High employee turnover is one of the most costly issues a business can face. To make matters worse, getting rid of it is seemingly becoming more and more difficult. Nowadays, regardless of what you might think, it’s not all about the money for employees. This sounds like good news, but it also means that just bumping everyone’s salaries a little bit won’t solve the problem and keep them at your company. At least not in the long run.
Instead, it’s all about employee engagement. If your workers aren’t happy and don’t feel in sync with your business goals (or, rather, they feel your business goals aren’t in sync with their capabilities or professional development needs), wanting to stay is an unlikely prospect.
In this article, we’ll outline some crucial factors that have the power to determine how well you’re doing your job as a manager and, by extension, how happy your employees are going to be at their jobs. At the end, you should come out with a couple of ideas on how to raise engagement and retention by adjusting your attitude and practices, as well as by using tools such as work hours tracker to help you in this journey.
The recent trend in how employees want to work and what benefits they value the most has been overwhelmingly towards greater autonomy. This means that they want to be more in charge of what their day will look like and how much workload they can handle as well as what this workload will be. You can provide this kind of autonomy to your workers by re-evaluating your policy on the flexibility in terms of working hours and remote work, work-life balance, as well as the extent of employee responsibility.
Flexible Working Hours and Remote Work
It’s become blatantly obvious that employees want more control over when they work and where they work. Traditional 9-to-5 office jobs are getting old-fashioned and being replaced by flexible working hours scheme and remote work. Getting on board with this trend will help your business prosper in more than one way.
First of all, you’ll get happier employees. Secondly, you’ll get more productive employees - forcing employees to come to work at 9 and take three hours just to activate their brain cells fades as a business management strategy in comparison to allowing them to arrive at 11 and start right away. And thirdly, letting workers do their jobs from home, at least a couple of days a month, will eventually lead to less frequent sick leave and increased job satisfaction.
So the first step towards becoming a great manager is to listen to your employees. And they are asking for more flexibility. So give it to them - you stand nothing to lose, especially if you use work hours tracker to keep track of their attendance and work on projects.
Ultimately, the reason why employees want this flexibility is so that they could maintain a good work-life balance. In order to be a successful manager who retains their employees, you have to give employees enough room to enjoy their personal lives as well. The truth is - even if they’re doing the most fulfilling job in the world, the lack of free time that they could spend enjoying their hobbies or with their families will catch up to the overworked employees and eventually lead to burnout.
Apart from flexible working hours and telecommuting, you can provide your employees with gym memberships, team building gatherings, extended vacation, and other things that will show them that you care about their well-being and happiness. Budget permitting, of course.
Finally, a path towards greater employee autonomy wouldn’t be complete without referencing the issue of who should take responsibility for their workload. Obviously, a Junior employee can’t decide what they’ll be working on and how much time they should take completely on their own, but it’s important for this responsibility to increase over time.
If you see that an employee is ready for more independent work, show them that you trust them by giving them more responsibilities, more important tasks and a say in decision-making processes.
One final note about encouraging greater responsibility at work is that if you happen to have micromanagement tendencies, you should start figuring out how to get rid of them. Nobody likes their boss breathing down their neck. Whether you choose to correct this by using work hours tracker, readjusting your delegation process or just adapting your attitude to the fact that you can’t do everyone’s job, micromanagement needs to go for the sake of boosting employees’ job satisfaction and reducing their chance to leave.
Recognition and Engagement
We’ve mentioned employee engagement several times up until now and that’s because it’s such a central factor in improving company’s retention rate. Although commonly mentioned together, there’s a difference between employee engagement and job satisfaction. While the latter is certainly important, it’s the former one that’s ultimately going to make your employees want to stay and work for you. So, a very important quality in a good manager is keeping your employees engaged. And it all starts with recognition.
