When organizations are short-staffed, it affects employee satisfaction and happiness, leading to a downward spiral of unhappy employees leaving the business. However, if you get recruitment right from the beginning, you can retain employees AND improve employee satisfaction.
A combination of solid culture and proactive techniques ensures you attract the right people for your company — and that once they sign on, they'll want to stay. Not only will they want to stay, but they will also be satisfied with their job and continue to excel.
How do you accomplish this?
Following these three best practices will improve retention and overall workplace happiness.
3 Best Practices to Improve Employee Retention and Workplace Happiness
1. Build a strong talent foundation
Recruit the right employees from the start. You want to build a robust talent foundation at your organization. This will ensure your employees aren't just getting hired to go through the motions day in and day out but will remain satisfied with your business.
Ensure you are casting your net amongst all groups of candidates, not just one.
Remember you want to RETAIN your employees, so you must ensure you take the recruitment process seriously.
It's important to remember that quality is better than quantity - especially in recruitment. Filling ten open positions quickly doesn't mean you've been successful. Focusing on quality and a cultural fit is the tactic to create a strong talent foundation.
Take a page from the marketing department's book and use quality content to attract potential candidates. Pre-screen your candidates to ensure you only meet with the best. Engage people in your brand to establish trust and recognition, inspiring people to regularly inquire about jobs, not just when you have an opening. That's an efficient use of resources, increasing the chances of choosing the right person.
2. Focus on company culture when recruiting the "perfect candidate" for your business.
Get specific about what a dream applicant will look like, then use that profile to vet people for that position to find employees interested in staying for the long run. Do this for all your openings.
Culture is one of the top three influencers for employee job satisfaction, and employees who are dissatisfied with their company culture are 15 percent more likely to pursue new opportunities.
To help define your company culture more clearly, clarify your mission statement, offline and online. Not only do you want to set your organization apart from the rest, but you want to make sure the interested, proactive candidates are applying to your job. Then identify the characteristics of people who will succeed in your organization.
- Are they friendly?
- Team players?
Flesh out a list of must-have attributes and screen candidates for these qualities. Craft ads that showcase your company's culture and use dynamic language to describe the available positions. Consider using video ads or other mediums to reach wider audiences. Your team may have suggestions for unique recruiting outlets — invite their input during the search.
You can't just rely on the resume to determine if someone would stay at your business or if they would be a good fit for your company. Judge candidates on their:
- And what they uniquely offer to your team
Sometimes the unconventional choices are the best ones.
Once you hire the "perfect" candidate, you want to continue to strengthen employee satisfaction by knowing what excites and empowers them.
3. Be proactive with talent acquisition--and be transparent.
Take control of your job visibility and promotion, employing best practices, so your company gets noticed in the right place, at the right time.
By cultivating a network of active and passive candidates, you build a readily available talent pool you can choose from during hiring frenzies.
During the recruitment process, continue to tweak and refine how you find top candidates that will stay with your business for the long term.
Once you've built a strong talent foundation for your business, you can now shift your focus to supporting the business and keeping engagement high.
How to Heighten Employee Engagement
1. Offer career-development assistance.
If you notice employees who seem dissatisfied or unmotivated, resist the urge to let them go. Talk with them about the problems they're having, and help them identify their core skills. Then encourage them to pursue opportunities that align with their strengths.
These conversations may lead them to another department or a different career path, but your organization will be stronger for it. Not only will these employees find roles in which they can excel, but prioritizing worker happiness will also raise morale throughout the entire company.
2. Base performance management on clear goals.
Employees often become frustrated when they don't receive feedback or understand how their bosses judge performance or are unclear on what's expected of them.
According to Gallup, clarity of expectations is one of the top employee needs in any organization. Meet with employees regularly to review their progress and offer feedback. Ask them how they feel about their performance, and work together to create strategies for how they can improve.
3. Emphasize strengths over weaknesses.
When you're in a high-stress environment, it's easy to dehumanize employees and forget the impact their work experiences have on the rest of their lives. Fixating on people's weaknesses is demoralizing, and it can create negative spirals that cause performance to deteriorate even further.
Instead of focusing on what workers are doing wrong, encourage them to keep up the good work in areas where they show promise.
One Gallup study showed that 61 percent of participants who worked in strengths-focused environments said they were engaged at work. In contrast, only 22 percent of people whose managers emphasized weaknesses said the same.
Give people opportunities to excel by placing them in training or mentorship roles. The increased responsibility will boost their confidence and sense of investment in the job.
4. Practice transparency
If you want employees to be loyal, you must earn their trust. Offer candid updates about the business's performance and growth, and address people's concerns head-on. Share the leadership's vision for the organization, and explain how employees fit into its future.
People want to be part of something greater than themselves, so ensure they know how important they are to the company.
5. Reward inspirational leadership.
Team members who view their leaders as inspirational are happier and more productive. Incentivize outstanding leadership among executives by rewarding those who get their employees fired up through coaching, one-on-one progress discussions, and initiatives that promote excellence and excitement in the unit.
6. Provide regular state-of-the-company updates.
Don't leave employees in the dark when the company experiences a rough patch. Rumors arise when organizations keep secrets, so shut half-truths and inaccuracies down by being open with workers.
They may have ideas about addressing problems or creating a healthier environment. Regular check-ins help prevent anxiety and suspicion from distracting people while on the job. Informed employees are often happy employees.
7. Compensate employees fairly.
People need to earn livable wages. They may support families, pay for school, or have financial priorities that demand a certain salary level. You cannot retain your best people if you don't offer competitive pay and benefits.
As the saying goes, you get what you pay for — primarily when recruiting the best employees.
8. Employee satisfaction and employee retention go hand and hand.
Studies have shown that employees with high job satisfaction are generally more productive, engaged, and loyal to their companies.
Following these tactics will improve retention and the overall workforce environment.
Continue to revise (and revise again!) your recruitment strategies within your organization to engage employees and keep them happy.
Want to learn more about best practices for workplace culture and engagement? Check out our eBook about finding the right cultural fit for your company.