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  • Courtney Sandling

Employee Retention: What's Keeping People Happy

Updated: Nov 2, 2020

We know that a strong people strategy is key to employee retention. Long-term, committed employees benefit your company by providing efficiency, hard work, and stability, as well as contributing to a healthy company culture. We also know that happy employees stay put. 


But how can you keep employees happy?


While it’s tempting to jump straight to discussions of salary, the truth is that much of employee happiness depends on more than a monthly wage. Many of the drivers require earnest and active interest from management in areas such as career support, communication, and working conditions. 


In this article, we’ve compiled a list of six key areas you can focus on to improve employee happiness and bolster long-term employee retention.


Communicate Openly


Many experts agree that communication is a key area to focus on when addressing employee happiness. Clear communication not only helps you establish your company culture; it also improves collaboration, enables employees to feel heard, and promotes transparency—all of which add up to engaged, happy employees. However, research compiled by Glide suggests that “having enough information” and “feeling … their views are being heard” rank among the areas of employee happiness that UK employers fall short.


Communication is particularly important at this moment, when remote working may be leaving employees feeling disconnected and in the dark. Using a variety of platforms and media, having clear communication guidelines, and mixing work with play are all helpful strategies to promote an engaging, communicative company culture.


Be Flexible


Equally important to employees—especially those now juggling remote working with family and other commitments—is the flexibility employers offer them. According to research compiled by the CIPD, employees who enjoy flexible working arrangements have higher levels of job satisfaction and commitment, and lower absence rates.


You can access these employee retention benefits by introducing flexible working arrangements for your employees, such as part-time and term-time working, job-sharing, teleworking, and annual hours. 


Focusing on macro-level outcomes and achievements rather than micro-managing the hours your employee has worked demonstrates trust and builds long-term commitment as well as improving overall performance.


Offer Recognition


Everyone likes to feel appreciated, and regular praise and recognition can have an enormous impact on employee happiness. Research conducted by the performance management consultancy organization Gallup has shown that employees who receive regular recognition for their work are more likely to remain with their employer than those who do not, while managers who regularly praise their reports achieve better organizational results and lower turnover rates.


Recognition can be offered at a number of formal and informal levels, from direct feedback to internal and public announcements. Recognition can take the form of verbal praise, written commendations, celebratory events, and remunerative rewards. Vary the channels and types of recognition for maximum effect and remember to only recognize genuine achievements and successes.


Support A Healthy Work-Life Balance


The switch to working from home in 2020 has had many impacts on employee expectations, but perhaps the biggest impact has been the awareness it has raised about the work-life balance. In fact, The Guardian reports that growing dissatisfaction with the old “normal” of the nine-to-five workday of commuting and open-plan offices, as well as the new “normal” of round-the-clock demands that working-from-home seems to invite.


The best employees today value employers who work actively to promote a healthy work-life balance and long-term employee wellbeing. Offering flexible working arrangements, setting clear boundaries on work time v. private time, providing mental health resources and support, and making space for employee self-care are just a few ways you can keep employees happy and safe.


Make a Long-Term Investment


Employees are more likely to stick with you in the long term if they know you are making a similar long-term commitment to them. Especially in the wake of the pandemic, employees are more conscious than ever of the value of companies that see them as more than disposable assets. 


By showing employees a clear career progression path and an intention to retain, you can help employees feel secure in sticking with you.


Make a commitment to your employees’ careers by offering training opportunities and paid time off for training, a clear progression path mapped to regular progress assessments and evaluations, and a well-developed mentorship program. Both you and your employees will benefit.


Foster a Healthy Company Culture


When working together, communication, flexibility, recognition, support for wellbeing, and investment all add up to a strong company culture of employee care. Company culture can be defined as the personality and working environment of a company, grounded in policies, ethics, values, goals, management styles, and systems of rules, rewards and punishments. 


According to an article published in the leading US business publication Forbes, a healthy company culture can boost employee retention by improving areas like morale, work performance, collaboration and job satisfaction.


Because company culture is established through so many different channels and at so many different organisational levels, it requires sustained and focused effort to implement and maintain. Company leaders need to make sure they have a clearly defined vision and culture in place from the very start and must use top-down strategies to ensure that culture remains in focus. 


It is also important to shape the recruitment strategy in terms of the company culture. Doing so will help you invest in employees who share your values and passions and are committed to a long-term relationship.


Does Your Recruitment Strategy Align?


Investing in employee happiness can help bolster employee retention, improving business outcomes and cutting down on the need for constant, time and resource-consuming recruitment. 


Getting the recruitment process right the first time is an important step in achieving employee satisfaction and strong company culture, as well as making sure your commitment to retention is clear to top candidates. 


To make sure your recruitment strategy supports long-term employee retention, look to a professional recruitment expert with in-depth knowledge of your industry. Redimeer recruitment can help you meet your retention goals.

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