As the competition for talent continues across the country, employers everywhere are looking for new ways to generate more job candidates, as well as ways to improve their employee retention.
While the ideas of offering hybrid or remote work and better employee compensation are consistently considered to address concerns regarding talent shortages, creating a positive company culture that gives employees a feeling of pride is a different way to build and retain a talented workforce.
It's important to find a way for your company to stand out from the rest and we've included some suggestions for doing just that below.
Workplace Culture, Talent Acquisition, and Employee Retention
One of the primary methods of attracting and retaining employees is ensure that your business is an enjoyable and engaging place to work. Stand out from the crowd by providing a supportive, positive and welcoming culture bolstered by thoughtful, sound policies.
Following are both proven and out-of-the-box methods for creating a workplace culture that employees will be proud to be a part of.
A growing trend in workforce management is that employers are beginning to offer PTO specifically for charity or volunteer work. In other words, companies are paying their employees to contribute to their communities.
Not only does this create a positive company culture, but it is also an effective method of avoiding employee burnout. However, employers don't need to offer additional PTO specifically for charity and volunteer work. There are other methods that can achieve the same end.
Dedicate Specified Time to Volunteer Work and Charity
Another choice for promoting community service as a company is to dedicate some time out of the year to volunteering. This is a more practical way of achieving the same cultural effect for employers that can't afford to offer the extra PTO.
Employers can dedicate a specified time - hours, days or more - where they sacrifice pure productivity for time away from the office involving volunteer or similar community service work. This can be supported for individuals who may want to volunteer on their own, as well as by providing group volunteering opportunities to further foster bonding and rapport building among team members.
For example, each year for up to 40 hours total, encouraging employees to help an organization like Habitat for Humanity to build affordable housing in their local community can develop a connection between an organization's employees and the local community and foster team building.
Reward Employees for Volunteer Work
While some employers may not be able to offer an extra day of PTO for each day that an employee does volunteer work, they may be able to reward an employee with a day of PTO, or some other bonus, for "x" number of hours of community service.
For instance, if an employee logs 24 hours of community service work, they get 12 hours of PTO. Keep in mind there should be clear policies in place to ensure the proper maximums are in place for how much PTO can be earned from volunteer work.
Being charitable as an organization and involving your employees in the process can contribute to a positive brand image as well as a supportive company culture.
A growing trend is organizations offer to match employee donations and charitable contributions up to a specified sum to a group of pre-selected charities or organizations. This allows a degree of freedom for employees to choose where they contribute and allows the organization to show further support to the employees that choose to donate.
Some employers alternatively decide to reward employee donations with extra time-off, as not all employers may be capable of matching such charitable donations.
Mentorship and Internship Opportunities
Whether these are internal or external relationships, mentorship or internship opportunities build a positive company and go a long way in fostering employee engagement as well.
These are a more traditional mentor-mentee type of relationship which can be used for building internal chemistry, team bonding and knowledge sharing. Explicitly pairing up a new team member with someone who has been at the company for 2+ years, setting specific learning goals, meeting frequencies and term length is a great way to engage team members who might otherwise have to find their own way around the organization. The closer each team member feels connected to one another, the more engaged the team will be.
Similar in nature to internal mentorships, employers may want to consider partnering with a local school, youth group, community center, or even local small businesses (depending on the employer's business size) so that employees can teach their skills to young adults and new business owners.
Mentor programs not only give employees a sense of pride for working for their company, but also a sense of pride in themselves, their work, and the skills they have learned over time.
Alternatively, employers can arrange day-in-the-life tours, for students or other interested parties, where employees can show them around the office and introduce them to the work they do. Yes, offering field trips can improve company culture.
It's been proven time and time again that empowering employees leads to improved engagement and retention. Empowered and engaged employees are key to a welcoming and connected work environment.
Remove Barriers to Decision Making
When decisions need to be approved by five different tiers of employees, business slows down, employees get frustrated and ultimately tasks get swept under the rug. It's important for employers and managers to trust those under them to make informed decisions for the good of the company.
Foster Personal Responsibility
Employers should provide ample opportunity for employees to set their own goals and determine expectations. When combined with a sound goal-setting framework, this approach empowers individuals with genuine ownership over their objectives and growth path.
Organizations that employ forms of self-goal setting observe that employees are much more likely to accomplish and hold themselves accountable for their goals while taking greater pride in their work.
Lastly, in order to truly empower employees, they need to feel heard. So, when they come to you with questions or issues, listen. Do what you can, and what's appropriate, to address any concerns or feedback from your workers both formally and informally.
Employee Resource Groups (ERGs)
Employers may want to consider partnering with an employee resource group. This helps create more community service opportunities for employees.
ERGs specialize in fostering diverse, inclusive, and engaged workforces. All critical components of proper employee retention and attraction.
Companies can also work to develop ongoing relationships with community organizations. Employers should focus on offering aid to the community in any way they can, when applicable.
Building a greater connection to the community that your business operates can generate positive local brand recognition in addition to overall business success.
Local involvement can also provide an even greater sense of pride in employees, as the reputation of the company they work for is better known amongst friends and neighbors.
Going green is one of the easiest ways to shine a positive spotlight on a business. There are many ways to accomplish this, from offering more opportunities to work from home, reducing or removing paper, retrofitting buildings with energy efficient materials to souring energy from more efficient sources.
Another method of creating a positive company culture is by creating or offering a "service award".
This award can be a financial incentive, a celebration, or any other monetary or non-monetary recognition, and is used to celebrate an employee who has had a strong impact on the community through volunteer work.
Genuine recognition is a powerful motivator for individuals to act, and as we've discussed, that action fosters further engagement and a positive culture.
Final Thoughts on Company Culture, Talent Attraction, and Retention
There are a myriad of ways to improve company culture and employee engagement, both of which are critical to attracting and retaining top talent. Used in tandem with methods such as hybrid or remote work, better and more creative compensation, and more specific initiatives such as retention bonuses, employers can build a track record of building and retaining a top-tier workforce, which in turn creates a further incentive for other talented individuals to join the organization.
Employers who are struggling with workforce management may want to turn to an HR company for help. To learn more about how HRCG is helping countless businesses build a top-performing workforce, or learn more about our industry-leading recruitment and onboarding solution, contact us today.