Giving their best, accomplishing results and getting nothing in return isn’t the most gratifying feeling for hard-working employees. That’s why a great manager will always reward high-performing employees for a job well done. This doesn’t necessarily have to include giving them a raise or a promotion. You can show that you recognize their accomplishments in other ways too - by giving them more benefits, assigning them to more responsible tasks, or giving them credit with their colleagues or even the client, just to name a few.
Showing employees that they’re valued plays a much bigger role in their decision to stay at the company than, say, a good starting salary.
Even if an employee didn’t come up with a revolutionary solution that brought your company millions, it still doesn’t mean that they don’t deserve a pat on the back for their hard work.
Work hours tracker is a good way to see which employees are putting in extra effort and being productive at work. If you see someone exhibiting productivity levels way above average, that’s your cue for showing them that you appreciate their hard work and dedication.
Finally, getting your employees to care about the work they do and produce the desired results that you can later reward them for has a prerequisite - their work needs to have purpose. Doing repetitive tasks that contribute marginally little to the overall progress of your business hardly inspires engagement. As a manager, you need to get your employees to care about what they do, but it’s just as important that you care about what they do. When they see that their work is pushing the company forward (even in small ways) and that they can also profit from your success, their job stops being just a job and becomes a mission that they’ll be more invested in.
Promotion and Movement
A recent study conducted by LinkedIn found that a chance of retaining an employee three years after hiring them is about 45% if they stay on the same position. This chance goes up to 62% if the employee moves laterally (i.e. to a different position of the same seniority), and peaks at 70% in case of a promotion in the meantime.
The conclusion is - you have to respond to an employees’ need for professional development. It makes little difference whether they’re moved to a same-ranking position with different responsibilities and tasks which they’ve shown an interest in, or to a higher position within the same job role. The point is that movement strongly correlates with employee retention and it’s the job of a manager to spot the opportunities and adapt employees’ job roles to their capabilities and personal goals.
Fairness and Understanding
Finally, an important aspect of how you come across as a manager is your relationship with and attitude towards your employees. If you treat them fairly and like human beings instead of numbers on your payroll, you have that much more chance of keeping them at the company. Three things are important to get right - make their workload challenging but manageable, be transparent in all processes, and maintain a healthy two-way communication based on trust and honesty.
The first step is to realize that your employees are human beings. This means that they need breaks from time to time and that errors will happen. Having said that, it’s understandable how your attitude in this respect will be reflected on the workload that you expect your employees to do each day. Sure, it’s good that the amount of work keeps them busy most of the time - that’s what you’re paying them for. But expecting them to do more than they can, every day, consistently, without making any mistakes and without complaining is a huge burden that no employee will ever live up to.
If estimating how much work an employee can manage to do is difficult, you can turn to work hours tracker. It’ll show you how long someone needs to finish a specific task, so your expectations can be realistic. This will in turn help you prevent burnout and high turnover on a larger scale.
Openness and transparency is extremely important when it comes to demonstrating your decision-making process and justifying changes to your employees. Take the implementation of work hours tracker, for example. If you face them right away and explain why you’ve decided to get this system, they’ll be much more understanding and willing to view it as a tool for business and process optimization, rather than as a sign of distrust or spying software.
So, whenever you make a decision that directly affects some or all of your workers, make sure to tell them why you’ve made such a decision and how they’re likely to benefit from it.
In our last topic, we’ll focus on communication and mutual understanding between you and your employees. What we mean when we say ‘two-way’ communication is really just listening as much as talking. It’s not very satisfying having to listen to your boss giving out orders all day long. This kind of interpersonal dynamics results in employees’ reluctance to come to you with problems, and instead feeling like the only way to talk to you is by reporting on the facts and statistics of projects.
Good managers always try to nurture an atmosphere where employees can express their concerns, opinions and dissatisfaction before it’s too late to address it.
Being a good manager demands a lot of effort and compromise. We’ve mentioned just a few of the most important things you need to consider, but what it ultimately comes down to is just analyzing the situation in your company and responding to the problems you detect. This is hard work, but you can be sure that it’ll pay off by creating happier employees, lower employee turnover and more productive workforce.