The pandemic we’ve been through in the past year was not something that we were prepared for. Unfortunately, we were not unscathed. In September 2020, the country entered recession for the first time in nearly three decades.
Despite everything that has happened in the past year, it is safe to say that the people of Australia are resilient and have emerged from this ordeal together. Having said that, with things so uncertain, it is not the time to lose valuable employees. How can you keep top talent longer and improve employee retention in the age of coronavirus?
Know and recognise your employees’ needs.
Easier said than done? Here’s how:
1. Set Expectations Together
Before a newly-hired employee can start in a role, they have to first be made aware of what is expected of them. This is an important element of employee engagement, and it does not involve the employee alone.
The best way to go about setting expectations is to do it with your employee, instead of setting it for them. Let them know what you expect of them going into this new role, and ask what they expect from themselves given what they now know about the new position they hold.
Go a step further by also asking your employees what they expect of you. Take some time to listen to what these expectations are. Doing this will allow your employees to feel more confident and secure about this new journey they are about to embark on. With confidence comes a vision to stay longer, thereby improving employee retention. Both parties should be on the same page and aware of one another’s expectations moving forward.
2. Encourage Growth
Employees are hired based on their merits and fit for the specific job. No one is perfect. Any hire is bound to have some strengths and some weaknesses. The key here is to know what they are, and focus on tapping into their strengths while acknowledging their weaknesses.
When taking on a new role, the possession of both soft and hard skills is important. These skills are why one is hired to begin with. While an employee well-equipped with the necessary skills for the job is great, there is always room for improvement and many other skills to pick up along the way.
No matter the role, employees are bound to make mistakes. Equipping them with all the necessary knowledge and tools, together with their previous experience in similar roles, may reduce the likelihood of such mistakes from happening. However, they are inevitable and make great learning curves for the employee, as well as the employer about the employee. Help them come right back up when they fail and encourage them to keep it up and even go even further when things go well.
Hiring an employee is an investment. As the investor in this situation, caring for the employee hired only makes for a positive work environment and a good return on investment. As such, we want to make sure we are not only able to hire such top talent, but also to keep them. Providing a solid foundation upon which an employee can grow is a great booster for not only confidence, but improving company’s employee retention.
3. Create a Relationship
Behind every successful company is a healthy employer-and-employee relationship. A machine is only as good as the parts that make it up, making it imperative that an employer has a strong relationship with his employees.
For maximum success, there should be a professional as well as a personal bond between an employer and an employee. This is not to say that there is no distinction between positions. Rather, it entails mutual respect.
Respect begets respect. If an employer respects his employee, that same employee will return this respect. Putting oneself in the other’s shoes and treating them the same way they would want to be treated if the roles they held were reversed will form a sense of mutual respect between both parties. After all, respect forms the basis of any relationship, and is a crucial factor in improving employee retention.
Where possible be approachable, just like a friend would be, to your employees. This doesn’t mean there are no clear lines between your personal and professional relationship. As long as things are kept professional, it has the potential to break down barriers and assist the team in achieving its goals.
4. Reward Hard Work
Benefits, incentives, and rewards. These are some of the most tried and tested ways to ensure employee loyalty and retention. Who would want to leave a company that treats them well?
While extra days off, extended vacation leaves, and wage increases are all lucrative awards, they are not the only methods to reward team members for a job well done.
There is a lot more to a job than just getting a pay check in return for good work. As such, showering employees with material rewards can only go so far. Employees of today increasingly want to do valuable work, and gain valuable recognition for work well done.
It is low cost, but high impact.
The brains behind Employment Hero and Bucketlist found this to be so a while back. They have since developed digital products to cater to the benefits of recognising employee efforts and improving employee retention.
As determined by a study of the current trends in employee engagement and a qualitative survey that was conducted nationwide, these programs ensure employees are rewarded in specific ways that work for them. Many top Australian companies now use such value-driven rewards and recognition programs, and continue to see the benefits it brings.
5. Empower Your Employee
Other than benefits, rewards and recognition, empowering your employees and realigning the team against goals set is essential. This helps everyone to stay on track, feel motivated to press on, and recognise (& celebrate!) how much you have achieved together.
It also reminds employees that there is room to achieve greater things, so long as you work together.
Regularly celebrate your employees for the good job that they do. Sometimes, you may need to take a step back and let them lead. Prove just how much you believe in them by letting them take charge of larger responsibilities in important projects. Showing your support from the side lines shows your continuous support and appreciation for their work well done.
Good employees are indispensable and irreplaceable. Want to go a step further? Tell your employees that.
6. Talk About the Future
There is a difference between a career and a job. When you look at a role as merely a job, you look at it as something to take on for the short-term future ahead. It is not always seen as the same as a career. A career is essentially made up of your professional progression over many years, or in other words, the ‘long game’.
Employees of today seek value in the work they do, and tend to look forward into their short-term and long-term goals.
You have to look forward with them. In five, ten or twenty years, where do you see the company going? In that future, what role will the employees you have now play?
Where possible, involve your trusted employees in decisions about the company’s future. Lead them to a path where they can still see themselves as a part of the team over years. Regularly set new expectations and goals, and envision that future together.
The workplace is changing every day. Who would have thought just one year ago we would have a new normal that involved months of remote work and online meetings? With measures taken and vaccines being rolled out, things are looking up. Still, a company needs a stable team of valuable employees to get through this challenging period.
Employee retention can be tricky, but when truly cared for, their decision to stay will be evident across the board and such genuine efforts will guarantee improved performance and long-term retention.