Building an incredible workplace culture is an artform. Your goal as the leader of your team is to maximize your team’s efficiency while keeping them satisfied with their jobs. While there are many of us out there that enjoy going to work, there are more still that only show up each day because their paycheck (and thus, their lifestyle) is on the line. If you can break through that barrier and cultivate a place of work that your employees are thrilled to be a part of, you are guaranteed to retain your current employees, increase their effectiveness, and draw in more stellar candidates all at once. Here’s how.
The key to retaining your employees is to continuously satisfy their needs. If you can do so, there is no reason for them to ever want to go somewhere else. Your employees will be happier, and as such they will bring their higher selves to work each day. Important things to satisfy include: sufficient pay, opportunities to grow (both in position and skill), recognition, and setting and attitude. Creating a positive focus on job performance can be an excellent way to encourage your employees to do better.
HOT TIP: Track your employee turnover rate. If it is higher than usual, figure out what needs to change.
Find Your Future Leaders
Identify your current employees who show the most potential for growth in the company. These are your “future leaders” and you should tend to them so that they not only stay with your company, but also grow into their full potential. Set up a process to groom these employees for future growth, via a mentorship program or personal care. Make sure to reward the best performers in your company with things that they value. This can take many forms, such as performance bonuses, opportunities to take on more responsibility, or internal recognition. Even a simple but heartfelt “thank you”, written or said in person, can really go a long way to show your employee how much they are appreciated. When you act on these wins it shows your employees that they are appreciated and keeps them focused on the growth opportunity with your company and, consequently, their job performance.
If you decide to look outside your company for future leaders, check out our article on How to Effectively Recruit New Employees.
Forming a culture is easiest when people are not stressing about their jobs. Dig your team out of a rut with some back-to-basics team building. This is key for reducing the stress in your team and helps diffuse their preconceptions about their work. Letting them unwind around the other team members helps build comradery and purpose in their work. Try surprising your team by hiring an ice cream truck at lunch one day or setting up a miniature golf course and cook-out to let everyone unwind. While it might seem like an extraneous expense, it will pay massive dividends in productivity. Or if events are not your style, work with a vendor and get your team some branded merch to use/wear on the job. Insulated lunchboxes with your company logo on them make for a great spontaneous gift to build moral, and they double as free advertising wherever your employees go.
HOT TIP: High quality branded merchandise will be used/worn for much longer than cheap stuff. Maximize your advertising potential with a larger initial investment and it will pay your business back for years to come.
Support Your Employees
Show trust in your team by offering employment opportunities internally before sending them out to external candidates. You never know who might be looking for a change in their work, so post your positions internally first to allow your trusted workers to move up on their own terms. This has the double benefit of both keeping you with workers that you trust while allowing them flexibility in their work. Offering flexible scheduling and overtime opportunities is another great way to meet your employees’ unique needs and can help keep your staff to a reliable core.
Ultimately a strong workplace is all about building a team culture. Make people a part of something bigger and they will feel empowered. Passively, good workplaces show everyone that they are valued and appreciated for both their work and their personality. It cannot be stressed enough — treat your employees like people, not assets. No matter how good the pay is, people are going to stick with the companies that treat them right. Be one of those companies and you will see how effective it can be.