Since the pandemic began, a recent Microsoft study shows, between 40% and 50% of employees are considering quitting their current jobs. By April 2021, there were 9.2 million vacant positions in American companies. This trend has been described as The Great Resignation, and employers have been rushing to find ways to retain and engage their employees -- from improved benefits, to hybrid work environments, to company rewards systems, and more.
In our webinar, we talked to Enboarder’s Angela Heyroth about what is causing this epidemic of career change. We also examine what can be done to retain current staff and how to future-proof your HR practices to engage staff, maintain morale and retain and reward employees.
Heyroth believes there is a perfect storm of reasons why people are fleeing their current roles in such numbers. In brief:
· The pandemic has pushed already dissatisfied employees to make a move.
· A housing value and stock price boom has encouraged many to take early retirement.
· The past year has encouraged reflection and prompted many to risk a change.
· People seek more flexible “pandemic proof” employment with better work/life balance.
· There are many job openings, so people are seizing the opportunity to move on to “greener pastures”.
These pressures and enticements have made it more vital than ever for companies to find ways to engage and retain staff. Heyroth points out how the trauma of the pandemic has “put a premium on great experiences”.
The cost of failing to do so is severe. A company with 1000 employees that loses 40% of its employees might expect to spend around $4 million replacing them. There are also non-monetary losses to bear in mind, including poor morale, impaired sales relationships, and staff burnt out amongst remaining employees forced to pick up the slack.
Employee experience begins with the culture of an organization – it’s personality. Engagement is the result of having a positive culture and providing a worthwhile experience across the whole employee journey from candidacy to onboarding to training, development and recognition.
Employees don’t primarily want tangible things, like pool tables and espresso machines. Rather, they consistently say they are seeking improvements in their working environment, which divided broadly into four categories:
· Flexibility and Choice: to manage their lives and work autonomously.
· Challenge and Impact: to feel they have interesting work that makes a difference.
· Recognition and Appreciation: to feel their work is valued.
· Connection and Collaboration: to share work and enjoy positive working relationships.
All these things combine to create a sense of belonging.
For instance, studies have shown that remote and hybrid working models adopted during the pandemic made staff feel more engaged. Employers who instituted this were allowing greater flexibility and choice. Staff allowed the freedom and trust felt valued and protected.
So how do employers create a culture that engenders belonging?
To build an ideal working culture, businesses should focus on the four aspects of belonging, and ensuring the employee experience fulfils these four aspects, along the whole employee lifecycle.
Here are some tried and tested examples:
· 1-800 Got Junk’s and Google’s “daily huddle” a pan-organizational get together on Zoom which starts each day with good news, staff recognition and KPI sharing. This group session promotes alignment, connection, and happiness.
· Recognition channels can be created on Slack or Microsoft Teams, which highlight key achievements of individual staff members.
· Brag board – a page to highlight good work by corporate “heroes”, encouraging others to strive harder too.
And here are some ideas to improve employee onboarding and retention through your company reward system:
· Employee Survey – a fun quiz for new staff which can be shared on employee noticeboards.
· Welcome Swag – borrow a tip from entertainment and provide branded gifts that new employees will share or show off to friends.
· Employee Baseball Cards – brief summaries of the personalities and likes of individual staff.
· Let employees share in and enjoy the customer experience.
· Spend time working other job roles to promote empathy and understanding.
Leaders may need to be coached to appreciate that engagement is vital but does not necessarily mean physical presence in the office. Demonstrating the financial benefits of investing in engagement will also help persuade management that this approach is vital.
There are a host of ways in which companies can improve their corporate culture, request a free demo to find out how a rewards and recognition program can help your business!