The pandemic changed the face and the culture of business. Along with this, hiring practices and office cultures were flipped on their ears. Employers must find ways to attract new hires and keep their current employees happy and fulfilled. While a good place to start, strategies such as adding more employee benefits and increasing pay are not enough.
To compete, workplaces need to be employers of choice, where everyone wants to work. And in a climate where there is a considerable transformation in business culture and structure, along with high employee turnover, the answer is clear.
Your company needs to be irresistible.
Give your business heart and soul
What is the big deal about being irresistible?
Research shows that being irresistible helps you outperform the competition in employee retention, better customer service, and long-term profitability. To be irresistible and to give your business heart and soul, surround your employees with the right mix of elements like the work itself, good leadership, opportunities for growth, a positive work environment, and trust.
Work that has value
Employees want to contribute to something larger than themselves. What employees value in work may vary, so it's important to give them room to help contribute to and create space for differences in perspectives by:
- Offering autonomy. When you give employees independence, or the freedom to "just be," they can establish their work style within workplace boundaries and culture. Giving autonomy can spark new ways of thinking and working—and as a leader, you need to encourage and harness this individualism.
- Putting people into empowered teams. This enables employees to interact directly with one another and form close relationships so they can develop trust, inclusivity, and mutual respect. This is good for a business's bottom line and accommodates flexibility based on how the team prefers to work together and operate.
Leadership has a direct impact on the workplace culture. A seemingly weak leader or manager can be a barrier to good work. Being a strong leader takes self-awareness and practice, so to ensure you are an effective leader:
- Give clear and transparent goals. Set realistic priorities and objectives, and ensure you are transparent about them. This will generate clear and open communication surrounding those goals and help to instill trust in your team.
- Be a positive mentor. Employee mentorship and coaching are a must. Give frequent and intentional feedback, check-ins, and professional development to keep employees motivated and aligned with the company's goals all year round. Research finds that companies with positive leaders and a high employee recognition culture have a 31% lower voluntary turnover rate.
- Never stop learning. No one ever stops learning, and especially as a leader, you need to invest in the development of yourself, both professionally and personally. If your company offers access to training, courses, and research, take advantage of it. A fun fact: companies that provide leadership development enjoy 37% more revenue per employee.
Employees want to grow and advance. One of the best ways to address this is to offer training and support through formal means, like courses and training programs, and informal means, such as check-ins and offering help when needed. You can also give employees the freedom to try new things in their role (or move to a completely different position, if appropriate), have them direct their own learning, and tie learning to cross-training and problem-solving.
Positive work environment
Employees do their best work when they feel free to be themselves. Offer a flexible and inclusive workplace if you want your employees to be engaged at work. Since employees have fast-paced and busy lives, offering the ability to flex and shape their schedules is a major way of making your workplace irresistible.
Give employees flexibility regarding what hours/days they work and how to approach their assignments. Also, give them recognition for their work, and make sure your workplace is humanistic (and helps employees fit their work into their lives) by making it fair, inclusive, and diverse—teams with inclusive cultures outperform others by 80%.
When you cultivate your leadership skills, it pays off in the form of trust. And this trust leads to your company's success. How can you instill trust?
- Communicate a sense of mission and purpose. When companies define success through the eyes of those they serve, your employees take this to heart and use this to further drive success.
- Act with transparency. Don't hide the truth about your company from your employees. For example, you must inform your employees if there are bad quarterly earnings or a security/data breach. It will pay off in the long run.
- Focus on inspiration. Inspire them with your words and actions. Talk about the future, tell your company's story, and share the vision and what it means. Ask your employees to share what the vision means to them as well. They will get on board and give you their best if they believe in your vision.
Be the place everyone wants to work
You don't want to be the business that always scrambles to fill open positions—you want to be the business where everyone wants to work. So take the initiative and begin building up the different aspects of your business—ask yourself if you’re meeting expectations or letting employees down, and take action. The best, most successful companies treat themselves as constant works-in-progress, so there is never a time when you shouldn’t be thinking about how you might improve your employee’s experience. The more committed you are to it, the better off your company—and your employees—will be.