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4 ways for employers to retain and attract employees

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The disruption of business by the pandemic led many employees to recognise that they wanted more satisfaction from their work, a more pleasant working atmosphere, or more flexibility.

As the business world attempts to go back to normal, it’s no surprise that many workers are baulking at the idea.

They are resigning or changing jobs instead of simply returning to business as usual.

If you want to retain your employees or attract new ones, implement some changes that make your business an enjoyable, positive place to work.

Here’s what we cover:

The Great Resignation

1. Recognise hard work

2. Give your employees agency

3. Make it OK to leave

4. Simplify work processes

Final thoughts on retaining and attracting employees

In many places it seems like life is going back to pre-pandemic ways, but in the business world things are not springing back so easily.

A recent article in the Harvard Business Review stated that in April, May, and June 2021 11.5 million workers in the US quit their jobs and of those that haven’t quit, almost 50% are actively looking to change positions.

This isn’t just an American phenomenon.

A study of workers in the UK and Ireland showed that 38% planned to quit in the next six months to a year.

This phenomenon has been dubbed ‘The Great Resignation’.

Why is it happening?

The study referenced above suggests there is a disconnect between what businesses think are important to employees and what is actually important to employees.

Poor work/life balance and pay problems are the two top reasons employees resign, but a toxic workplace environment is also a major factor.

The cost of this potential staff turnover could be an average £13,595 per small business, £68,070 per medium business, and £16.958bn to the UK and Irish economies.

To reduce the impact on your business, it’s vital to tap into what is important to your employees and to make your work environment positive and rewarding.

We cover how you can do that with the following four points.

Recognising the work of your employees is not simply achieved through pay rises or bonuses. It can also be accomplished by saying thank you when a job is done well.

Surprisingly, many people who have left their job in favour of a new position have taken a pay cut.

The salary is less important than benefits, rewards and a positive work environment.

Research shows that employees the receive recognition feel like their work matters and if they feel like their work matters then they are happier with their job and less likely to quit.

This is a winning situation for the employer and the employee alike.

It doesn’t cost much to send a thank you email or recognise an employee’s work with a ‘thank you’ in person, but the rewards for your company can be immense.

Employees are happier when they working in a trusting environment.

Furthermore, trusting your employees is not only good for worker well-being, but good for your bottom line.

In his TED Talk, Michael C. Bush uses Four Seasons as an example and says “They have magnificent properties all around the world.

“And their employees are told, “Do whatever you think is right when servicing the customer.’

“To hand that trust to your employees to do whatever they think is right makes the employees feel great. And this is why they’re known for delivering some of the best service in the world.”

A November 2020 study by the Chartered Management Institute found that trust was the key to productivity during the pandemic.

Whether employees were working from home or in the office, productivity was high when they were trusted by management.

Why does productivity go up when employees feel trusted? When an employee is trusted and given ownership of a task then they become invested in the outcome.

They see more meaning in their work and this translates into productivity.

When talking about employee retention, it may seem counterintuitive to focus on how to say goodbye to a long-time employee, but ending on a good note is important.

Some businesses treat an employee resigning as a personal affront.

They make the employee feel guilty for finding a new position or they downplay the contributions the employee made.

This only serves to create a negative experience for the employee leaving and those who remain are impacted by that negativity.

Instead of feeling hurt, being appreciative is a more positive way to proceed. Recognise how the employee helped your company and how your business helped the employee evolve.

This type of attitude attracts future employees and encourages current workers to stay.

An integral part of job satisfaction is feeling like you can accomplish goals and make a difference.

Employees may choose to leave if they are working in an overly bureaucratic environment where they feel like it is impossible to get ideas implemented.

Simplify the system for gaining approval and if an employee is in charge of a task, make sure they can make discretionary decisions and do not have to constantly get authorisation from upper management.

Similarly, ensure your company is working with current and streamlined IT systems.

Clunky, old systems, not only frustrate the employee, but can be a security risk if they are not updated.

Another area where you can simplify and become more efficient is in your business’s collection of bills, by using a real time payments solution that integrates with your accounting software.

This type of system can automatically input payment data into your accounting books, reducing the likelihood of data entry mistakes and giving your employees more time for less repetitive tasks.

Some aspects of life may be returning to normal, but the business world is in flux and many workers are considering leaving their jobs.

Ensure your business is a compassionate and positive place to work by recognising the hard work of your employees, giving your employees agency, accepting resignations gracefully, and simplifying work processes.

By implementing these strategies, you can retain your current employees and attract new ones.

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