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4 Ways to Retain Employees in the 21st Century

15 Nov. 2017 Posted by aadams

Sumaya Kroger, FEI EAP Counselor

As soon as an individual living in the United States turns 14 years old, they can legally start working. People spend, on average, 30 percent of their lives at work. Around 25 percent of the week is spent working, although this number varies depending on one’s profession.

As an employee assistance program counselor, many clients I speak with receive referrals to discuss ways to improve their work-life balance. The phrase “work-life balance” was first used in 1986 to describe the balance between an individual’s work life and personal life.

With a significant and visible shift in the structure of both work and home environments, the benefits employees look for in a job opportunity have also shifted. These benefits focus on the work-life balance. For employers to deny the shift can mean increased turnover and decreased employee satisfaction, which in turn affects performance. Top reasons why employees leave an organization include lack of a work-life balance, a feeling of being undervalued, inflexible work environment or a sense of being overworked.

What are some techniques employers, both large and small, can implement to increase the likelihood that they will not only hire the best people for the job, but keep the best people for the job?

Here are four ways employers can increase employee retention and keep staff for the long-term:

1. Offer a more flexible working environment. This includes full or partial telecommuting, options to work from home and having compressed work weeks (i.e. four 10-hour days instead of five eight-hour days).

2. Recognize success and value each and every employee. Just because a task or responsibility is in someone’s job description doesn’t mean employers can ignore the good work employees do. Feeling valued and recognized is a basic human need, even in the workplace.

3. Compensation and incentives. Properly compensating employees goes a long way to boosting workplace morale. Use the annual review process to determine whether or not an employee deserves extra compensation, or offer merit increases based on performance. Organizations should occasionally conduct industry-wide compensation reviews to ensure their wages are competitive. Additionally, incentives ranging from bonuses to gift cards make employees feel appreciated—and might just motivate ambitious goal-setting.

4. Clarify expectations and job requirements. Employees who aren’t sure of their job responsibilities or supervisor expectations often experience burnout, leading them to look for a new job elsewhere. Clarifying day-to-day expectations, as well as clear workflow practices and reporting duties, helps staff remain focused, productive and engaged. Don’t waste time and money by allowing employees to flounder with vague explanations or contradictory instructions from superiors.

The idea of “work” and making a living has changed from previous generations. Employees, especially younger staff, want their output to be fulfilling, and many no longer wish to sacrifice their personal lives for a 9-to-5 grind.

Listening to your employees and collaborating on work-life balance strategies won’t just keep employees around long-term, it’ll make the entire organization happy.


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