You’re probably asking yourself why there are millions of jobs available when over 8 million people remain out of work. People are disgruntled. They want more from their employers, and they’re tired of being underpaid for the work they do. With 86% of people feeling that their workplace does not hear people fairly or equally, there is definitely a disconnect.
Many employers are stuck in their pre-pandemic ways, which may not have been great to begin with. Now, workers have had it. They want to take back control of their work lives. Famously, 9 in 10 remote workers want to continue working from home, and why wouldn’t they? So, companies today have no choice but to adjust.
4 Steps to Understanding
There are four key steps to addressing this fundamental shift in control, from employer to employees, and their willingness to forfeit a paycheck in favor of more respect.
- Know your employees. While it may sound obvious, it’s important to know the people who work for you, and many employers know very little about their employees—who they are, what they want from life, and how the company can help them get there. And sometimes, a typical employee survey may just be too obvious. Even the most diligent employees may resist answering forthrightly for fear of seeming different or unorthodox. It may be time to explore new techniques that respect difference and encourage transparency. Make surveys fun in order to encourage participation, or provide an incentive.
- Listen to your workers. Employers need to listen and hear what their workers have to say by providing opportunities for them to share their feelings. Establish trust by letting it be known that you are always open and available through regular all-hands meetings, CEO office hours, frequent questionnaires, coffees, and open forums. And once you hear what they have to say, it’s up to leadership to absorb; react; and, in some cases, implement change. This is a two-way street, with expectations that go both ways.
- Praise liberally. Use rewards and recognition to honor employees for their exceptional efforts (not just outcomes!). Share kudos, and let all your employees know how important they are to your team. Equally important is the shared appreciation of coworkers, which should be encouraged using a company Slack channel or another companywide vehicle. And, inversely, while praise is important, too much can lose its meaning.
- Exit interviews. Often overlooked is the exit interview, but understanding why someone is leaving is key to retaining the next hire. What worked for this worker, and what didn’t? What could we do differently as a culture? Would this person come back? Knowing these answers and identifying trends can help solidify a retention strategy going forward and help employers improve based on what they hear. Being able to pinpoint a potential problem or notice a trend can help your organization improve as a whole.
Employees are realizing they have the power to determine where they want to put their hours and their time. As such, the balance has shifted. Understanding what your employees do takes effort. When an employer understands its employees’ needs, it will be in a better position to not only fulfill those needs but also retain those employees.
Sam Caucci is the Founder & CEO of 1Huddle.