In the current labor market, with a national unemployment rate hovering around 3.8%, and some local markets much lower, organizations have to work outside the box to retain current talent. Creative initiatives that nurture and motivate high-potential employees, including employee engagement and mental health building programs, help you keep the talent everyone worked so hard to hire.
Here are three simple solutions that you can implement by the end of the month, with little to no additional expense, that can help improve your employee morale and help you retain your top talent.
1. Say “Thank You” starting from the very top and encourage everyone to continue to pay it forward.
While many companies have a modified version of a hierarchy management structure for issuing new improvements, developing new initiatives and taking on new industry challenges, it’s rare that top executives are focused on the employee experience. However, leading by example can be one of the best ways to make a big impact, fast.
Two of the most basic human desires are validation and appreciation. MIT professor Dan Ariely conducted a variety of studies on workplace behavior and the relationship between appreciation and desired compensation. In one study, people who were appreciated were willing to perform the task for half the price as those whose work was destroyed.
The study also found that the “no news is good news” sentiment is incorrect from the receiver’s standpoint. In Ariely’s own words, “Ignoring the performance of people is almost as bad as shredding their effort before their eyes”.
In addition to the “Thank You” program, you can create your own twist and make the appreciation even better by adding a level of presentation or gamifying it. For example, give managers and executives company-branded figurines, pins, Legos or puzzle pieces to give employees as thank you gifts. This allows employees to collect and showcase the gratitude. In addition, the displays can spark fun discussions with visitors and new recruits.
2. Get managers and executives out of their offices, onto the floor or in front of your front-line employees and talking with them.
The inability to connect with managers and executives is another reason employees feel distant from their employer and start looking elsewhere. According to the Connection Culture Group, 87% of workers around the world aren’t motivated to give their best at work because they don’t feel seen, heard, or valued in their workplace.
The higher the tiers your management structure go, the more important it is to implement times for customer-facing staff to interact with executives. It helps front-line employees feel valued. It also lets executives who may not have direct contact with customers understand and possibly solve ongoing issues.
Employees’ “feelings of connection, community and unity provide a competitive advantage,” Michael Stallard writes in Connection Culture. “Employees in an organization with a high degree of connection are more engaged, more productive in their jobs, and less likely to leave for a competitor.”
3. Improve internal communications.
Communication tends to be one of the biggest challenges in the office. Everyone is different, they all communicate differently, and internal communication is rarely a corporate priority. However, it’s the first defense against disengagement.
Experts agree, understanding the true working experience of your employees is a revenue driver that will produce a happier workforce. It helps improve employee morale, engagement and wellbeing, which in turn will help boost productivity and reduce turnover.
Here are some ways you can get started:
• Create a regular communication for employees. Highlight the top things that are going on throughout the company and spotlight employees that go above and beyond. Keep messages consistent, brief, interesting and fun.
• Store as much as you can in one place. Whether it’s an intranet, secure site or shared folder, house information in one area so employees have a place to reference. Another option is to implement Workplace by Facebook. It’s one platform that makes it easy to share news, updates across your organization, and get people collaborating in meaningful ways on a single platform.
• Create video messages for employees. Video is an incredible medium for engaging, affective internal communication. Ragan Communications identified the top ways that video improved internal communication:
- Improved communication with remote employees (76%)
- Increased alignment with company/organizational goals (58%)
- Employees are more engaged with senior executives (44%)
- Increased attendance/participation (42%)
- Improved message retention (39%)
So, get your top influencers on camera to create feel-good messages and relay important ideas on video to employees.
Finally, as part of any company program, you should always ask, review and make updates. Even the best sports players and actors review their work, take criticism and improve upon what was done. Create brief surveys to get feedback from employees and learn what they like and don’t. Have a panel discussion with a group of employees and get their feedback. Buy lunch for some of the major influencers and those willing to help you out, get their opinion, thoughts and criticisms. Find out what people like, what they don’t, and never be afraid to try out new ideas.