It’s the Great Resignation, Charlie Brown. At an all-time high, 4.5 million people quit their jobs in November 2021. Now more than ever, employers need to prioritize their workplaces to attract and retain talent.
So if you’re an employer, listen up. The three workplace wonders you should never neglect are culture, employee benefits, and growth opportunities.
1. Workplace culture
How important is your workplace culture to you? But, let’s step back a minute first. What the heck is workplace culture, anyway?
A business’s culture is the heart and soul of the workplace environment. It’s made up of the shared beliefs, values, behaviors, and practices unique to a business. Typically, business owners and management set the tone of the culture through the business’s policies (e.g., employee handbook) and practices (e.g., interdepartmental communication).
Workplace culture isn’t just defined by the parties you throw or the year-end bonuses you hand out. In fact, it’s hard to define it at all. Why? Because there’s so much that goes into culture. So look at it like this: Anything and everything that goes on in your workplace impacts its culture—for better or worse. So, make sure you’re paying attention.
Poor workplace culture leads to drops in morale, engagement, and eventually, retention.
A well-received workplace culture (aka strong, stable, positive, ethical, etc.) can lead to increased engagement, happier employees, and, in turn, a successful business.
Culture fit is a top reason for employee turnover. Just look at your exit interview feedback. Why have employees left? Chances are, they’re not all leaving solely for more money. Some might be leaving because of micromanagement, power struggles, workplace frustrations, etc. And that all stems from the culture you create.
So, how can you make sure you’re not neglecting your organization’s culture? Just look at the countless ways you can improve your workplace culture:
- Give employees autonomy (let them be creative—isn’t that why you hired them?)
- Involve employees in decision-making
- Get feedback from employees on what they want/need
- Provide desired employee benefits
- Set an example you want employees to follow
- Encourage communication and collaboration
- Prioritize work-life balance and flexibility
- Reward and recognize employees
…The list goes on and on.
One last word to the wise: There’s no faster way to get resignation letters from employees than by creating a culture that treats workers like they’re cogs in a wheel.
2. Employee benefits
Working individuals can afford to be picky when it comes to the workplace. If employees don’t like something, poof! They’re on to the next best thing.
We’re in the time of the Great Resignation, after all.
Providing the right employee benefits can work wonders for your workplace. And by right, I don’t mean the benefits that help your business’s bottom line. I mean the benefits that matter the most to the individuals who are receiving them.
Employees crave flexibility and work-life balance. They can go just about anywhere for the typical key healthcare and retirement plans. What do you bring to the table that other employers don’t?
If you want to stand out, consider offering benefits employees want, like:
- Flexible hours or a four-day workweek
- Remote work
- Gym memberships
- Student loan repayments (tax-free up to the IRS limit through 2025!)
- Paid family leave
Notice a theme in the above list? They all impact an employee at a personal level. Flexible hours equal more time for personal obligations or hobbies. Remote work gives more freedom and eliminates that pesky rush-hour commute. Gym memberships let employees alleviate stress. Student loan repayments help employees tackle a high debt they may struggle to cope with having. Paid family leave gives employees the chance to be with loved ones without worrying about lost wages.
Now, I know some businesses simply can’t offer certain benefits (e.g., remote work), and that’s OK. You don’t have to offer every single perk out there to attract and retain employees. However, you should offer a range of benefits that actually resonate with employees.
3. Growth opportunities
Let’s get one thing straight right off the bat: employee development is not synonymous with promotions. You can give employees opportunities for growth without promoting everyone to manager status or doling out hefty employee raises.
Growth opportunities include:
- Leadership roles
- Training and education opportunities
- Job rotation programs
- Clearly outlined career paths
How important is opportunity for growth to employees? Well, 76% of employees want it. Chances are, yours do, too. So whatever opportunities you offer employees, give them the chance to boost their knowledge and skills.
And here’s the beautiful thing about giving employees growth opportunities. It doesn’t just benefit them. Gallup found that businesses that invest in employee development have 11% greater profitability and are twice as likely to retain their employees.
Over the course of my 30+ year entrepreneurial journey, I’ve found there’s a lot of truth to the saying, “Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to.”
And that, folks, is why workplace culture, benefits, and growth opportunities are the three workplace wonders you can’t afford to neglect.