Employer Branding

5 Ways to Raise Retention with Workplace Atmosphere

HR and recruiting departments know the value of retaining an employee vs. finding a new one. However, many companies focus more on improving their recruiting measures than they do on keeping the employees they already have.

Unfortunately, there are many problems in the workplace that can contribute to employee turnover. Up to 80 percent of workplace accidents are attributed to stress, as are work-related doctor’s visits. Also, there’s a huge problem with stress leading to mental illness and more physical problems.

Declining physical health and absenteeism lead to lower productivity and disengagement. Stress is associated with 50 percent of people choosing to quit their jobs voluntarily, which costs companies up to 20 percent of that employee’s salary.

As a direct result of this negative workplace culture, employees are willing to take a pay cut for a more comfortable job. In fact, 42 percent of respondents to an Entrepreneur study said they would take a more comfortable job, even if it paid up to 10 percent less than what they originally made.

If you’re looking to improve retention rates in your organization, the solution is probably to look inward, not outward. A better workplace culture can raise retention rates and reduce employee turnover. Here are some things you can do.

1. Make your office more comfortable

Is your office a place where employees want to spend their time? Are your chairs and desks ergonomic? Does your cubicle-style setup create a feeling of isolation and inhibit creativity? Does the refrigerator in the break room need to be replaced? Does that HVAC unit work properly? Are the lights too bright or too dim?

Much of your employees’ comfort can be handled by simply correcting some basic design principles. It’s hard for an employee to feel emotionally comfortable in an office where they’re physically uncomfortable.

2. Add flexibility

Flexible working arrangements are all the rage nowadays. A report entitled Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) revealed that 55 percent of people rate flexibility in their working arrangements as very important for job satisfaction.

Don’t be a stickler on an employee’s exact schedule. If someone needs two hours off in the morning so they can go to their child’s school program, allow them to make up that time later. According to the SHRM report, 38 percent of people say they stick with their jobs solely because of greater flexibility at work.

3. Create a judgment-free zone

Employees should be held responsible for their actions, but they shouldn’t feel like they’re incompetent because they made a mistake. You can lighten the mood in the office so that it promotes teamwork, and isn’t designed to single out individuals.

A big part of this is accepting feedback and consistently working towards a brighter future within your organization. Recognize that an employee’s mistake may not be entirely their fault. Learn from the incident and improve your culture accordingly.

4. Promote Group Learning

Progression in the workforce is only achieved with hands-on learning, and employees tend to respond better to learning opportunities in group settings. Co-workers can strive for both individual and company-wide goals as a team, learning valuable lessons about their strong points and team capabilities.

Help employees see that their successes are often rooted on the wings of others. Implement training on the power of teamwork, and facilitate growth opportunities when possible. This helps employees see the big picture, which often leads to greater job satisfaction.

5. Develop equality

Unfortunately, equality isn’t always a given in the workplace. There are countless opportunities for discrimination, by executives and employees. Nothing will make an employee feel less comfortable than a feeling of disrespect or mistreatment at work.

Recruiters should always be concerned about discrimination based on age, race, sex, and other factors. It’s important to institute a strict non-discrimination policy, and enforce those rules. Promotions shouldn’t be withheld because of a cultural difference, and employees should always encourage others. Professionalism, respect, and support will create a culture people want to work in.

About the author: Larry Alton is an independent business consultant specializing in social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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