- Company culture
- How can company culture improve your retention strategy and reduce staff turnover?
The last couple of years have seen the world turned completely upside down. One of the many casualties of the pandemic was the job market. Employees were furloughed, some had to change to working from home very quickly, and some lost their jobs altogether.
While we are finally beginning to see the light at the end of the Covid tunnel, the job market is facing yet another crisis. The ‘Great Resignation’ is seeing UK employees leaving their jobs in droves, with 3 out of 4 employees are considering handing in their notice in 2022. A third of those surveyed felt ‘burnt out’ after the pandemic and half reported knowing at least one person who quit their job in 2021.
As an employer, the ‘Great Resignation’ is daunting as filling the role of just one departing employee can cost a small business around £12,000. So what can you do to improve your employee retention? Company culture plays a huge part in the overall happiness and job satisfaction of employees. It doesn’t just affect employee happiness in the workplace either. Leaving your unhappiness at the door when you leave work at the end of the day isn’t easy. Job unhappiness caused by a poor company culture can also lead to burnout, and we all know what can happen when an employee is burnt out… long term sickness and resignation…
Nurturing a positive company culture doesn’t have to be hard and it can be a vital part of your employee retention strategy. So, we’ve taken a look at how different elements of your company culture can really help keep your staff on board and happy to stay and thrive with you.
Do you have strong values, vision and strategy?
Ensuring you have sound company values, with a clear vision and a strong business strategy will provide your employees with a sense of guidance and security in their role. It will also demonstrate what you stand for as a company, ideally attracting employees who are the right fit for your business. Employees who feel aligned with the values of their workplace are more likely to make better business decisions, helping them achieve the company’s vision and strategy – a win-win for both employee and employer.
Whilst simply having clear company values, vision and strategy may feel like enough, you are far more likely to see their positive effects if you advertise them and build them into the heart of everything your company does. Using your values practically to help assess employee performance, for example, can reinforce their importance, and can lead to better engagement. Regularly sharing your vision and strategy, and keeping a dialogue open about what it means for different teams, can help staff gain a better understanding of the company they’re working for, leading to better engagement, motivation, and retention.
Do you have a culture of recognising good performance?
Employees who feel underappreciated can typically be less productive in their work and more likely to leave, and so recognising good performance can be key to staff retention in a small business.
Remember that one employee who did a fantastic job on that project last week? Make sure you tell them. Yes, it’s better to give praise at the time, but you can also build it into other meetings such as a regular one-to-one. If you can, try to recognise the success of hard-working employees in person. It’s not always easy in a hybrid working environment, but it will mean a lot to your employees if they can see the sincerity in your praise.
Can you be flexible about working arrangements?
Can you be the sort of company that accommodates flexible working requests where you can? Can you look at adopting a hybrid working pattern and supporting staff who want to work that way? Staff that feel listened to and cared for are far more likely to stick around.
Do you encourage personal development opportunities in your company?
Another opportunity to increase staff retention is ensuring that your staff are offered a career development path, where this is possible. One study showed that almost 40% of departing employees cited their reason for leaving as a lack of progression opportunities. Unfortunately, not all small companies have the ability to offer promotions to every employee they want to retain. However, there are other ways of demonstrating to your staff that you are committed to their career development, such as training opportunities to build their knowledge in a particular field, or opportunities to work on different projects to build experience.
Try not to wait for your employees to come to you asking for opportunities. You might be thinking, ‘it’s fine, that’s what annual appraisals are for’, but if you wait for their appraisal, it might be too late. Many members of staff make decisions on wanting to leave their job for greener pastures based on what has changed in their personal life, rather than the HR calendar. If you can, try and prioritise open lines of communication with your employees. Ask them what they want to do next, and how you can help them achieve their goals to show them you’re invested in their future.
Do you have a culture of encouraging staff socials?
All work and no play can make for unhappy employees. Holding social events for your staff can significantly improve workplace morale and overall job satisfaction. Whether this be after work drinks at the pub, a meal out at the new restaurant in town or an away day working on team building exercises, providing your staff with an opportunity to socialise outside of their usual work environment is a great way to boost happiness and engagement.
After two years of cancelled Christmas parties and virtual meetings, it’s not surprising that many staff are feeling fed up and disconnected from their colleagues. Rearranging the Christmas party which was cancelled due to Covid (again!) could be the perfect way to bring your team together, reminding them why they love working for your company.
Do you promote equality, diversity and inclusion?
Another of the big reasons for leaving, given by employees during exit interviews, is feeling a real lack of belonging.
Companies with a strong culture of equality, diversity and inclusivity, report far better levels of employee retention than those without, so it is important to make it part of your company culture. But this means going further than treating equality, diversion and inclusion as a ‘tick box’ exercise, and working to embed this culture in every aspect of work.
As we emerge from the pandemic restrictions that have really challenged the way we work, there‘s never been a better time, or a more needed time, to think about your company culture and how you want it to look in the ‘new norm’.
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