Kimberly Jones is President/CEO at Butler/Till, one of the fastest-growing independent media agencies in the country.
Federal data shows that a record number of people are quitting their jobs. That’s scary news for business leaders, causing them to think long and hard about how to hold onto their own.
No matter how great the jobs you offer or how cool the perks may be, it can be tough to win employee loyalty when other opportunities are regularly knocking at the doors. Yet, there’s a simple way to do it: take some responsibility for their happiness.
The most successful retention strategies are those that make a meaningful difference in people’s lives beyond the office—for instance, providing flexibility that allows time for outside interests and responsibilities, and financial security and support that help pave the way to a successful and comfortable future.
Those may sound like lofty ambitions, but you can bring them to life through real-world initiatives. Here’s a closer look at how these happiness-inducing strategies can encourage employees to stick around by improving their lives.
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Granting ownership in the business empowers employees to think and act like owners.
There are many ways to align employees’ financial interests with those of their employers, such as granting stock options, stock appreciation rights and other long-term incentive plans. Another way to grant employees’ ownership is an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP), a retirement account that works somewhat like a 401(k), except employees receive shares in the company where they work. As owners, employees have a piece of that pie.
Having ownership in their employer incentivizes people by giving them a vested interest in the success of the business and, ultimately, leads to money in their pockets. A recent study shows that ESOP participants have nearly twice the average retirement balance of those employed by companies that are not employee-owned, which goes a long way in strengthening retention.
Ownership is also highly motivating because it creates a more engaged, participatory work culture and compels people to feel like an important part of a bigger goal.
Flexible work environments have become an expectation.
“Hybrid” is no longer a buzzword. Flexible work environments are here to stay. According to a FlexJobs survey of over 4,000 people, 58% of respondents said they’d like to work fully remote post-pandemic, and 39% said they’d like a hybrid model.
Needless to say, remote work doesn’t work for all companies or for all jobs. But going remote during the pandemic proved that technology can make it work for many, keeping teams connected and engaged. Working remotely, or some combination of remote and in-office, gives employees the flexibility they desire, allowing them to skip lengthy, often pricey commutes to spend more time with their families or simply on their own well-being.
There’s another added benefit of work-from-home arrangements: It removes geographical boundaries, untethering people from the office and allowing them to keep their jobs no matter where life takes them. This has also expanded the ability for companies to hire candidates from anywhere, creating a far wider talent pool.
Put your money in your people.
Mentorship and career growth are meaningful. It’s not surprising that one of the most common reasons people quit their job is because they aren’t receiving the training or support they need to get to the next level. Who can blame them? No one wants to be stuck in a dead-end job.
If you haven’t already, step up your mentorship and training efforts to keep your people happy in their current roles and confident in their futures. This includes training managers to be better communicators and stronger leaders. It will improve their job performance and, in turn, job satisfaction, while also providing the support their teams need to feel valued and prepared for both current and future roles.
At Butler/Till, we’ve created a custom-curated learning and development curriculum to help each of our employees live up to his or her highest potential. It’s a way to earn loyalty by expediting career growth. It’s a win all around—supporting our people, our business and our clients.
Keep your people happy.
Providing flexibility, job training and financial support are powerful ways to earn your employees’ loyalty, even in a hyper-competitive job market like we have today. Whether they decide to stay or move on to other opportunities, it feels good to know that your business truly cares about its people and goes the distance to make their lives happier.
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Author: Kimberly Jones, Forbes Councils Member