Providing an engaging workplace culture is more crucial than ever in the midst of the “Great Resignation.” And, the exodus is not over: One study found more than half of Americans say they are “very” or ‘”somewhat” likely to look for a new job over the next 12 months. In addition, a great swath of workers are still sitting on the employment sidelines—many of whom are women. That offers a signature opportunity to bolster your workforce with star employees who can help you meet your goals and boost your credibility with customers and clients.
Wondering how to attract and retain employees, and women in particular? A recent Gallup survey found that women cited “greater work-life balance and better personal wellbeing” as their top criteria when deciding whether to take a new job. Here are five ways your business can use that knowledge to cement its position as an employer of choice.
1. Adequate compensation
If you haven’t revisited your compensation structure recently, you could be inadvertently limiting your potential. That’s because an astonishing 92% of companies said they intended to increase base pay in 2022. But there are other levers you can pull, especially for those workers in the highest demand. Bonuses, stock awards and even extra days off allow you to reward certain performers without upending your entire compensation structure.
Although we named this concept second, for many people it supersedes even compensation as a top priority, with one study finding 55% of workers say the ability to work from home or have a flexible schedule is now more important than before the pandemic, exceeding the 52% who cited higher pay.
Depending on the nature of your industry it may not be feasible to offer a completely remote or even largely hybrid environment. Yet workplaces can instill goodwill by striving to offer options whenever possible. Maybe teams can decide among themselves when they need to be in the office to plan and collaborate on a project, then head home to do the work individually. If you need front-line employees at specific times of the day, survey them to see if people have requests for preferred shifts. You might find that a parent would prefer to come in an hour later so they can do morning drop-off, then cover everyone’s lunches. A little creativity can go a long way in offering schedules that meet your team’s needs.
3. Mental health benefits
While most companies already offer healthcare benefits, many consumers are increasingly looking for programs that help with mental health issues. The challenges are more acute than ever, especially as we head back to the office: In one study, two-thirds of professionals said returning to the office will negatively affect their mental health. Of course, the isolation we have recently experienced took a toll of its own, particularly coupled with fears over safety.
This multitude of issues point to the need for more widespread options that address mental health, from counseling to apps that help decrease stress. Having a comprehensive strategy can set you apart: While 86% of employers consider mental health, stress and burnout top priorities for their organizations in 2022, half had not yet created a strategy to address the problems.
4. Financial wellness programs
As inflation kicks in, consumers are becoming more concerned about their finances, with a survey from the American Psychological Association finding that stress about money is at its highest since June 2015.
While increasing pay is one way to help your employees feel more financially secure, many of them might have more fundamental questions about how to manage their money. Without a solid understanding of basic financial concepts like why their credit score matters, how to budget and how to save, they will have trouble getting ahead no matter what their income.
The Valley Learning Center has a variety of resources to get you started. In addition, consider inviting local professionals to share their expertise on topics like investing for retirement, saving for a down payment or ensuring adequate insurance.
5. Competent, caring leadership
No matter what fancy perks you offer your staff, poor management will chase them off. In fact, a McKinsey survey found that “uncaring leaders” was the No. 1 reason people left their job, followed by unsustainable work performance expectations and a lack of career development and advancement potential. Now more than ever, managers need to guard against apathy and burnout by getting to know team members individually to find out what makes them tick and any concerns.
One technique gaining traction is the “stay” interview – the opposite of the exit interview. This informal conversation is designed to discover what motivates an employee and how they see their future with the company, with the goal of creating personal career paths to ensure you’re meeting their needs. After all, it’s typically much easier to keep a high-performing employee satisfied than try to change their mind or replace them if they decide to leave.
And don’t forget the power of appreciation…everyone feels more inspired when their work has been noticed.
Most workplaces believe their employees are their most important asset, but lip service is no longer enough. As you re-imagine your workplace for 2022, now is the time to institute policies and programs that put your values into action. The upside will be a more engaged, productive team that will allow your company to go farther, faster. As shared in the Gallup survey, “To stand out, your organization must have a compelling and authentic employee value proposition that speaks to the unique drivers for women.”