A large part of managing employee turnover and retention comes down to communication. Living in the “gig economy” where increasingly businesses hire temporary and freelance workers, employees expect to bounce from job to job, and realize they may be employed at the same company for only a year or two. With these new expectations, and a war for experienced talent continuing to brew, keeping quality employees can sometimes feel like swimming upstream against a harsh current. It is well documented that retaining a productive employee is much more efficient than rehiring and retraining a replacement employee which is costly, takes time, and may not work out.
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Of course, retention is a complex issue. People leave employment for many reasons such as retirement, moving to another city, caring for family members, as well as quitting for new opportunities. Managing retention requires the collection of metrics, and focus on the areas that we can control, especially understanding why employees quit. Remember that most people don’t quit their jobs, they quit their boss. So, what can we do to retain quality employees?
Well, a large part of that is keeping an open line of communication and keeping your employees involved and invested in the company. Here are some ideas to help you do just that:
An essential part of keeping communication open is maintaining a relationship of trust between all levels of your company. From the interns bustling around to upper management, keeping a healthy sense of good will and understanding between employees can make all the difference in communication.
So, what are some good ways to build trust within your company? A good step would be to encourage employees to voice any questions or concerns they have, and to ensure that whatever answer they receive does not result in negative feedback.
At CATMEDIA, we rely heavily on trust between employees, and if there is ever a breakdown in trust, particularly on a professional level, our leadership strongly suggests that we address the issue head on. Should someone lose trust in a colleague to do her or his job, it is imperative that the relationship be mended. Sometimes this will require mediation, but it is always better to encourage employees to work toward understanding each other, and to keep issues out in the open when it comes to professional relationships.
If employees can trust each other enough to share information, then keeping everyone in the loop on a project or an account suddenly becomes a much simpler task.
People want to stay where they feel they belong, and while feeling trusted provides some sense of belonging, it isn’t the only part. Connectivity between employees is the key to building community at work. As a tool, employee engagement is often used for this purpose. While I don’t know anybody who would knock the idea of getting drinks at happy hour, there are other ways to promote community in the office, and enforce a sense of belonging for your employees.
Setting up a small committee dedicated to organizing employee engagement events can lead to some fun ways for your co-workers to socialize, like bowling or trivia night. The more everyone bonds, the more they are going to feel included and satisfied with their job. On a utilitarian level, this also increases communication within the company. With stronger interpersonal relationships and an established rapport, people will feel more comfortable sharing and communicating with their co-workers.
Building a Sense of Purpose
Community and trust sound like quite the duo, but if you are looking for a comprehensive way to retain employees and promote internal communication, there is still one thing left to do. For large portions of workers in all age categories a key to keeping them in the loop is having a sense of purpose at work.
With life as short and fleeting as it is, nobody wants to be left thinking that they are going to waste the majority of it sitting at a desk just trying to get a paycheck. Nurturing a sense of purpose is a win-win: employees want to be part of an overall purpose and employers want engaged employees.
So at the next staff meeting, have a discussion about the company’s mission statement, about why everyone’s work matters, and what you are all working towards. An open yet guided conversation on this subject can go a long way in building or enforcing a sense of purpose among your co-workers who could be struggling with this issue.
Communication and retention are directly linked, and work in tandem to better the workplace for everyone. Employee engagement can mean more than happy hour and birthday parties. A comprehensive approach like the one outlined above will help bolster trust, community, and a feeling of purpose among employees at your company. The results will be positive steps towards a communicative culture, and one where people want to stay and grow with the company.
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CATMEDIA is an award-winning Inc. 500 company based in Atlanta, Georgia. Founded in 1997, the company specializes in advertising, creative services, media production, program management, training, and human resource management. As a Women Owned Small Business (WOSB), CATMEDIA provides world-class customer service and innovative solutions to government and commercial clients. Current CATMEDIA clients include Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Office of Personnel Management (OPM), and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).