Many of us can still vividly recall the great recession of 2008. Jobs were scarce and the people who remained employed wondered if their pink slip was next. Fast forward to the present day and the employment landscape thankfully looks much different.
Today, the need for workers far outweighs the number of viable applicants for many positions. While this shift has given highly qualified employees greater mobility in the workforce, it’s also led to millions of dollars in lost productivity for organizations as they struggle to implement the right mix of strategies to help retain good talent.
Do Workplace Perks Help You Retain Talent?
Plenty of organizations try to keep their top-tier employees solely by offering benefits such as a juice bar, bicycles, alcohol at the office, etc. Initially, employees enjoy these perks, but over time these efforts can fall flat because they do not get to the root of what ultimately drives employee loyalty.
More than a smoothie or arcade games in the break room, your employees care about learning opportunities and chances for advancement. They want to be recognized for a job well done. They want a workplace culture that supports work/life balance. They want to share ideas and connect with colleagues. More importantly, they want to know their efforts have a direct impact on the company’s success.
Building an engaged and loyal workforce that will remain with the organization for many years to come, even when offered higher salaries from competitor organizations, should be something all company leaders strive to cultivate. How do you get there? With discipline, rigor, and a strong focus on encouraging employee participation in business decisions.
How to Ensure Employees Feel Heard
Now that we understand what truly motivates our people to do their best work, what’s the best approach to give your employees a voice while simultaneously measuring employee satisfaction and loyalty?
There are many approaches companies can adopt. Here are a few that our clients have had great success with:
1. Collecting and curating employee feedback
If you are not already administering an employee feedback or voice of the employee initiative on a regular basis, an Employee Net Promoter Survey (eNPS) is a perfect place for your organization to get started. A quarterly or semi-annual anonymized survey sent out to employees from a third-party entity is considered the best practice approach to an endeavor of this kind. The survey should be relatively short and include the eNPS-based question as the first question of the survey: “what is the likelihood that you would recommend [company] to a friend or colleague?”
An eNPS calculated score gives you a great check-in on employee loyalty and contentment but the work doesn’t stop with the score. This metric lays the groundwork for insightful intradepartmental and organizational review of the feedback; and the ability to pinpoint what’s working and what isn’t. That is why the eNPS question in a survey is just the start. Coupling it with a broader set of employee engagement questions and pulse surveys are great ways to link the score to the feedback, and look for correlations between initiatives and the eNPS choice selection given by your employees. eNPS touches every part of the organization, from recruiting, retention, to interdepartmental communications, and your score will help identify what factors drive the highs and lows of your employee loyalty and engagement.
Sharing aggregated results with your employees and inviting their input into the next steps helps them feel valued and involved in the ongoing process. There’s also another benefit, although it may be less trackable than the ones listed above – that is improved morale. Employees value being asked what they think. Knowing their feedback is heard often helps employees feel included and respected, especially when they see the organization follow through and act on their feedback.
2. Championship Teams
Seeking employee participation into identifying and designing the customer experience is an important one. Many organizations we partner with develop championship teams to help further this process. The role of the Championship team member is more than acting as a conduit for the customer’s voice. Champions are employees who can represent the customers and the customer experience in internal discussions. Champions are the voice of the customer, by championing their cause, thinking as a customer.
Seeking employee feedback into areas that they deal with day in and day out allows employees to take ownership of the voice of their customers and ensure a consistent and successful experience in all areas of the business. This gives top-tier employees the added ability to be a voice of transformation within the organization and see their feedback result in tangible changes.
The Championship team strives to bring about internal and cross-departmental changes in the organization’s culture and practices by creating collaboration across organizational boundaries. This team can help an organization build shared accountability with shared goals and a shared focus on results. To get amazing results for our clients, Satrix helps client organizations select employees that will serve as spokespersons for customers and work to get the message out and improve the delivery of services to achieve results.
It is the organization’s role to allocate the required resources to ensure that appropriate actions are developed and deployed, and to communicate to all employees the actions and insights provided from the Championship team to improve the overall customer experience and levels of customer loyalty. By incorporating a Championship team in your organization, you’ll build a workplace culture where employees feel heard, connected, and part of the successful growth of the organization.
3. Recognition Programs
Another method to give employees a voice is through peer-to-peer accolades. These efforts help to boost employee engagement because employees feel appreciated that others recognize they are doing great work and become more engaged with their colleagues. This, in turn, creates a positive culture within the organization by fostering a sense of connection and belonging. Additionally, spotlight rewards help boost morale, loyalty and professional development within an organization. These types of acknowledgments underscore an employee’s actions or decision-making ability provide an easy, but poignant foundation to building team morale and collaboration.
There are many forms of recognition and rewards programs. However, to be successful, these programs should incorporate the following elements:
- A formal process for the recognition program. When recognition is seen as a culture-building initiative, and not just another workplace benefit, you get more support from senior leaders, and buy-in from an even greater percentage of employees.
- Give everyone the opportunity to give and receive recognition. Have reoccurring communications to ensure every employee is aware of the program, and that each feel encouraged / empowered to participate.
- Make sure your program is easy to complete. Employees will want it to be quick for them to complete, yet sizable in the reward and recognition that comes from work they performed to honor their fellow employee.
- Publicize the recognition within the organization. Whether it’s a ‘wall of fame’, a newsletter highlighting recent achievements, or starting each team meeting by calling out successes, share the stories of the great work employees are doing.
Why It’s Important to Listen to Employees
Offering “workplace perks” can certainly have a place in your organization. However, the true path to engaged and loyal employees is cultivated through the act of listening to employees and promoting ownership of the customer experience within the organization. Programs, as we have outlined above, promote employee ownership of the organization and sustain employee engagement and trust. Keeping these steps in mind can help to create a culture focused on bringing together and engaging like-minded employees for many years to come.