What Really Keeps The Best Employees At Their Companies?
Nap rooms, video game consoles, ping-pong tables — that’s what employees want these days, right? Not exactly.
Despite what a walk through some startup offices might lead you to believe, workers aren’t liable to fall in love with a company over a handful of gimmicks and perks. People today know better than to be won over by small stuff. Sure, everyone appreciates an attractive office and a stocked fridge. But the things that really matter when it comes to sticking with an employer for a long time go deeper than decorations.
Thanks to record low unemployment, maximizing employee retention is more important for companies than ever. Keeping the best employees dedicated to your company means getting at the heart of what people really value in an employer. If you’re hoping to keep your talent around as long as possible, make sure you’re offering:
1. Democratic Values
Every employee wants to feel her voice is heard and her opinion is valued. Companies that neglect workers’ concerns are bound to lose their respect as well. While it’s important to establish an overall culture of listening and input, one easy place to start is with meetings.
Make sure your meetings embody the same democracy you’re hoping to instill across your whole company. Ask around before meetings to get an understanding of what’s on people’s minds. While meetings are always valuable opportunities for getting high-level directives across, they’re also great for listening to your team’s needs. Meetings like these aren’t just better for morale — they can also be more productive.
2. A Common Cause
No one wants to show up at a job five days a week and feel she’s not making a difference. People want to work for companies that are actively fulfilling a mission and changing the world for the better along the way. Sixty-two percent of Millennials specifically want to work for a company that makes a positive impact on the world — more than the percentage who want a large salary.
When a large portion of the workforce starts valuing anything over salary, it’s time to take notice. Make sure each of your employees understands her place in the larger company mission, and make sure your company’s mission is one people can get on board with. Have a clear goal you’re striving toward and equally clear ways of making that goal a reality.
3. The Freedom to Fail
Employees want to be creative, yet 80 percent feel pressured to focus on productivity while on the job. Though worker productivity is critically important, creative thinkers can fundamentally shift the way you do business for the better. Discouraging creativity not only pushes people away, but it also hurts on-the-job innovation.
The best way to fuel creativity on the job is to encourage employees to pursue projects they care about and, most importantly, let them know it’s OK to fail. Failure allows people to assess what they did wrong and improve on their work the next time around. People want to feel like they can express themselves on the job, and encouraging creativity is a great way to promote that feeling.
4. A Culture of Improvement
Workers should feel they’re getting just as much out of their job as they’re putting in — and not just in terms of salary. A job should set employees up for success in the future. By encouraging the constant development of their workforce, companies are not only showing their employees that they care, but they’re also improving the quality of the team in the process.
Develop an understanding of what your employees think would benefit them most: getting trained in certain skills? Going to conferences? Having access to specific software? Give them the opportunities you or your business can provide for personal and professional development. No one wants to leave a company that consistently has her best interests at heart.
5. Work-Life Balance
Nearly two-thirds of American workers don’t feel they have the optimal level of work-life balance. With numbers like that, don’t be surprised if your employees start looking for other options that offer them a higher quality of life. If you want to keep your employees around, make sure your policies work with their personal lives as well.
Things like flexible schedules or increased PTO can go a long way toward increasing work-life balance among employees. Allowing your workers to build their schedules around what works best for them not only guarantees higher personal satisfaction, but it also means they’ll be working exactly when and how they prefer. Happiness off the job often translates to happiness on the job.
Recruiting is more cutthroat and expensive than ever, and retaining your best employees means having to recruit as rarely as possible. By taking even small steps to make your workplace better, you can ensure your top talent sticks around for the long run.This article originally appeared here.