Employee retention is one of the most important factors affecting a company’s sustainability and growth. Retention can have a significant impact on employee morale, productivity, and the company’s bottom line. The workforce of today is increasingly mobile and flexible, which means that they have more options in terms of career paths and potential employers.
Working from home, in particular, has become one of the key motivators for employees when it comes to staying with or leaving an organization. Working from home offers them many benefits over traditional office jobs: higher reported job satisfaction, flexibility with scheduling and time off requests, and more opportunities for self-development.
As employers seek to improve retention rates across the board, emerging employee attitudes toward working from home will be one of the key areas to watch. However, there are other factors as well, which is why it’s so important to understand what motivates employees to work hard and stay loyal to their organization.
The Changing Work Climate Since 2020
In the wake of the pandemic, people are looking for more flexibility when it comes to their work schedules and where they do their jobs. With many companies in the midst of restructuring and downsizing, employees are also seeking greater autonomy when deciding how to complete their work.
Working from home has long been considered a perk for employees who wanted to spend more time with their families or avoid the stress of commuting. Now, many employees essentially demand that their employers offer them at least limited remote work options as a standard part of their normal operations.
The reason for the shift is simple: the COVID pandemic. Employees found that they could manage much of their work remotely and wanted to continue with that newly discovered level of flexibility. That, for example, was the reason for the departure of one of Apple’s chief directors recently after Apple attempted a return to full in-office operations.
The changing landscape has created a shift in employee expectations: Workers want more control over how they get things done so they can better manage their work-life balance — not just during times when travel is restricted or impossible, but all the time.
So, what are employers to do?
The Need for Flexibility
As the so-called ” Great Resignation” marches on, labor is in great demand. That means potential candidates have more negotiating leverage than they did some years ago. Employers must be prepared to offer flexible work hours, remote-work opportunities, and better scheduling as part of their overall employee benefits package.
In addition, companies need to make sure that their managers are not only equipped with the right skills but also have the ability to motivate their employees and foster an environment for creativity and innovation. The key here is communication — both ways. Employees need to know exactly what’s expected of them from day one, and managers should be able to give constructive feedback when needed without fearing repercussions from higher-ups or HR departments.
This has a number of implications in terms of the work environment itself.
A flexible work schedule is one of the most common benefits that employees seek, and it can provide a huge advantage in attracting top talent. The ability to work from home or remotely allows individuals to spend more time with their families, pursue education or training opportunities, and set their own schedules.
This can be especially important for those who are balancing family life with their career or who have other obligations outside of work that need to be taken care of. Moreover, it can help keep valuable employees who may otherwise leave because of the lack of flexibility (such as that important Apple director).
Remote Work Opportunities
Remote work isn’t just about working from home. It has broader applications, from allowing in-office employees to work from a coffee shop instead to broadening recruitment opportunities outside the immediate area. For example, by offering remote work, companies can hire workers who live in areas that are otherwise difficult to reach. This helps them meet their recruitment goals and find the best talent in a way that’s convenient for both the employer and employee. Moreover, it increases the likelihood that these candidates will stay with the company — they won’t be “poached” by companies physically closer to home, for instance.
The hybrid workforce is neither fully in-office nor fully at-home. Employees alternate their schedules, sometimes spending more time in the office and sometimes working from home. Every company has their own preferred way of doing hybrid work, but having it as an option is an important perk for employees, one that should be mentioned as part of the recruiting process.
An office built for hybrid work can afford to be smaller and more flexible than a traditional office. It can be located in a co-working space or even inside a shared office. The key is to design the space so that it accommodates both sitting and standing desks. This way, employees can choose how they want to work on any given day based on their mood or the task at hand. Hybrid workspaces also lend themselves to collaboration because they are not as formal as traditional offices. Employees feel more comfortable walking around, working in groups, and having impromptu meetings in the hallway or kitchen than they do in an environment where everyone has their own office or cubicle.
Hybrid work arrangements typically follow one of three models: remote-only workers (no physical office space), partially remote workers (some physical office space), or fully remote workers (no physical office space). Companies can choose which arrangement best suits their individual needs. All of these factors contribute to retention by helping employees think twice before moving to a company that lacks the same advantages.
Professional Development Opportunities
Business owners often neglect the value of professional development opportunities when it comes to employee retention. Offering these opportunities can help keep current employees by giving them something new to look forward to. If an employee is feeling unchallenged in their role, they may be more likely to leave for another company that offers greater chances for growth, self-development, and career expansion.
Professional development can come in the form of:
- Training: Training programs are often used as a way for companies to teach employees about new skills or upscale existing ones. This could include anything from software training to leadership seminars, or even safety courses.
- Coaching: Coaching involves working with an experienced member of the team who will provide guidance and advice to a less senior employee. This could include mentorship or even one-on-one meetings where they get feedback on how well they are performing in various areas within their job description.
- Career Planning: Career planning is an ongoing process that helps employees decide where they want to go in their career and how they can achieve their goals within the company. This could involve identifying what skills they need for future positions, formulating a plan for how to get there, and then reporting back on progress made toward those goals.
By providing professional development opportunities at work, businesses can help employees feel more confident about their position within the company and ensure that they have the tools they need to advance professionally within the overall organization. When employees feel they have a future with the company, they’re naturally more inclined to stay.
Cultivating Strong Leadership
Employees value direction, which is why cultivating strong leadership is another important aspect of employee retention. This involves the development of strong character among those in leadership positions, as well as promotion of a culture that encourages employees to feel like they are part of a team — not just another employee who gets paid to do a job. This makes them more likely to stay with the company for longer periods of time because they feel like they have more invested in its success.
Strong leaders aid retention by:
- Encouraging interaction between employees — for instance, by having them take time for lunch meetings or coffee breaks with each other
- Providing feedback and recognition when an employee does something exceptional (especially if it’s not expected)
- Using their authority as a leader to create opportunities for advancement within the company
- Including all staff in decision-making processes that affect their work environment, such as office policies or changes that affect workflow
- Encouraging employees to take on extra projects outside of their normal responsibilities so that they can grow into new roles within the company
The best way to promote strong leadership is through training programs designed specifically for managers and supervisors so that they know how best to cultivate this type of environment at their own level within the company hierarchy. Companies should keep in mind that employees want to feel like they’re doing important work. A company that offers opportunities for its employees to take part in its long-term initiatives and attend important leadership conferences will probably see a boost in morale and loyalty among its staff members.
Improving Employee Retention in 2022
Employee retention is a key issue for any business and one that can make or break the company’s success. A company’s employees are its greatest asset, and a well-trained team is essential for success. To keep their employees, businesses need to ensure that they feel valued, appreciated, and motivated.
Resourcing Edge is proud to help companies develop strategies aimed at improving employee satisfaction and keeping them engaged in the business for the long haul. Use our contact form to get in touch with us and learn more about how we can help improve retention rates.
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