Today’s businesses are facing a massive problem: workers are jumping ship at an alarming rate and more frequently changing jobs than ever before. That’s why it is imperative that every business learns how to create a company culture that will help retain the best workers you have, while also making your business better for everyone. By implementing strategies that put the worker first, businesses can learn how to prevent turnover, save money, and retain a productive, satisfied staff.
Employees come and go, and new ones are hired to replace them. However, that turnover costs money. As ERE Media explains, entry-level employees cost 30-50% of their annual salary to be replaced. In other words, it costs $15,000 to replace an entry-level worker making $30,000 per year. In addition, time and resources must be spent searching for a replacement, training the new employee, and overcoming any business lost due to a learning curve—a cost Investopedia puts at $4,700 for a minimum-wage worker alone. These numbers only get higher as the level of the employee increases.
Workplace morale also takes a hit when there is a quick or large turnover. Insiders wonder why so many people are leaving, while outsiders like job applicants question why the job is continually being posted. Plus, the employees left to carry the burden of the departed person can become disgruntled and feel undervalued and unappreciated.
It can even hurt relationships with clients, who might grow concerned about a company’s stability if their primary contact continues to change.
Employee satisfaction is key to retention. This means more than little perks, like Google’s beanbag chairs and free lunches. As Forbes explains, satisfaction comes when a company’s culture centers around qualities like vision, values, beliefs, and habits. Forbes also notes that happy employees are 12% more productive. These happy employees are also more likely to represent their company better and provide improved customer service. That’s why understanding how a company culture can prevent turnover can dramatically improve your workplace and the lives of your employees.
As a manager, you must understand what is best for your business. Begin by making a list of words you would like your employees to use to describe their workplace. Then, find out what words they would actually use. Words like cold, strict, and demanding could be red flags.
You should also take a moment to consider what you want in your employees. Write down a description of your ideal employee to help you pinpoint the right candidate for the open position. For example, core values are a huge part of company culture here at Zimmer Radio & Marketing Group. During the hiring process, we take a lot of care in determining if the interviewee is a match with our values and company culture, regardless of their background and level of experience. We even have our core values hanging on the walls of our buildings to remind us every day of what matters most.
Employees have their own ideas of what matters to them in a workplace. Ask your workers directly what qualities they want to see in the company they work for and the environment they work in. Questions like:
What might help you enjoy your job more?
What could help you improve your productivity?
What have you seen or heard about other companies that you’d like to see in your current work environment?
What is one thing that would make you happier to work here?
This can provide valuable insight and display your desire to hear them out. If you don’t get good feedback, try offering an anonymous survey in which employees can express their feelings or propose ideas without worry of being reprimanded or judged.
Make sure that you keep the dialogue going and take action afterwards. Cutting off communication or not acting upon suggestions shows a disregard for employee needs and wants. It’s also important to ask these questions regularly, as situations in your office may change.
CNN Money reports that 72% of employees value respect from their employers—followed closely by trust, benefits, and pay. But today’s workers also want deeper satisfaction (as the Pew Research Center notes) and a greater work/life balance—which, includes working remotely and vacation time. Millennials also desire more frequent promotions and qualitative work assessments, both of which they say are more important than their salaries.
Creating a company culture that keeps employees satisfied and fulfilled starts by working with them directly. This means keeping the lines of communication open. Let workers know about potential changes, listen to their feedback or suggestions, and show them respect and consideration by implementing brainstorming meetings, suggestion boxes, and surveys.
You can also use team-building exercises to see how teams from different units work together. However, be sure to not force or fake an activity; make it something real, like a charity night or a quiz, with incentives like gift cards for winners. (For a more detailed look at building a culture around teamwork, check out the book Orange Revolution by Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton.)
Lastly, employees spend much of their week in their workspace or offices, so it may be worth spending money on updated décor, free snacks, and fitness classes. Flexible working hours and innovative desk setups (such as a standing desk) should also be considered, so long as they fit into the type of work you do.
The cost of turnover cannot be underestimated. To prevent having to spend time and money on searching and training, employers must be attuned to what today’s employees want and need from their workplaces. By creating a company culture with the worker in mind, managers can keep the talent they want and attract the staff they need.