With people leaving at a maddening pace, leaders need to increase transparency — not run from the issues.
Across industries, today’s job market is seeing an oversupply of jobs and an undersupply of talent. Companies also face significant challenges, both in hiring and retaining talent in the face of competition.
Making things worse: when there's a pattern of resignations, it can spiral through a workforce, prompting additional employees to consider whether they too should jump ship. Here’s a look at some key steps to boost morale and connect with employees during retention challenges.
1. Understand the turnover
A period of high turnover is often indicative of low levels of job satisfaction or morale for one reason or another. It’s a sign to management that an introspective look needs to be taken to understand what’s going wrong — and what can be done to improve.
Show a commitment to your employees by gathering their feedback to get a pulse on their overall sentiments toward their jobs, the company and potential areas of improvement. Anonymous surveys are a great tool for gauging open, honest feedback on things like:
- Company culture.
- Flexibility or work/life balance.
- Compensation and benefits.
- Whether there is room for professional development.
- The company’s management style and the degree of autonomy afforded to employees.
- The direction the company is moving in the marketplace.
2. Improve communication
Once you’ve gotten to the root cause(s) of the turnover, commit to engaging employees in regular, transparent discussion on key company initiatives. In the conversations, leave time for questions, ask for feedback and provide channels for employees to raise concerns and suggestions — for instance, an anonymous email box.
Understand that peoples’ communication preferences and expectations have changed in the current climate. Challenge your company to get creative with providing easily digestible information. Consider providing executive video updates and setting up virtual roundtables. Virtual roundtables can give remote employees the opportunity to talk face-to-face with management. Invite a handful of employees to each session, request topics of conversation ahead of time and encourage open dialogue.
Commit to regular team and one-on-one meetings where managers and employees can discuss employee performance, things that are going right and plans for the future. Ensure employees understand how their actions tie to company initiatives and goals. Encourage employees to voice concerns or even frustrations, and utilize empathy in working toward solutions.
3. Be honest with your team about what’s happening and what you’re doing about it
Acknowledge retention issues with your team, and bring employees in on the plan to improve in areas that may be lacking. Instead of having retention conversations behind closed doors with select higher ups, provide employees visibility and the opportunity to provide suggestions and insight.
4. Stay true to your values
When employees leave, treat them well on their way out. Ensure your company values are more than just words on a wall; commit to treating departing employees with kindness, care and respect. Ultimately, employees want to work for companies that are true to what they purport to be.
5. Celebrate employee accomplishments
Recognizing employees for their wins and successes is a powerful way to make them feel validated for their efforts. Individually thank employees for a job well done or for going above and beyond. If appropriate, consider publicly praising employees for their achievements. Recognizing employee contributions can go a long way in decreasing job uncertainty and making people feel like valued, integral members of the team.
6. Build team rapport
Building and growing the relationships of individuals on your team can lead to an improved culture of respect, trust and motivation. One way to build rapport is to improve managers’ visibility. If possible, managers should prioritize visiting office locations, walking around or spending time to get to know employees.
Team rapport can also be improved through team building exercises. Activities planned in or out of the office can allow employees to get to know each other on a personal level.
While turning the mirror toward yourself and the company can be a daunting task, it’s a necessary one in combating retention challenges. Understanding where there’s room for improvement, and committing to putting in the work to get there, will ultimately lead to a happier, more motivated and loyal workforce.
Traci McMillan Beach's company, Craft Impact, partners with C-Level execs to build communication strategies that engage top talent and customers during organizational change. To discuss how communications can boost retention and operational excellence at your evolving business, email [email protected].