How to keep your people in tough times
Samantha Gadd offers some advice on retaining employees in difficult times. There is no doubt the state of our economy and global headlines are top of mind for every business owner and leader. We are nervous about cost increases, reduced market confidence and rethinking our business strategies to ensure acceptable results in 2022/23. Employees are […]
Samantha Gadd offers some advice on retaining employees in difficult times.
There is no doubt the state of our economy and global headlines are top of mind for every business owner and leader. We are nervous about cost increases, reduced market confidence and rethinking our business strategies to ensure acceptable results in 2022/23.
Employees are also nervous. The cost-of-living crisis is impacting every single New Zealander and unfortunately, I don’t think any business is immune from these challenges.
A huge risk and cost for most employers is employee turnover. In this environment, we need to do whatever it takes to reduce this risk, and hang onto our people.
Here are my tips for employee retention.
Ensure your EVP (employee value proposition) is accurate
Make sure when you bring people into your business you tell them the truth about the opportunity, the environment and your culture. There is no point in sugar-coating what a role is and how it might feel to work in your business. Think of your EVP as the promise you make to new and existing employees. Ensure you are being authentic and the promise is able to be backed up with an experience to match. You are better to be real about the challenges of a particular role or your environment, than to pretend and have people leave because the role hasn’t met their expectations.
Best place to start? Ask your people why they joined and why they stay – you might be surprised by their answers!
Support your leaders
In challenging times our people leaders are under even more pressure to solve problems and perform. This is exactly when we need to think about their experience at work – do they have the skills, tools and confidence to lead through a tougher economic environment? Might they value and appreciate an opportunity to add to their toolkit in the form of coaching or leadership development? Maybe your leaders need a bit more time with you to reflect and learn? Possibly supporting them to find a peer group from outside of your organisation can also yield huge returns. Sometimes we forget our leaders are employees too. Let’s ask them what they need to drive business performance.
Listen to your people
As leaders and business owners we often feel the heavy burden to always have the answers and solve every problem. The reality is involving employees can have two massive benefits. Employees have insights and ideas we haven’t thought of. Also, if employees are involved in problem solving they feel a shared sense of responsibility and are much more engaged in the outcome. There is no reason we need to be in this alone. Even the hardest of business challenges are better solved with employee involvement. You might be surprised at how great it feels to work with your team and solve challenges together.
Retention strategies are one-size-fits-one
Leaders and business owners can fall into the trap of thinking we know what employees need and want. We must remember every employee is different and will value different aspects of their employee experience. Being interested in each of your people as unique contributors will allow you to build an understanding of what might be great retention strategies, for them as individuals. While one employee might value learning and professional growth, another might be more interested in maintaining the balance of home and personal life, and fitting in the school cross country race.
Understanding what makes our people tick is critical for retention – and it all starts with building strong connections in the workplace.
Business sure is a rollercoaster. This current market isn’t going to make it easy.
Ultimately, we need to remember performance potential sits with our employees. If we put time and effort into a great employee experience, our team will be better able to deliver a great customer experience – which of course leads to better business outcomes.
Samantha Gadd is the founder of Humankind and EX Design School. www.humankind.nz www.exdesignschool.com