By Kate Palmer
All employers fight a constant campaign to keep their turnover rate low, and their retention rate high. And once you have a talented and passionate employee, obviously you want to keep hold of them.
However, the modern day job world is far more competitive than ever, with employees weighing up everything from salary and commission structure to commute times, free lunches, car allowances, and other benefits.
Given that the average employee is approached passively via various recruitment marketing channels about 10-15 times a day, there are many opportunities for employees to consider what they already have against what is potentially on offer and subsequently whether to remain in their current job or to look elsewhere.
This scenario plays itself out even more often amongst the XYZ generation who are willing to move jobs far more regularly for something as innocuous as a free coffee in the morning.
Fortunately, improving your retention rate—and then keeping it high—is something that you can influence and here’s a few suggestions on how working on your company culture and providing a better working environment can help you to retain your best staff.
Champion employee wellbeing
It’s not exactly breaking news that when employees feel happier, and more positive, and more energetic, they perform better. They can focus on tasks for longer periods and their mental fortitude when they encounter a challenge is stronger.
One way to reduce an employee’s stress is to make their commute more bearable. For example, paying their travel expenses. An alternative, albeit similar, option would be to offer credit for travel apps such as Uber.
Another common wellbeing tactic is to offer subsidised gym memberships at a particular gym—typically one situated near your office. The combination of reduced membership prices and close proximity before or after work will encourage many staff to get over the road and onto the treadmill, rowing machines, bench press, and all the rest.
In addition to encouraging your employees to burn stress and calories, you could circulate advice about managing a healthy lifestyle. Tips about diets and eating well, and regarding an effective sleep pattern, might be things you’ve overlooked until now, but a fit and well-rested employee, who’s eating plenty of good food, will have more physical energy and more brain energy. If you’re sitting in an office staring at a screen eight -hours a day, keeping the brain healthy is critical.
Speaking of food… why not provide lunch?
You might already have a cafeteria, in which case, ensure you’re investing in healthy food that will benefit your staff. Otherwise, you might consider hiring a caterer to offer lunch to your staff. If your employees know they’re saving a few extra coins each day because of you, there’ll appreciate it.
Providing lunch for your staff also represents an opportunity for your employees to get to know one another while they’re enjoying their tuna sandwiches.
Employee bonding away from the workstation can lead to stronger colleague communication, heightened trust, and laughter. Nothing relieves stress quite like laughter.
Of course, investing in food for your staff is an overhead. But if your company culture leads to higher levels of employee motivation, more productivity, and increased revenue, that lunch might soon pay for itself.
Review your employee reward structure
It’s very common for businesses to offer bonus schemes and commission pay these days. All companies want the best employees working for them. Employees with refined skills, with experience, and with passion.
To convince new employees to join you, you sometimes might need to offer them more than your competitors are offering.
Review the bonuses you offer employees and investigate your current commission scheme. Introducing a higher commission pay structure for your successful employees will demonstrate that you value their hard work. In addition, any employees who could perform to a higher standard will recognise greater rewards await them if they push themselves.
For many employees, what they take home each month is important. We all have bills to pay and we’re all saving up for something. Provide your staff with the opportunity to earn more money and you’ll see your retention rate rise.
Celebrate your employees’ success on the company tab
After a magnificent month of business, a Friday evening of food, drinks, bonding, dancing and laughter can have a great effect on your company culture. If you’re willing to put a sizeable sum behind the bar for staff to have a few beverages, they’ll appreciate you for appreciating them.
When employees are happy in their job, they’re less likely to be tempted into responding to the barrage of job offers that they constantly receive. The trick to staff retention is giving your employees reasons to stay. More reasons to stay than to want to leave.
Remote and flexible working
Both remote working (working from home or in a café, for example) and flexible working (starting earlier/later, finishing earlier/later; working different days, such as having a Thursday off and working the Sunday) come with the appeal of significantly reduced commutes.
The commute to and from work is a major de-motivator for many workers. Rushing to get ready to get to work on time. Having to stand on a train platform or at a bus stand in the cold and the rain.
Being surrounded by strangers can be too much for some people when they’re waking up or winding down.
If your staff think they could find a job that offers a less stressful commute, they’ll take it seriously and they’ll investigate the role’s other benefits and start comparing it with their current job. Before you know it they’ve booked annual leave that they’re using for an interview and a week later they could be handing in their notice.
Allowing people more flexibility to either avoid rush hour traffic, or to cut out a commute entirely, can save your employees time, money, and mental energy. A remote employee could wake up at 7.30am and be on their laptop working by 8am, feeling fresh and full with a hearty breakfast.
Another idea is to offer staff a set amount of work from home days each year .
Whatever policy you decide to implement with remote or flexible working, be consistent with all employees in order to avoid discrimination and unfair treatment.
Win together, lose together
Creating team incentives based on performance so that everyone, not just the sales team get to share in the company success when targets are met. This helps to support a team ethic and culture and generates respect for the sales teams efforts and successes, but also shows non sales staff that you acknowledge their contributions towards those successes.
If this is done as a staff night out, then everyone celebrates success but at the same time if the company fails to meet targets there is also a loss that everyone also shares in.
It sounds obvious, but regular reviews with staff, that take place monthly, quarterly or at worse every 6 months are recommended.
These cost nothing, but provide the business with an opportunity for dedicated time with the employ to review their work, offer constructive feedback, applaud their successes and good work and to discuss and plan the months ahead.
This is one of the best methods to help an employee feel valued.
Learn how your staff think you could improve your company culture
Many of these ideas are likely to work, but in order to iron out the granular details, you should canvas the opinions of your staff. Learn their thoughts on remote or flexible working; ask about whether they’d prefer subsidised gym memberships or in-house fitness classes.
Pay attention to your employees and their wellbeing, and you’ll earn their loyalty.
About the author
Kate Palmer is Associate Director – Advisory at Peninsula and a member of Peninsula’s senior leadership team.