There was a time when the formula was very simple: Finish high school, head to university or some other form of tertiary training, find a job, get married, have kids, and stick at it for 40 years, then retire.
Life’s ups and downs thrown in notwithstanding, the formula was pretty simple and for the longest time it worked, but alas – those days are long gone now. We’re in the age of the global pandemic where nothing is as it once was, or even as it appears to be. Employers are facing massive staffing challenges as millions of workers have abandoned posts all over America and the European Union, and for the first time in a generation, salaries at entry-level posts are at an all-time high.
This means that employers all over the United States are (perhaps finally) starting to value the experience that their workers have while putting in the 9-to-5 and are actively engaging with employee groups to enhance that overall experience.
Now, if you thought that this sounds like one of those programs that only exist in big corporates and conglomerates, think again – because all over America it is small businesses that are being looked at to revitalize the economy again and this means, that competition for the best and brightest is going to heat up to fever pitch.
So how do you create the kind of work environment that makes sense for your business model while at the same time fostering the type of environment that is not just going to get the best out of your people, but ultimately – keep them in their post for as long as possible?
Let’s explore a few options-
“Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.”—John F. Kennedy
TRAIN FOR SKILLS TODAY, LEADERSHIP FOR TOMORROW
It should not come as a surprise to anyone that at the top of just about every list we could find, is training and development. Workers are ambitious and want to experience their career in new ways, and if you’re not going to invest in your team – someone else will. It’s that simple.
Henry Ford perhaps said the best:
“The only thing worse than training your employees and having them leave is not training them and having them stay. — Henry Ford”
While you stand the risk of investing resources into an employee only to have them leave after, the greater risk is having them leave and flourish elsewhere instead. There are always going to be those staff members that don’t take their careers (or lives for that matter) seriously, but the trend will tell you that it is far more likely that employees who you invest in, will return the favor in productivity, loyalty, and performance.
RECOGNITION AND REWARD
There is simply no getting around it, money talks and you will not always be able to counter-offer to retain your best team members. But you’ll be surprised at how many studies have revealed that workers will often pass up on more money, for a more stable and empowering workplace, and now that we have more workers working from home than ever before it has become of paramount importance that everyone still feels like they’re “part of the team”.
Incentive programs have traditionally been linked to a metric of deliverables versus actual delivery of key performance indicators, and this has largely remained the same. Rewards have ranged from increments in salary or earning potential to travel vouchers and lifestyle enhancement incentives. However powerful the reward system might be, recognition has a far deeper emotional impact and speaks to the psychological well-being and peer recognition value system of each individual.
Peer recognition is important as it improves confidence and self-esteem levels, so a solid peer to peer recognition program in the workplace is a must-have.
DYNAMIC JOB DESCRIPTIONS
Employees no longer want to be bound by watertight job descriptions and they want to be able to offer skills that they might have learned elsewhere but are not inherent to the current role. This gives employers the chance to draw from a wider diversity of skillsets and the freedom to share new projects across departments or teammates.
It is always going to be the role of your business manager (or you) to ensure that you’ve taken all necessary steps to make your business as safe as possible, but sharing that responsibility across your teammates means that you have access to a wider pool of knowledge and potential resources.
The business environment is in a constant state of flux but this doesn’t have to be intimidating or expensive to manage. It starts with knowing what your workers experience daily in your office and how equipped they feel to respond to the demands of their work.
Open, honest and sincere communication is a good start.