Opinions expressed by londonbusinessblog.com contributors are their own.
I believe that the pandemic and the time we spent working remotely contributed greatly to the increase in the number of layoffs. People were able to assess their work-life balance in a way that was never possible before. In addition, government assistance – although needed in most cases – increased the risk, which had both positive and negative sides.
In fact, by some estimates, more than 4 million workers a month are leaving their jobs – a phenomenon that is disrupting businesses everywhere. As companies and leaders try to address the problem, many will continue to struggle because they don’t understand why their employees are leaving in the first place.
A questionnaire found that the majority of workers who left their jobs in 2021 indicated low pay, no career advancement opportunities, and feel disrespected. Rather than view the increase in layoffs as an insurmountable problem, employers and leaders should see this as a unique opportunity to reassess, re-engage, redefine and adjust direction (if necessary) by use the following tactics:
Related: How to hire and retain top talent amid the big layoff?
1. Start hiring the right people
londonbusinessblog.com Gary Vaynerchuk once said, “Renting is guesswork.” There is a certain validity to that statement. However, I’ve found that hiring a person who aligns with your organization’s core values and is a strong cultural fit typically leads to long-term, mutually beneficial hires.
By hiring people based on culture and values we care deeply about, you build a team that can work together, and employees who feel valued and share values with the company they work for are more likely to stay. Fast or bad hiring practices will definitely leave you in a situation where you will be more likely to quit.
2. Show sincere appreciation
Research of McKinsey suggests that workers want more employers to invest in the human aspects of work. While they naturally look for adequate pay, benefits and perks, survey data shows they want to feel valued by their managers and their company.
How do you show appreciation? If the team you lead is working hard on a challenging project, send personalized “thanks” to each team member. While employees love bonuses, it’s important to associate the gift with genuine appreciation. If people are feeling burned out, close the office for a day of unplugging and recharging.
At Twinlab Consolidated Corporation, we select and recognize one of our team members as our Employee of the Month, celebrate work anniversaries and celebrate special personal moments (eg baby showers and birthdays). We also sponsor quarterly outings, have department lunches and get-togethers, host an annual holiday party and summer barbecue, and look for charities to be involved in that are important to our employees.
Over time we have created a family atmosphere where we win and lose as a team. In times like these, having that kind of structure and care goes a long way in retaining your people.
3. Offer Professional Development
Professional development and training are also important. Webinars, seminars and management coaching are all tools we have used that have proven effective in showing team members that they are valued.
Supporting training not only increases that person’s value within our company, but also the marketability of their own career. If someone decides to move forward, we feel it’s good that we’ve supported that person in their ability to create a more rewarding career for themselves.
That said, we do everything we can to make it more attractive to stay with us than to move on. Showing your employees that you care will give you greater productivity and higher retention levels.
Related: 10 Actionable Employee Retention Strategies for 2022
4. Don’t be stingy with rewards and benefits
By offering competitive salaries and benefits, you have the opportunity to attract and retain high-performing employees. I believe in bonus plans, annual benefits and compensation assessments. These practices make your top talent feel valued.
What my leadership team and I have come to realize over the past two years is that applicants value work-life balance just as much as (or in some cases more than) a competitive salary or benefits package.
5. Give top performers stimulating and highly visible assignments
I’ve noticed that top performers have a competitive nature that brings out the best in busy situations.
It is no coincidence that several members of our staff and leadership team are former NCAA Division I, II and III athletes; it’s one of the small details that helped us transform our business from a shoddy startup to an agile, profitable organization in a short period of time. The expression in the sport is to let the big dogs eat. We absolutely believe in this philosophy. Top performers are not only competitive, but they often get bored if they are not regularly challenged.
6. Offer work-life balance and flexibility
We have definitely adopted a “time productivity in the office” philosophy. The world has become a very tricky place to navigate life and work successfully. We wanted to assure our employees that we understand this stress and that, whatever we can do to support work-life balance, we’re there to make adjustments that make sense for everyone.
We’ve found this to be an important factor in workforce retention, not just during this pandemic, but before that. Showing concern without holding people accountable for “catching up” is an underrated way for management and leadership to show their appreciation. In addition, at the beginning of this year we made the decision to make our full-time employees ill indefinitely.
7. Maintain a good relationship between every employee and the company
As a senior leader in an organization, you must feel responsible for the culture of the company. By having a relationship with every member of the team, you only strengthen the bond between the company and the team member.
I’ve made it a personal habit every quarter to do check-ins with at least 20% of our employees. During these check-ins I will ask my series of questions, but not speak further. I do nothing but listen to what they have to say. I have found that this goes a long way towards building trust.
Related: 4 Strategies for Recruiting and Retaining Successful Employees
8. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
I, along with all members of the leadership team, have an open door policy and every staff member has my cell phone number. We encourage open and honest communication, and if the conversation is difficult at times, that’s okay too; this is how trust is earned over time.
If you can discuss complex, difficult situations, there’s no problem you can’t solve. Covering up or sweeping problems under the rug will never work.
9. Provide pathways for progress
Having sufficient growth opportunities can sometimes be a challenge in an organization. I believe that communicating around career goals, explaining where the opportunities and problems lie in a company, directly with those seeking advancement, will give you the best clue as to who should be considered for advancement.
We have a great track record of promoting from within. If someone asks me how to move forward, I tell them to look for the current problems and find a solution. There is no faster way to move forward.
While organizations will always face a percentage of layoffs each year, smart and committed companies can take real steps, including the above, to defeat the “Great Resignation” by valuing, engaging, inspiring and retaining employees, especially top performers.
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- 1 1. Start hiring the right people
- 2 2. Show sincere appreciation
- 3 3. Offer Professional Development
- 4 4. Don’t be stingy with rewards and benefits
- 5 5. Give top performers stimulating and highly visible assignments
- 6 6. Offer work-life balance and flexibility
- 7 7. Maintain a good relationship between every employee and the company
- 8 8. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
- 9 9. Provide pathways for progress