by Michele Bailey, the ForbesBooks author of “The Currency Of Gratitude: Turning Small Gestures Into Powerful Business Results“
The job quitting isn’t stopping: a record 4.3 million workers left their jobs in August – a milestone that followed the April landmark of 4 million Americans exiting their companies.
Some people are leaving their jobs because the COVID-19 pandemic caused them to reconsider how much their companies value them. In that context, whether it’s a matter of pay, work demands, work-from-home flexibility, or overall culture, it’s important that businesses seeking stability and growth know how they can retain their best employees.
With over 10 million employment vacancies, some people are leaving because they are confident they can find a better job, a better fit in line with the new perspective the pandemic has given them. So at this point, a good number of jilted employers should be asking themselves, ‘Why are talented people leaving my company? What can I do to change that, regain stability and grow?’
The answer is often looking back in the mirror at them, and in how they treat people more as laborers than rare gems who are special – people who can make the workplace special. It’s fixable, but it’s all about putting your employees first.
In terms of retaining top employees, companies and their leaders should think about these points:
Know the cost of replacing good employees.
One report shows that it costs 33% of a worker’s annual salary to hire a replacement if that worker leaves. Clearly, retention and development of existing employees makes the most sense if they are the right fit.
Encourage professional development.
Forward-thinking, growth-oriented companies hire talented people with the capability of taking on bigger responsibilities. Professional development provides the opportunity for steps up in their career path. Employees who do not see a clear path are at risk of leaving.
Build culture by acknowledging the whole person.
Work-life balance has gotten a lot of attention during the pandemic, but good leadership ensures that balance is in place by going the extra mile to know employees, and to listen to their concerns, whether personal or professional. The reality is that all of us bring our personal selves to work and our work selves home with us. When something is going well or poorly in either space, it tends to seep into our attitudes and behavior in the other. When you address the overall wellness of your people as part of your business mandate, you have people well-aligned and rowing in the same direction.
Create an army of brand ambassadors by empowering your employees.
Employees who feel their voices are heard at work are nearly five times (4.6) more likely to feel empowered to perform their best at work. Employees who use their strengths every day are six times more likely to be engaged at work, 8 percent more productive, and 15 percent less likely to leave their jobs. Many businesses tout themselves as collaborative workplaces with great cultures; however, worker frustration suggests that the reality is otherwise. A good culture is a place where they’re freed to flourish, energized, and proud to represent the brand to clients.
Reward and recognize.
Showing gratitude to your workforce is imperative to having a successful business. Eventually people want you to show them the money – and you must if you truly value them – but frequent shows of gratitude in any form should be consistent and timely.
We can hold onto our talent and keep our people engaged, by creating an environment where employees become emotionally connected through gratitude to company leadership, to each other, and to the company’s purpose.
Michele Bailey is the ForbesBooks author of “The Currency Of Gratitude: Turning Small Gestures Into Powerful Business Results“, and founder/CEO of The Blazing Group, a brand and culture agency born of her strategy-first approach to business and desire to enhance employee wellness in pursuit of business goals. She is also the founder of My Big Idea®, a mentoring program designed to propel individuals toward their personal and professional goals.