GL Hoffman, author of the highly successful blog What Would Dad Say, and one of the first executive team members of JobDig, where job seekers learn to “dig their jobs,” recently sent me several photos of a typical summer morning at his company. The photos were of his employees competing in crazy competitions at 9am. A pregnant woman rowing a boat across the floor had just won for her team. It was all part of an Olympic-themed sales competition that he and his two fellow business leaders, Paul Moquist, the VP of Sales, and Toby Dayton, the President/CEO, came up with as a way to have fun and inspire their team to achieve their goal. goals.
For many managers, the mere idea of holding weekly events during the best working hours seems ridiculous. Not to mention they acted like kids. So when I asked GL why they actually encouraged this activity when most others would shun it, he simply said, “I only like working in places that are fun – and so are the people we hire.” GL, Paul and Toby succeed where many other companies fail. With 90% of their team under the age of 30, these three executives have a strong understanding of the importance of building a ‘company culture club’ for talent development and retention, and have the stats to to prove that. Turnover is low, productivity is high and JobDig.com is a place where young professionals feel they can really learn and grow. While further questioning of GL proved that the executive team understands the strengths (tech savvy, multitaskers) AND weaknesses (unfamiliar with company protocol and not trained in the best ways to communicate by company standards) of Gen Y professionals, he gives a simple answer as to why, unlike many other frustrated managers of young talent, they can get this generation to accept criticism, work hard, be resourceful and push to exceed expectations: “They trust us.”
If you’re an HR manager or hiring manager, you know all about the challenges of keeping employees happy today. You cannot escape the extensive discussions surrounding the looming shortage of talent (no workers). Meanwhile, workers, especially the younger ones, are job jumping more than ever. And let’s not forget that things like technology and generational differences make employees even more dissatisfied.
So, how do you get past this and get your people to stay? Yep, that’s the million dollar question – literally. With the cost of sales skyrocketing, and the loss of engagement comes with additional costs (increased use of sick/personal time, excessive use of company resources to deliver products/services, and a decline in productivity due to dissatisfaction with work, just to name a few), finding ways to keep people happy should be every business leader’s obsession. Unfortunately, a short-sighted approach to improving business results over the past two decades has led to the breakdown of the relationship between employee and employer. And now it’s coming back to bite corporate America in the you-know-what.
Good news, retaining your employees doesn’t require black magic or a lot of money. If you want to retain your talent, you must assess your company’s corporate culture on four points and adjust accordingly. It’s not a quick fix. Creating an effective corporate culture requires some effort, but a focused change of approach and some well-planned initiatives on your part can yield impressive results in a reasonable amount of time. So if you’re ready to put in the effort, here are the elements to address:
1) Goals and governance. Forget the mission statement, what is your company trying to achieve on a daily basis and what values and approaches to business do you support to achieve those goals? It’s time to clarify how you operate – and stick to it! If you pride yourself on quality, define the process each employee should consider when delivering your definition of quality. Share with employees the thoughts that shape your approach to business and they will follow your example. Better yet, give concrete examples of how this approach benefits them personally, and you’ll see better results. Award and recognition programs that support your ideals, as well as corporate policies and philanthropies speak volumes. As the saying goes, ‘actions speak louder than words’. A good example is Northeast Delta Dental. President, Tom Raffio, VP of HR, Connie Roy-Czyzowski, and the rest of the company’s executive team have created a corporate culture that is outlined on their website that clearly shows visitors what they stand for. To me, a company that can list awards it has won for being a good employer and that has a formal policy to evaluate the efforts of its board members means that the management team is making a reasonable effort to satisfy its employees.
2) Physical environment. If you want employees to wake up each morning excited to get to work for you, create a space worth going to. Research your employees and determine what would make the experience of coming to the office more enjoyable. The average American spends 1/3 of his day at work. What can you do with your employees’ physical environment to make them feel more inspired and positive? And if you can’t afford to create a nicer office, consider having your people work somewhere else that inspires them (cafe, home office, etc.) from time to time so that they can re-energize. can gain from this environment.
3) Advantages and Benefits. You don’t have to offer every perk under the sun, but you do need to get more creative when it comes to figuring out what your employees would benefit from outside of work to make their attitudes about work that much better. Look beyond the basics and ask the question: How can working at our company support an employee’s personal life goals? I just read a new book called “The Dream Manager” by bestselling author Matthew Kelly, which tells the fictional story of a cleaning company with a 400% turnover. The manager who has to solve the problem comes up with the concept of hiring a Dream Manager for his employees. A fascinating concept, and well worth reading. In the meantime, why not ask your employees directly what’s important to them in their personal lives, and then find ways to provide benefits that can help them achieve those aspirations? Today, medical benefits, 401Ks, and vacation time are given. It’s time to identify several unique, life-changing benefits that can serve as your company’s personal loyalty builders. For example, young professionals usually don’t let homeownership or starting families hold them back. Two characteristics of the average Gen Y employee are that they are just starting out financially and that they prioritize fun. I know a Generation Y employer who provides a financial planner on site one day a month and encourages his younger employees to schedule appointments with the planner to learn how to create a plan to become financially independent. With the average college graduate accruing over $17,000 in debt and as many as 4 out of 5 college graduates having to move home because they can’t afford to live on their own, helping these workers become financially fit is powerful. become. Another company I know that employs a large percentage of Gen Y has started a monthly after-work social where it foots the bill for a single round of drinks and some snacks. The real highlight, however, is the lottery that pays the winner’s rent for the month. A check is drawn up and sent directly to their landlord to ensure that the money is used as intended. An inventive perk that boosts footfall and gives management the chance to socialize and connect more personally with staff – something Generation Y working people have said are very important to them in countless professional surveys.
4) Recruitment & Development. Building a corporate culture club is EVERYONE’s job at your company. Ask yourself these questions: Do you have a hiring process that involves team members from all key areas of your business? Do the people tapped for interviewing candidates know how to interview effectively? Are your managers and employees good at communicating and coaching each other? Do they know how to assess and develop each other’s skills? And above all, are you a strong motivator who knows how to recognize and cultivate employees? At Jellyvision, the interactive media company best known for the “You Don’t Know Jack” online game show, President Amanda Lannert takes hiring and development so seriously that she makes it one of her top priorities. “Every time we add someone to our workforce, we make sure that he or she really fits our company culture. We just can’t afford to miss the point and risk bringing in someone who isn’t committed feels. with the rest of the team.” An extensive, competitive hiring process ensures that the right candidate is selected for Jellyvision and staff learn how to identify who would work best in their culture. This isn’t just a recruiting feature – it’s a professional development opportunity for the workforce. A company that creates opportunities to mentor employees and develops the professional skills of the staff well is a company worth staying. Unfortunately, ask the average manager today if they have the time and ability to mentor their people and you’ll get a resounding “No!” In fact, a recent survey found that 60% of managers said the most difficult part of their job was creating professional development opportunities for their staff. Lack of time and knowledge of how best to do this within their organization were two of the reasons they said caused this challenge. The good news is that this can actually be outsourced. Yes, outsourced. Some managers just don’t have what it takes to be good mentors, but they are still good at many other aspects of their job. The answer is to find workplace consultants and HR specialists who can fill the mentoring void.
In short, if you want employees to stay, you need to create a culture that enriches their lives in ways that today’s workforce has not yet seen. Take the bold step to revitalize the employee-employer relationship by following the points above and you will see some measurable results.