pulse-surveys, with questions about how they feel at work, what they enjoy, what they believe is working, and what isn’t.
When you start looking through your responses, keep an eye out for patterns and commonalities, which are impacting your employees.
11) Root Out Toxicity
If you find that you’ve had a few unexpected resignations, or morale overall feels low, despite your best attempts otherwise, you could find that something or rather someone is the reason.
Toxic employees are one of the biggest reasons that people leave their jobs. They can be anyone from senior management to a fellow employee. Whoever they are, they are capable of spreading negativity, tanking morale and annoying, or even angering, their colleagues.
From a management perspective, it can often be challenging to spot these kinds of people, as they can often be model employees in terms of their performance – but you could be losing other employees as a result.
In most cases, it’s not as simple as limiting interaction with fellow staff members – which isn’t always practical in a small business. If this is the case, then it’s essential to speak to the person involved and explain how their behavior is impacting the rest of the team. If this doesn’t hit home, then it may be time for a change.
Negativity in business starts with a small seed, but eventually, as it grows, it has the potential to impact every aspect of your business.
12) Celebrate Milestones and Occasions
Many companies will offer paid days off on birthdays or celebrate a work anniversary, but have you thought of taking it one step further?
Personal milestones and occasions are also worthy of a celebration, and as an employee, it’s great to know that your co-workers and management figures care about your life away from the working environment.
Whether anniversaries, pregnancies or engagements; whatever the occasion, don’t be afraid to pop a cork and get everyone involved.
13) Recognize Achievement
For many reasons for leaving your job polls, one of the most common reasons that rank consistently at the top is: being under-appreciated.
Lack of appreciation can come in many guises, from being underpaid, not receiving positive feedback, broken promises, and failing to act on employee suggestions.
To create an environment where employees feel as though their efforts are recognized, you could need to begin to recognize those who have gone above and beyond.
This could be as simple as starting an employee of the month initiative and then announcing the winner at the team lunch, mentioning their contribution in the weekly meeting, or taking them aside and showing your gratitude.
Even the smallest gesture can go a long way.
14) Hold Exit Interviews
However hard you try; employees will come and go – it’s just a natural part of life. Whatever someone’s reason for leaving, be it personal or professional, it’s important to close the door with respect and without any ambiguity, which is where exit interviews come in.
This will be similar to the pulse surveys mentioned earlier, in that you can ask what they enjoyed, what they didn’t, what they would change and why they’ve decided to move on (assuming this isn’t because of a sensitive personal issue).
Soon to be former employees may find it easier to open up in this scenario, and any feedback they give you should be used to better your approach with current employees and any new ones that come in.
Taking the time to invest in your employees is not only suitable for the individual but beneficial to the entire organization too.
Many of the suggestions we’ve mentioned don’t require you to invest massive amounts of money, but what they do require is an investment in time and attention from you. Making the workplace a better environment for everybody, not only improves professional lives but also helps your employees in their personal lives too; limiting unhappy campers and therefore reducing staff turnover.