Companies of all sizes struggle with employee retention. But some have found a way to cut attrition in half.
The secret isn't lavish perks or extravagant pay. Instead, employees choose to stay at these companies because they find meaning there, feel pride in their job, and know they make a difference.
Employee retention is tied to purpose
The link between employee retention and purpose is something that unites the Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For®.
Here are seven best practices for retaining employees that we see at these companies.
1. Define the company’s purpose and connect people to it
It’s easy to understand the difference your actions make in the world if you are the president of an organization, or a nurse saving patients’ lives. It can be more challenging to make that connection from the factory floor, behind a cash register or even from a computer screen.
Therefore, it’s critical that leaders and managers clearly define the overarching purpose of the company in the world and show each employee how their specific role and work advance that purpose.
This way, no matter where a person sits in the organization, they can take pride in the knowledge that their actions matter to both the company and the world.
2. Trust employees to do their jobs
“Deep, abiding trust among team members is vital to building an engaged workforce,” says Aron Ain, CEO of Kronos.
Unlike the command-and-control ethos that has traditionally characterized many organizations, many of today’s CEOs are incorporating openness, transparency, and employee empowerment into their workplace cultures.
When Aron’s employees come to him for a decision on something, he returns their request with insistence: “I trust you to make this decision.” This sends a clear message to his team.
Giving employees the freedom to make their own decisions is what allows them to remain connected to their inner guidance, instead of shifting focus outward to what others tell them.
3. Give employees a voice
Nothing shows an employee more clearly that they make a difference to the company when leaders authentically seek out their ideas.
Leaders at great workplaces work tirelessly to stay connected to employees in all parts of the company, including on the very front lines. At the core of this behavior is a belief that employees have something valuable to say.
By giving employees multiple avenues to share their ideas, questions and concerns, leaders only amplify the message that staffers are vital for the company’s success.
4. Showcase customers
In many organizations, only a small percentage of employees actually work directly with the company’s client base.
When you establish the link between an employee’s work — regardless of where they sit — and the final impact it has on the end customer, you help that employee create a sense of purpose.
5. Make your workplace a community
A universal quality of great workplaces is the strong sense of family and team that employees across the organization share.
When employees form a close community with their colleagues, they’re far less likely to see work as “just a job” and more likely to see it as something that contributes to that community.
These relationships can be especially valuable when the going gets tough. They can be the difference-maker when employees are deciding whether to ride out difficult times with the company or jump ship for another opportunity.
6. Recognize employees
Acts of employee recognition go a long way toward showing people that they matter to the company, both as an employee and as a person.
Every company recognizes employees a bit differently. Here are a few ways we’ve seen:
- Birthday and anniversary celebrations
- Personal thank you cards
- Kudos at staff meetings
- A classy celebratory gala
What unique and meaningful ways of recognizing employees might best fit your company?
7. Make giving back part of your brand
One of the greatest strengths at many of the 100 Best Companies is a strong commitment to volunteerism and philanthropy.
At these companies, volunteer opportunities are a pillar of the employer brand and employee value proposition. They encourage employees to get involved in philanthropic efforts in a hands-on way.
This commitment to giving back helps give employees a sense of purpose by connecting the work they do for the company with making their community better
Does your workplace culture create a sense of purpose that makes employees want to stay? Think your company culture has what it takes to be named on one of our Best Workplaces lists?
Start finding out today and get Great Place to Work-Certified™