The reasons for the mismatch between labor offering and demand are multifold: People are increasingly handing in their notice because they want a better work-life balance, greater benefits, and a more flexible approach to their work.
The current turmoil in the labor market will not go away anytime soon. Hiring and retaining talent is harder than ever, as people look for what’s best for them – leaving sentiments behind. Nevertheless, if employers listen carefully to their employees and learn how to respond to their teams’ needs, they can fray turnover risk and cultivate loyalty.
Let’s find out how you can keep your fingers on the pulse of the needs of the current workforce.
Softening the resignation blow
Existing employees should be the ultimate priority. The resources needed for hiring new employees significantly exceed the cost of retaining them. For example, the cost of hiring a new employee for, let’s say a C-suite position, climbs up to 200% of the annual salary – including spending on hiring, training, and vocational adjustment. Additionally, a company benefits much more from long-term committed employees who work faithfully to succeed than from constantly fluctuating employees on a stepping stone for a better career.
Employees call the shots, and that will remain the case in 2022. For better or for worse, if you want to have A-players engaged with your job offers and company, you need to adjust and respond to their expectations.
Focusing on flexibility
One key desire of modern job seekers is flexible employment types tailored to their specific demands. A strong trend gaining popularity among employees is flexible work hours.
As an immediate solution, you can work out flexible and customized schedules for each employee. Let’s say a father of a family asks for more flexible work hours so he can drop off and pick up the kids from school on time. Make sure those requests are met, for example, by allowing him to start early and have a long afternoon break.
We at GetResponse set a core time where the whole team is available for scheduled meetings and leave the rest of the day to the employees’ individual preferences.
Pioneering companies like Shake Shack, which allows its employees to work 40 hours in a four-day week, and Microsoft Japan, which gives access to free Fridays, are setting new standards for flexibility. By setting achievable deadlines for work done or goals met, you can ensure that your employees use their flexibility wisely. Building trust is vital: Don’t be too rigid and micromanage each employee’s working hours. Rather, use weekly meetings to assess workload and labor progress and discuss new goals or expectations. By focusing on results and outcomes, not on the amount of time employees spend at work, you will achieve greater productivity and employee satisfaction.
Moreover, mitigate the risk of employees working overtime that is not compensated. It’s much harder for many workers to calculate the hours they spend online if they work from home. By asking your employees to be transparent about their working hours, you can ensure work-life balance and effectively redistribute the workload if red flags appear.
Allowing remote work
Many employers are still reluctant to hire employees completely remotely for an unnecessarily feared loss of productivity, damaged team spirit or restrictive labor laws.
That’s when a hybrid work model is a way to go. It allows employees to adjust their time in the office and at home to their preferences while leaving space to connect with employees in person.
To enable working remotely, you need to develop an asynchronous work culture and make sure employees can work in their preferred location. The tools and equipment you use need to support both remote and a-synch work, such as Microsoft Teams, Slack, Jira or Confluence, a headset, a secured VPN to connect with the company’s platforms, or a computer and mobile device employees can use. One of your team members has a bad Internet connection at home? Search for solutions such as satellite internet or a USB Wi-Fi stick to help them stay connected.
Building individual development paths
The modern generations strive for faster career development and skill specialization, seeking new opportunities to develop their talents. But creating a clear development path suiting each employee’s skills and expectations requires knowing them. Often, an employee wants to change their job role, not the company – and you need to allow these desires if you don’t want to lose your people.
How about taking advantage of automation? Use technology to take care of simple, repetitive tasks allowing for greater employee engagement through more satisfying job duties. Let’s say your marketing talent is in charge of sending out newsletter emails to clients biweekly. Thanks to fully automated emails and email newsletters campaigns, your staff can focus on gathering new, innovative marketing ideas instead of managing tons of repetitive emails.
Employees should have time to invest in creative projects that will simultaneously develop the business. This will allow you to match your company’s success with your employees’ engagement.
For example, at GetResponse, our customer service team talks with customers via live chat only four hours a day – they have a break and focus on emails and self-development. That way, they are not as tired as you would typically be after eight hours of constant talking and, ever since, satisfaction has risen drastically.
Creating a healthy company culture
Creating a skills path for people in your company requires being human-centric. If you care about your employees and show your interest in them by providing for their health, development, and enjoyment, you ensure their commitment to them and your success. As many people currently strive for greater life stability, you should support them in reducing stress or anxiety. Help workers find their inner balance and self-awareness through offering services that support their well-being and mental health – including team-building activities, free meditation classes, or gym memberships.
Building a healthy work environment is not only about encouraging your employees to look after themselves. It requires transparency, communicating with your employees openly, and creating a culture of feedback and appreciation within your organization.
People search for great projects and development, but they are keen to do so in a healthy work environment, where the culture is defined by the way people work and communicate, rather than the way they socialize together. Establish clear rules (e.g., no emails on weekends), core values (such as celebrating diversity and respectful communication), and make sure employees are requested to follow them.
Additionally, teach your people how to work more efficiently, and don’t forget to assess where time is lost, and efficiency sacrificed for rigid processes. Also, create a distraction-free environment (at home and in the office) and allow your employees to implement deep work into their routines. A strategy we use at GetResponse is “focus-building” once a week. This is a day without meetings where each team member can dive into the project work and get these done faster without distractions.
Teaching leadership skills
There are things that a company as a whole can offer to boost engagement, but the real job is in the hands of middle management. Companies need to invest in their managers, develop their leadership skills, respond to feedback, and grow through smart leadership.
Managers are in the position of inspiring their teams and building relationships – but only if they are adequately trained. In 2021, we conducted a Leader 2021 training for all our managers, where we concentrated on core competencies such as feedback, active listening, communication, change management, and innovation. Work relationships thrive with feedback – giving and receiving mutually. Here, both affirmative and corrective feedback is essential for employee growth and well-received among most employees, but the way feedback is given is also essential. Don’t trust in natural-born leaders, but instead, develop leadership skills among all employees with the help of workshops and communication training.
Hiring the employee your company needs
If you still need to hire, be consistent and keep the job ad in the company’s tone of voice. Show how flexible you are to meet your talents’ needs and entice your potential applicants with a description of your work culture. The job ad should include all the information a potential applicant is looking for and add relevant keywords: location, requirements, responsibilities, salary level, perks, and benefits.
Further, with an up-to-date careers page that sells your employer brand and showcases the company’s core values, you can reach much broader audiences. Most job seekers comb the whole Internet to get more information about the company, read reviews, and check social media channels. By trying new formats for your ads (videos, images), you show that you are following trends, and at the same time, the engaging design will increase the likelihood that a candidate will take notice of your job.
What is the single biggest reason today’s companies are successful? Their team. A company can have a great product, but a work culture where high turnover spreads like wildfire hurts the company and hinders growth and innovation. That’s why the focus of employee retention in 2022 must be clear: Keep a close eye on employees’ needs, respond to feedback quickly, and use modern tools to allow for a better employee experience.