Updated: Apr 22
On the last business day of February, there were 11.3 million unfilled jobs according to a report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. As a business owner, the number is staggering, given how many companies are hiring and have been for months. Clearly, there is a disconnect between what potential employees are looking for and what companies are offering. In my latest Forbes Business Council article, I wrote about The Great Resignation in great detail and in this blog I summarize those 4 tools I believe will help resolve this disconnect - because it is so important that we do so.
It’s time to focus on people’s individual needs and preferred work plans. The 4 tools I summarize below come from my experience at Aegis Living and the impact they have had on my own team in a very positive way.
Before we dive into the four tools you can use to improve your team’s morale and performance, I think it’s important to start with the foundation: mental health. Successful employers consciously put their team’s mental health first and create space in the job to support employees in the ways that best serve them - from increased benefits to PTO, even company-sponsored yoga or meditation. With that said, here’s the summary for you to use within your own organizational change.
4 Tools for Keeping Employees Happy, Engaged, and Thriving
Embrace Flexibility - Some employees prefer stability and structure that comes with a 9-to-5 position with benefits. But after the last 24 months, more and more individuals desire more dynamic and flexible employment that can include flexible schedules, hybrid environments, and non-traditional benefits packages. If you have not checked-in with your team on what an ideal work situation looks like for them, get a survey ready and out to your team. Ask the big questions about where they feel the most productive (home or office), how they feel their time is most productive (full-time, part-time, evening hours, longer days and shorter weeks), and if they feel confident in their current position or if they need more training. The survey could also include questions around what hard and soft benefits are important to them. Not everyone needs a raise or bonus structure to love their job. Some might be delighted with half day Fridays during the Summer months, or more flex-time or PTO or even with situations that allow them to gain additional training or education. Ask and be open to change based on their answers.
Reward Retention - The team members who have stayed on during the turmoil deserve to be recognized and valued. When hiring new talent, it can be easy to put all your focus on new team members when it comes to onboarding, training, and celebrating them. Keep in mind that your company’s most powerful asset is the people who know your history and have invaluable experience. Build in time to make new team members aware of the value the existing team has while creating fun and meaningful recognition for those that have tenure. Reward, honor, and celebrate those who have put in the time and worked through the staffing shortage we have all faced. Now, more than ever, look to hire and promote from within.
Create Shared Purpose - As leaders, every day, it is our job to demonstrate and validate why someone should choose to be a part of our organization. This starts with having a mission that is clear to everyone. In a job interview, it can be more important to share the company’s mission with a potential new hire and see how excited they are about being a part of it, rather than asking questions about their skill set and abilities. Selling the mission is critical to attracting and retaining great talent. I talk in detail about this topic in my blog, The Heart of a Company. Remind your employees often of the company’s shared mission and ensure they are a part of it.
Community Connection - If we want the workforce to show up for us, it is our duty to show up for them outside our four walls. If you have always wanted to raise funds to support a local nonprofit but have never stepped up, do it. If you have always wanted to establish a mentorship program but failed to get going, start it tomorrow. If there are key issues close to the hearts of your team, stand up for them, donate to the right causes, make phone calls to local leaders to move the needle. My blog, You Say Potato, I Say Kindness details some ways we do this at Aegis Living.
Going back to tired old retention strategies means game over.
In your next round of job postings and hiring interviews, try implementing these 4 tools and see what a difference it makes.
About the author:
Dwayne J. Clark is the Founder, CEO, and Chairman of Aegis Living, a best-selling author and longevity expert. His latest book, 30 Summers More, offers up the latest health and wellness research into longevity.