I’m often asked in my role where I see the future of recruitment and my response is always the same, ‘before we can look at recruitment, we need to solve retention otherwise we are simply refilling a leaky bucket’.
So, how do we solve retention? The million-dollar question and one I hope to guide you on in a series of articles over the next few weeks.
Let me begin with this; you need a people-centric workplace.
A people-centric workplace is one that revolves around its people and considers individual needs.
It may feel like we have put the pandemic behind us, but COVID-19 has forced many people to find and harness resilience and cope with varying levels, and reasons, for stress for a long time.
Humans aren’t built to handle these emotions for a sustained period and the ongoing interruptions to every aspect of their lives; work, family, education, money and future planning has taken its toll.
Employees have been forced to prioritise personal lives, self-preservation and self-care over performance and professional drive.
The result of this is apathy.
As employees become disheartened and burnout in their roles, business leaders grapple with increasing demands for results, all the while consumer expectations rise, and there we have the perfect storm.
This is where businesses need to rethink their workplaces and the environment. Employers will need to empower their teams, listen to their employees, respect their personal and professional lives and build a caring culture where employees enjoy meaningful work.
Employers who do this well will see value in the holistic approach they have, caring about the whole employee including physical health, mental and emotional support and financial wellness.
Employees will demonstrate brand loyalty, an open and honest relationship with their peers and superiors and find a sense of belonging.
- Work smarter not harder – 9 to 5, or 8 to 6 in agency, is a relic of the past. Humans have their own biological ‘prime time’. Mine is 11 – 9, my husbands is 6 – 4. Harness your team’s energy when its best used, not because Henry Ford declared that we should work those hours, nearly 100 years ago…
- Remote working doesn’t mean not working – as I type this our Group CEO is working in Ibiza, our MD is working on the train to Cambridge and I am working from my kitchen table having saved myself a 4-hour commute into London and back. We are all free from distractions such as ‘oh, Nicola can I just ask you….’, our meetings are over teams and timed so they don’t drag on and I our clients couldn’t care less where we are as long as we are delivering. And that’s the point. Let your team work when, where and how they see fit, as long as they are meeting deadlines with quality work and you trust them, then let them do their thing.
- Prioritise health and happiness – when you start showing you are taking care of yourself, the team will follow. Encourage lunch breaks, gym membership, healthy food options, make the space light and the furniture comfortable and pay sick days. No one wants someone coming in sick because they can’t afford to lose the day’s salary. When you show you care about an employees ‘whole wellbeing’ you inadvertently create a ‘safe space’ that makes people feel valued, respected and cared for. According to Forbes, happy sales people raised their sales by 37%.
- Open dialogue – when you create an environment that is a ‘safe space’ you will be astounded at the ideas that flow. This isn’t easy to change overnight but using the tool of ‘gaming’ and ‘role play’ it can inadvertently help to give team members and a time and space to ‘act’ out their true feelings by removing hierarchy.
- Team goals – When a team is working together for a common goal it encourages collaboration, drives performance and efficiencies and achieving a common goal is empowering and motivating.
- Learning and development – If an employee feels that their growth is stagnant or they have hit the ‘glass ceiling’ then they will quickly have their heads turned. If you have someone who has ambitions for growth them you should support that. If you don’t know what they want, then refer to point 4.
More than ever employers need to focus on their people if they want to retain the best talent in the business. They need to provide support, respect, compassion and wellness in every area of their lives, physical, mental, emotional and financial.