To keep employees, strengthen your workplace culture

Encourage employees to stay with these five strategies

Businesses across the country are experiencing more labor shortages and hiring difficulties than they did before the COVID-19 pandemic. In December 2021, 95% of small business owners trying to hire new employees reported few to no qualified applicants.1
This tough hiring environment makes employee retention more important than ever.

Building a collegial, supportive culture can help make your business a place employees don’t want to leave.
Here are five strategies to help.

1Double down on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI)

An illustration of a diverse group of men and women

51%

of employees who left or considered leaving their jobs cited lacking a sense of belonging as their #2 reason for leaving.2

And non-white employees were more likely to have left because they didn’t feel they belonged.2

Feelings of belonging can be connected with a company’s efforts to build a culture that is inclusive of and welcoming to people of all races, ethnicities, and gender identities, according to research from the nonprofit Coqual.3 Start by addressing the steps you can take on your own. Also consider engaging a DEI consultant, who can help you determine how to foster belonging for employees of all backgrounds, and/or joining a local or online group of entrepreneurs seeking to build diversity in their own businesses.

2Make the most of hybrid work

93%

of knowledge workers want flexibility in their schedules.4

76%

want flexibility in where they work.4

An illustration of a diverse group of men and women with an open laptop in the background

Planning team-building and other group events, both virtual and in-person, can help foster a healthy company culture with a hybrid workforce. If your industry doesn’t lend itself to a hybrid model, consider asking employees for more input on their schedules and giving them more autonomy in determining how the work gets done.

3Offer the benefits employees want most

An illustration of a diverse group of men and women participating in various pastimes, such as riding a bike or flying a kite

57%

of employees include paid time off (PTO) in their top three desired benefits, second only to health insurance.5

While more PTO is likely appealing to many people, find out what matters most to your employees by surveying them. Then plan to implement what you can.

4Align employees’ interests with your business’s

Companies with employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs) had turnover rates

<1/3

the national average in 2019.6

An illustration depicting a diverse group of men and women in various office settings, with one-third of a circle highlighted

Employees who feel ownership in your business are more likely to stay. ESOPs generally are best for businesses with 15 employees or more, but you may be able to create similar alignment by offering bonuses based on company profits and/or individual performance.

5Help employees support their causes

An illustration of raised hands in a multitude of colors

Employees who say their work aligns with their individual purpose are

4x more engaged

than those who say it doesn’t.7

Consider engaging your employees by offering paid volunteer time off (VTO) or supporting causes employees are involved with through donations or company volunteer days.

  1. Another Record-Breaking Level of Small Business Owners Increasing Wages, National Federation of Independent Business, December 2021
  2. ‘Great Attrition’ or ‘Great Attraction’? The choice is yours, McKinsey, September 2021
  3. The Power of Belonging: What it is and why it matters in today’s workplace, Coqual, June 2020
  4. Winning the War for Talent in the Post-pandemic World, Future Forum, June 2021
  5. 12 Employee Benefits and Perks for Your Hiring and Retention Plan, Robert Half, November 2021
  6. Survey Data Shows Lower Turnover Among ESOPs, National Center for Employee Ownership, July 2020
  7. Igniting Individual Purpose in Times of Crisis, McKinsey, August 2020

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