Employees make your business work. With the U.S. unemployment rate hovering around 4 percent and limited skilled labor, acquiring top talent is competitive. What’s more, recent Gallup polls found that roughly half of America’s fully employed are seeking a new job and only 13 percent of them consider their work to be meaningful. So, the question arises, how can companies not only keep top talent, but keep top talent engaged and happy?
While financial incentives are certainly important, today’s workforce is looking for more than money. This is especially true for younger workers. In fact, 9 out of 10 millennial business students say they would accept a lower paying job if they felt like it was meaningful. Additionally, satisfaction also stems from a sense of empathy, community and internal motivation. So here are the five things you should inspire within your work team to enhance employee satisfaction and loyalty.
1) Empathy: Empathy is an important component of employee satisfaction. In this case, empathy means taking the time to understand your employee’s needs, goals and values.
A recent BusinessSolver study found that 9 out of 10 respondents said they had a higher probability of staying with an an employer that empathized with them. What’s more, roughly 80 percent and 66 percent of employee respondents said they would work longer and take a small pay cut for an employer that showcased empathetic practices, respectively. Additionally, 80 percent said they would leave their current employer for a more empathetic one. The key takeaway here is that it is paramount to take the time to make your employees feel like they are valued and that their requests are being heard.
2) Community: Full time employees often spend more time at work then they do with their families. While the workplace will not replace external community, it is important to build a supportive and inclusive corporate culture that creates a sense of community in the office. Instead of encouraging internal competition, which can put employees against one another and harbor distrust, focus on fostering collaboration, creativity and trust.
An excellent way to do that is by maintaining open lines of communication amongst employees, managers and the C suite. Additionally, provide employees with flexible working environments, team building activities and generous benefits. Further, you can increase engagement by inviting employees to provide insight into key decisions. By making your team members feel valued, taken care of and given opportunities to foster meaningful internal relationships, you can effectively build a sense of community within your organization.
3) Potential: Another key factor to retaining top talent is to give employees the opportunity to better themselves. One way to increase motivation via opportunity is via financial incentives, such as performance bonuses, profit sharing and raises. Another way to help employees realize their potential is by giving them creative freedom and ownership. For example, this could mean allowing an employee the opportunity to pitch an out of the box idea for a new project or provide insight on what type of CSR initiatives your brand is involved in. Additionally, offering skills training, monitorships and other learning opportunities as well as rewarding employees with more responsibility, time off and increased flexibility are excellent ways to improve satisfaction and retention.
4) Play: While work is often thought of as serious business, studies show that play at the workplace not only contributes to employee satisfaction but also improves productivity. Of note, A formative studyfrom Rochester University found that play is an essential contributor to internal motivation and is positively correlated with productivity. An excellent example of a company that incorporates play into its corporate culture is Google. The tech behemoth gives employees 20% of their time to work on creative endeavours that aren’t related to their core responsibilities. These free thinking side projects lead to innovations behind Gmail, google maps and more. The lesson here is that play is paramount to keeping happy employees and can boost output.
5) Purpose: Companies that define their mission and utilize their business as a tool to achieve a higher purpose kindle an emotional attachment amongst employees that believe in the brand mission. A recent Deloitte study found that millennial employees are more likely to stay longer when they believe in the company values and goals that go beyond profit. What’s more, purpose is an essential part to building a strong brand and distinguishing yourself from the competition. In fact, roughly 90 percent of consumers would rather purchase a product or service that contributes to a social cause than a comparable product that does not.
Ultimately, purpose is an essential ingredient to building both internal culture and cultivating consumer goodwill.
If you’re looking for ways to strengthen corporate culture and build an office environment that inspires employees to build your business and your mission, visit We First Works that features two new online courses. The first is focused on helping employees and founders define their personal purpose while the second helps companies define their purpose. Together they show you how to not only improve employee retention but help you develop a brand that consumers, investors and the media value as a core participant to building a better world.