Employee expectations have changed a lot in the last twenty years or so – people don’t expect to stay in one job for life anymore, so managers can’t get away with the eighties style techniques of demoralizing and overworking their employees under the assumption that they’ll stay put. The length of time employees stay in one job is currently 4.4 years – but millennials (born between 1977-1997) have a completely different attitude to job loyalty than the previous generation, with 91% expecting to stay in a job for less than 3 years.
There are multiple reasons for this – low entry level salaries, a greater variety of potential long term careers, a more experimental approach to finding a job that fits – but the overwhelming influence millennials cite for job hopping is the importance of a “positive culture”, which 88% considered essential.
This directly conflicts with manager’s perceptions that employees leave for more money, which a Gallup study found that 89% of employers believed, compared to 12% of employees stating this as their reason for leaving. The truth is, that in a difficult hiring climate, many employers feel that can browbeat their workers – but if you want to attract and retain top quality talent, this approach won’t yield fruit. So how can you boost productivity, motivate and retain your top-quality talent and prevent employee burnout?
1. Creating a Positive Culture
In a nutshell, a positive culture is one where employees feel that the management care about them. This means getting to know your employees beyond their work output, promoting a healthy work-life balance and following good hiring practices. Talented employees want to work with like-minded employees, and promoting the wrong person can be the death-knell of motivation. And it’s important to remember that working your employees into the ground isn’t the same as keeping them productive – by encouraging work-life balance, you avoid burnout and corporate disengagement.
Likewise, encouraging team bonding is a good way to make your employees feel valued and to promote loyalty – having close working friendships has been found to boost employee satisfaction by 50%. Try having a monthly meeting where you bring attention to employee successes (such as promotions or in-business achievements) as well as any weddings or birthdays – and consider organizing a monthly company night out.
2. Creating a Business Employees Are Proud Of
Ethics have never more important for businesses – not just for consumers, but for employees as well. This links in very strongly with the points above – employees will not be proud to work for a business which treats them like slaves, makes them feel devalued or where their manager knows nothing about them other than their name and work output – but it goes deeper than that, too. By getting involved in corporate philanthropy, you can motivate your employees by making them feel they are doing something that makes a difference, and working for a caring company. One great scheme I’ve encountered is where a company sponsors a disadvantaged child on behalf of each employee who joins – this makes an employee feel they are walking into a caring culture from the very beginning of their career. And putting on charity bake sales or fun runs can be a great way of facilitating that all-important team bonding.
3. Empowering Your Employees
It’s a classic error – you hire an employee because they’re creative, or have a fresh perspective and new ideas – then spend your energies on trying to bend them into old mold of doing things which you specifically hired them to shake up. Motivated, successful employees are ones who are challenged, rewarded, and given scope to make their mark on the organization – don’t micromanage, and don’t automatically assume you know best. Even the most talented entrepreneurs can benefit from collaborative intelligence – so give your employees some free reign, support their decisions in areas in which they have expertise, and help them to develop their talents. Some employees may worry that in an employee builds up their skills too much, they might leave – but the opposite is true. By stifling your employees talents, you give them no choice but to look elsewhere for fulfillment.
By following these simple tips, you can create a thriving body of happy, motivated employees who will stay with your business for the long haul – and what better way to ensure your businesses success?