Did you know? While unemployment sits comfortably at a 17-year low, 40-60% of people are looking for a new job. That means millions of currently employed individuals will be making their next big career jump in the near future.
Add to that the rate of Boomer retirement, and you’ve got yourself an exceptionally tight and competitive hiring market. It’s in times like these that you have to work extra hard to retain your best workers, while making sure to keep them challenged, supported, and – above all else – not stifled.
For the past few years, the retention conversation has largely revolved around perks. Thanks to companies like Google and Facebook providing their employees with on-site massages and fully catered meals, many think unique amenities are the way to a worker’s heart. But studies show that purpose, mission, and culture play a much larger role in a person’s decision to stay with an employer. For millennials in particular, recent research pinpoints Diversity, Inclusion, and flexibility as significant predictors of retention.
When it comes down to it, people want to feel valued and impactful. Here’s how you can express your appreciation and support without throwing money at the problem.
Practice these 5 strategies to make your workers want to stay with you.
1. Relinquish control.
Generally when you start a business, necessity dictates that you have a hand in every single thing that goes on – from marketing to accounting to website design.
Once your team begins to grow, and you have a strong support system with designated responsibilities, it’s important to give people control of their own work – no matter how hard that may be for you personally. The more your employees have to ask for permission for menial or insignificant tasks, the more likely you are to lose them.
It’s no secret: increased autonomy usually corresponds with increased job satisfaction. Slowly, your employees will notice as you entrust them with more and more difficult or nuanced decisions, prompting them to feel valued and necessary.
As an added bonus, an increased sense of control has been shown to prevent burn out.
2. The family that eats together.
Food – especially tasty, family-style food – has a magical way of bringing people together. The more meals you eat with your team, the better you’ll all get to know and trust one another.
At Proven Recruiting, we make a concerted effort to host regular breakfasts and lunches at the office, going so far as to organize desks and eating areas to encourage conversation.
By taking these intentional steps, we’re helping our team to build stronger friendships while exposing group dynamics in a healthy, laid back setting.
3. Provide feedback.
If properly communicated, feedback should be more edifying than depressing. It’s an opportunity to sit down with your workers and suss out a plan for the future where they can excel at their jobs while finding long term success.
But there are good and bad ways to offer feedback. In the ‘bad feedback’ category lies the insensitive technique of sandwiching criticism between two (often unrelated) compliments. ‘You’ve been doing really great on X report, but your delivery on Y was really lacking, but you look great today!’
Don’t do this – no matter the circumstances. Employees won’t appreciate it, they’ll leave feeling demoralized, and they won’t be given the tools they need to actually address the issue. Instead…
Remember these two things:
– Feedback should be in private.
– Feedback should be actually constructive.
Be encouraging, offer lessons, and plan solutions. You don’t need to rely on empty praise to get through a feedback session; rely instead on honesty and kindness to make your point.
4. Purpose > profit.
People in general – but millennials especially – want to feel that they are part of something greater than themselves. To properly express purpose, you’ll first have to identify your ‘why.’ Why does your company exist? Are you here to make money? Are you solving a problem? Are you helping people?
Once that’s established, you’ll want to communicate your ‘Why’ to every person in the company. Hopefully, your why isn’t purely monetary; it’s difficult for people to feel connected to a financial goal when they don’t own the business themselves. Instead, hone in on how you’re helping the world, finding solutions, or giving back in some way.
I’ve often asked myself – does the world need another recruiting agency? Probably not. But the world always needs another great workplace where employees can come to be their best selves. That’s our ‘Why’ – what’s yours? And do your workers know it?
5. Show them the future.
New studies reveal that a strong sense of purpose – more than fancy or expensive perks – is the number one motivator for workers to remain loyal to a job.
Impact is everything. Show your employees how they’re contributing to the growth of the company, and how you see the company itself developing over the next 2, 5, 10 years.
At Proven Recruiting, we regularly bring each worker from our smaller offices to our San Diego headquarters. Our hope is that this will give them a glimpse into what’s in their future, if they choose to stay with us and grow with the company. Remaining future-oriented allows workers to see your business not as a stepping stone, but as a long term life choice.
About the author:
Co-Founder & CEO, Proven Recruiting
With more than 20 years of experience in Information Systems Analysis, Technology Recruiting and Sales Management, Louis is the driving force behind Proven Recruiting’s innovative culture and award-winning staffing services.
Since Co-Founding the company in 2007, Louis has grown Proven Recruiting from seven original founders to more than 200 core employees and consultants spanning offices in San Diego, Los Angeles, Dallas, and New York. Previously, Louis was a Managing Director for one of the largest staffing companies in the country. He managed an office of 70+ people generating more than $40M a year. Louis graduated from the American University in Washington D.C. with a BA in Psychology. He is active in local business and community organizations as a board member of the Asian Business Association (www.aba-sd.org), and Pacific Arts Movement (www.pac-arts.org).
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