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Attract and Retain Talent by Leading with People First

By Sylvia Flores, Head of Brand + Marketing, Espresa

Industry data shows that most employees will change jobs a dozen times over the course of their career – we suggest that “a dozen” is woefully underestimated based on the future of the workplace and the gig economy, which is now.

In today’s digital society, job searching, and recruitment efforts are more automated than ever before. While this is a benefit to hiring managers, it also means stiffer competition.

So, how do you retain talent in your organization while also attracting new, qualified superstars? Cultivate a dynamic workplace with wellness programs, rewards, and engagement initiatives that make your company the end all be all place to be!

Today, we’re sharing a few top ways to keep the workforce you adore, while recruiting new superstars to join your team.

Ready to learn more? Let’s go!

Invest in People

It’s simple. Your employees are the greatest asset your company has. You could have the most sophisticated software and high-tech systems, but unless you have dedicated and qualified teams behind them, to round out the customer experience, forget it. You’re an empty shell company.

That said, find ways to invest in your employees! Find training programs that help them reach their professional goals and employee resource groups (ERGs) that help build their sense of community and belonging. After all, most of your people spend more time at work than they do with their families. Don’t forget what kind of commitment that is, because you’ve likely made it yourself.

Also, extend your focus outside of people’s desk chairs, cubicles, or home offices. What are some ways you can help your team members reach their personal goals for health, wellness, and work-life balance (or work-life integration, as the new buzz would suggest)? Are there any additional steps you can take to show them you care?

Well-being is where it’s at. Healthy employees make more productive and happy workers. Adding wellness and mindfulness benefits, like fitness and gym classes, in-office and out of office yoga (maybe even goat yoga?!), ClassPass, and Soul-Cycle. Let’s not bring back just dry cleaning and car washes. Can you say boring…

Consider Flexible Everything

Today’s employee isn’t finding an employer straight out of college, sticking with them for 30-plus years and retiring from the same company when they’re 55 with a (viable) pension in place, and a gold watch.

Likewise, they aren’t bound to the traditional 9-to-5, either. In fact, there are multiple studies that suggest that people do their best work during different times of day, based on their personal circadian rhythms.

Sorry folks, that’s built into our DNA, we can’t help it. Sure, there are positions that require stringent hours, such as customer success teams, or technical support. But finding people who do their best work during the times that work with when they operate best (think night owl vs. early morning riser) makes for both happier employees and more loving customer experiences!

And, according to a recent survey, 96% of professionals say they need more flexibility at their current job. So, why not adjust your expectations around when work gets done and meet your people where they’re at, wherever they’re at.

Most companies today are seeking talent wherever they are because the talent pool demands it. For example, just because you are in San Francisco, doesn’t mean that the best person for the job isn’t in Minnesota, Oregon, or Bulgaria for that matter. Plus, dispersed teams are the new norm. The non-office is the new office. Imagine how much you’ll save in office space while reducing your overall carbon footprint?

Praise with Reckless Abandon

Dramatic opening sentence: Did you know that you could lose more than half of your workforce if your employees begin to feel underappreciated? That’s a staggeringly frightening number. And yet we’ve seen it happen, small at first in Corporate America (and beyond) and then in consistent and disturbing waves. The number one reason typically lies in a lack of thoughtful leadership. The second reason is employees being treated like a replaceable “asset” instead of an actual human who has an actual life and feelings. Imagine that.

It doesn’t take much to shine the light on someone who’s put in a great effort on the job, though it can make a major difference in morale. You don’t even need to shell out a ton of money on lavish gifts to signify your appreciation.

Rather, small tokens are great ways to acknowledge when someone goes above and beyond. Strive to give consistent and transparent feedback to help your employees know that you care about their performance and their overall satisfaction with your company. From your interns to your C-Suite, find clever ways to connect with everyone on your payroll to listen to pain points, share ideas for improvement, and express your appreciation for their work. When you’re a company of 20k+ employees, we realize that’s not possible. But you’re a network of humans and together, your interconnected web of awesome people can construct a holistic picture. Especially when you’ve got technology doing the heavy lifting.

Nix Stack Ranking

On one hand, it may seem easiest to rank your employees based on their productivity levels and use that list to determine who receives rewards, bonuses, and other perks.

However, consider the tension and friction that will result.

Known as stack ranking, this process requires managers to categorize employees as either high, average, or poor performers.

The issue? It can fuel resentment and discontent among all workers who don’t fall into one of the top positions. Frankly, if an employee is doing poorly in a position it reflects on one of three things:

    • Poor leadership, or
    • A person who has been hired into the wrong role, or
    • A person who is struggling based on something happening outside of work

Additionally, a person’s job should (literally) not be the reality show of Survivor. It should be a safe space where people come to learn, grow, and thrive while positively and exponentially impacting your business bottom line.

Microsoft actually axed its stack ranking system that encouraged employees to work against each other in a race to the top. When you follow suit, you’ll eliminate a major stressor that could be holding your team members back from their best performance. Plus, you’ll be killing the culture of fear, in favor of the culture of thrive.

We’re Better Together

There are some employees who do their best work in isolation, and we celebrate those people. Yet, they’re still part of an ecosystem and team, where teamwork and productivity go hand-in-hand – even when one is just handing off brilliant work in order for a project to continue rocketing forward.

When you encourage people to collaborate, you also give them opportunities to connect with their peers and find friendships both in and out of the office. Infusing a holistic culture platform that enables your employees to connect in more meaningful ways only further strengthens and emphasizes a culture of joy and connectedness. From peer-to-peer groups that celebrate diversity and inclusion to special interest clubs that meet during non-office hours, give your employees the chance to feel like they’re an important part of something greater.

Lead with People First

The #1 resource in your culture box when you want to retain talent and recruit others to join your team isn’t gift cards or even paychecks (for most). It’s creating a sense of belonging in a company that deeply cares for its people as individuals. Never has there been a time when this has been more important to the generations that are looking to hitch their wagon to an experience, versus a punch-the-clock-paycheck.

Prioritize the morale and wellbeing of your people first and the rest will fall into place. You will become known as a brand that is also a community and there’s no greater advertisement than that.

Espresa enables all your Culture Benefits, including rewards + recognition, employee resource groups, inclusion and diversity, wellbeing + fitness, reimbursements, and corporate events management – all on a single and simple-to-use platform that people love.

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