Nowadays many employers complain that they have high employee turnover and keep losing money, particularly when it comes to working with millennials.
While, yes, it’s true, employee turnover is seeing the highest rates in history, it’s maybe time to take a closer look at what employers are doing wrong and how can they change in order to retain talent.
1. Drop the 9 to 5 schedule
Did you know that the 8 hour workday was invented in the 1800’s?
The 8 hour workday, 5 days per week schedule was adopted during the First Industrial Revolution, in order to optimize production.
Most of the people back then were migrating from rural areas to urban settlements and factories were employing the majority of the workforce.
As there are certain work processes that need to be followed in a factory, fixed schedules and shifts were and currently are necessary in order to ensure deliverability.
Compared to 200 years ago, technology has advanced and it has enabled the creation of a variety of new industries and, therefore jobs.
Most of the people now rely heavily on computers and internet to do their job, meaning that, in most cases, they can do their job anytime, anywhere.
Of course, there still are many companies that do need to follow a 9 to 5 schedule in order to best serve their clients or stakeholders, however most certainly, not all of the employees need to follow a 9 to 5 schedule in order to deliver.
Creative roles and roles that do not require client interaction, can deliver without having to follow a strict 8 hour per day schedule.
Particularly creative roles, should be given more flexibility, as they require inspiration in order to deliver.
You cannot ask a person to wake up in the morning, even if they are not a morning person, commute to work and then start creating things at 9am in the morning. It just doesn’t work that way.
Also, not all roles require the same amount of work hours daily.
For example a Sales person will, in most cases, need 8 hours per day to fulfill their duties, from meeting clients, doing market research, updating the data base, developing the pipeline etc.
On the other hand, a junior accountant, working for a small-sized company, will never be able to fill 8 or 9 hours per day for 5 days per week, unless he or she will be investing most of their time in reading, which can, either way, be done from home.
2. Consider remote work
Remote work is something that employees nowadays value more than anything.
Being able to save time, by avoiding the commute, is priceless.
Depending on the city, people commute an average of 1.5 hours per day.
Using those 1.5 hours to take care of a personal matter, seeing a doctor, resting, spending time with the family etc. can make a difference between a happy or unhappy employee.
If you are a job seeker looking a remote jobs check out FlexJobs, the largest website for remote and work from home jobs.
3. Minimize the number of internal meetings
Meetings, if done properly, meaning brief and straight to the point, are the key to employee engagement and success.
The purpose of any meeting is for updates and to get out of it with a plan that is clear for everyone.
If a meeting fails to tick these 2 main requirements, then it is a failed meeting. A failed meeting means a waste of time and money.
I have participated in meetings where the manager systematically put people down in front of everybody, where the manager kept on bragging about themselves, where the manager asked for a brainstorming meeting but didn’t accept or even consider any suggestion and even meetings where the line manager was trying to turn the team against the owner of the company.
I have also witnessed a manager complaining to the team that their efficiency dropped, not taking into consideration that the team have spent an average of 20 hours per week in internal meetings with the said manager, for the past 3 weeks.
It’s hard to stay motivated and positive when such things happen to you as an employee.
4. Put more effort into hiring good managers
Managers can make or break a company.
A bad manager will never be able to make people stay, affecting directly the employee turnover and, therefore losing money for the company.
Employers should invest more time into researching the perfect candidate to manage a team and run one on one meetings with the team members every once in a while, requesting feedback about the Team Manager, feedback that should stay anonymous.
5. Ditch the strict dress code
While certain jobs do require a strict dress code or even a uniform, most jobs don’t.
Employers, if you are reading this, please stop forcing people to wear a suit when coming to the office.
People can still look good and professional even if they are not wearing a full suit.
If your employees are dealing with clients and you want them to look professional, a pair of dark jeans and a shirt will do, I promise.
6. Offer feedback
I’ve seen it often that an employer hires someone after which they absolutely forget to offer feedback.
An employee should know if what they are doing is right, they need to feel appreciated for their achievements and, as well, they need to know what they are doing wrong so that they correct it.
Employment is a relationship.
People are spending more time at work than with their family. They can’t possibly stay motivated if they do not feel appreciated.
At the same time, when offering constructive criticism, in most cases employees will try to make things better and over deliver.
I’ve seen people getting laid off for not delivering without having received any prior feedback.
To put this into perspective, it’s the same as if your spouse would tell you they want a divorce, without having previously talked about things that are not working or how and why their expectations are not met.
7. Start listening
Listening is a virtue and it has been long forgotten, especially in small sized companies.
Many managers have the “I know it all” mentality, minimizing their chances of retaining talent.
Realistically speaking, it’s impossible for someone to be an expert at running a business, marketing, accounting, HR, Sales and every other aspect needed to run a successful business.
Business owners need to understand that if they hire specialists, they need to let them do their job because they know better.
Listening to people working for you, might actually give you some good ideas that will maybe help you save money, make money or grow your business.
If you are not able to handle other people taking decisions and showing you how things need to be done, do not hire senior people. It is a waste of their talent and they will never settle in such a work environment.
8. Trust more
Trust is a two way street and many employers fail to understand this.
If you don’t trust your employees to take decisions and to speak out, how do you expect them to trust you?
As Ernest Hemingway once said
“The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.”
9. Don’t bother people during their free time if it’s not urgent
With so many communication channels available these days, it’s has become very common for employers to feel free to send a whatsapp during the weekend with something that can surely wait until Monday. Not cool.
10. Create a real company culture
Company culture means more than a foosball table and free beverages during working hours.
Company culture means walking the walk not just talking the talk.
It means having values and a strong vision and mission and running the company according to these. It means creating a work environment where these values are present in each and every aspect and decision that you will be taking.
Many people think about Google when hearing company culture and, indeed, Google is a great example of how the company culture can skyrocket your company’s success.
In his book, Work Rules!, Laszlo Bock, the former Senior Vice President of People Operations at Google, says:
“All it takes is a belief that people are fundamentally good—and enough courage to treat your people like owners instead of machines. Machines do their jobs; owners do whatever is needed to make their companies and teams successful.”
So, before blaming millennials for job hopping, take a look in the mirror and ask yourself “Am I providing a good work environment where people can thrive and where they feel appreciated?”
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