Some companies spend an inordinate amount of time trying to bring on new employees, and their attention can get shunted away from their current ones. In order to maintain a healthy workplace and culture, you need to invest as much time in your team as you do investing in incoming talent!
Putting energy into supporting your employees isn’t hard to do—I assure you! There’s an old adage that goes a little something like this: Happy employees work harder and smarter—and they stay with the company longer. If you’re looking to grow your business, you want to maintain the people who have seen it through the highs and lows.
And by the way, there is some great value in “tribal knowledge.” That is not to say that “new blood” and ideas are not good, too! Balance in all things, I suppose.
Wondering how? It’s easy! Check out these five ways to help ensure you retain your current talent and team.
Listen, treat your people with respect and...did I say “Listen?” I realize that it’s tough to listen sometimes. It takes precious time. Thankfully, the ROI is there. You WILL learn a lot about your business, gain new ideas, and your people will feel appreciated….when they know it’s real!
Train and support your managers with effective communication skills. It’s discouraging for an employee to work on a project and then be told ‘This isn’t what I wanted.’ Managers should be experts in delegation, communication, setting deadlines, and upholding protocols of the job.
And let me tell you something that might not click at first: Not all senior employees should be managers! Why, you ask? Managers should be chosen carefully, with the skills I mentioned top-of-mind. Having managers act as both career coaches and mentors will encourage employees to grow within the company and think of their fellow coworkers as team members. Learning how to communicate effectively, as well as mentoring and coaching takes training—and mentoring of its own! So, spend an adequate amount of time ensuring your managers have these skills!
Be flexible! Although not all of your employees will have family responsibilities, having an open and understanding approach to those who do, and others who need some flexibility, will help you earn employee loyalty over time. Allowing employees to work from home—if not all the time, but occasionally—will benefit the employees who otherwise might be unable to balance home and work responsibilities. Make it easy for your employees to take vacations! All of this allows for them to maintain a healthy work/life balance, which is essential for many to stay motivated and focused while they’re working.
NOTE: Employees have to recognize and appreciate benefits like the aforementioned flexibility in schedules. The ‘give an inch and take a mile’ mentality of some can blow a good thing for everyone!
Get creative with those benefits! It pays—pun intended—to set up employees with standard benefits like vacation days, sick days, and health insurance, but having non-traditional benefits can go a long way, too. For example, setting up perks in the office like free coffee, bagels and fruit, or taking half-days on Fridays, or even helping employees with education funds to learn a new skill lets employees know that you value their time and efforts.
Promote, model, and live a positive workplace and culture. Nothing will make you lose an employee faster than a toxic work environment. It’s crucial to regularly and publicly praise achievements while also communicating what needs to be improved. Doing so will make your workplace one that is motivated and successful. Encouraging teamwork, not unhealthy competition, will foster this healthy work environment and lower stress levels so the workplace is a space employees want to spend time. Studies have shown that cooperation leads to higher productivity than competition. Promoting a culture of teamwork will benefit your bottom line!
So, what’s the takeaway in all of this? There’s a lot of ways you can make your workplace one in which employees want to stay, and approaches to this may vary. The most important thing to keep in mind is what each employee wants and needs from work may vary, so keep the lines of communication open!
Rex Lawrence, Founder and President of Joe Produce, was born & raised in Salinas, CA. His 28 years in the produce industry includes positions in senior sales, marketing & management for some of the industry’s leaders. Rex and his team truly understand that finding the perfect “fit” is about more than matching a skill set with specific job requirements.