At Hubstaff this week, we took a look at how to build a quality remote team in our Hubstaff Talent 101: Remote Team Fundamentals piece. Now that you have some quality team members on board, let’s talk about how to make sure they stick around. Some amount of employee turnover is natural in any company, but larger groups of employees leaving your organization is likely a sign of a larger problem. It could be a bad manager, unhealthy work environment, or another factor that forces employees out the door.
Either way, this employee turnover adds additional stress to the team members left behind, which could result in even more turnover if the situation is not remedied quickly.
According to the Society of Human Resource Management, about one-third of new hires quit their jobs after six months, and CareerBuilder reports that 32 percent of employers expect their employees to job hop.
If you manage Millennials or remote employees, then you know the days of “punching the clock” at certain times each day are quickly coming to a close. A system that was designed to control production schedules at factories decades ago does not translate well into an office environment.
There’s no reason everyone needs to come in at the same time and leave at the same time every day, especially when technology gives us the ability to connect with each other whenever and wherever we want to. Take full advantage of this by allowing your employees to work from home or have flexible schedules.
If you can’t give someone the schedule they want, they will find someone else who can. More and more companies are allowing employees to work hours that best suit them in order to create a better work/life balance.
For example, maybe someone needs time off during the day to be with their kids after school. There’s no reason they should not be able to do this when it’s so easy to record meetings or use services like Trello to log communication and track project progress.
Allowing for flexible schedules is one way to stand out from your competition. Even though the trend is growing, not everyone is there yet. You might not be able to offer as much money as a competitor — heck, you might even have control over that.
But you do have control over what type of schedule you can provide and where someone can work. Utilize these bargaining chips to ensure that you get the candidate you want, and that the person stays with you for the long term.
One barrier to flexible schedules for work from home arrangements is the fear that people would not do their jobs without a supervisor watching over them or regular meetings to check in on progress.
Again, this is largely a holdover from a bygone era. Younger workers want to feel like they are bringing value to a company and see a job as much more than a place to earn a paycheck. As such, they don’t mind working “after hours” if necessary.
Plus, services like Hubstaff allow you to monitor productivity no matter where or when someone on your team is working. You can ensure that they are meeting all expectations while enjoying the schedule and work-life balance they prefer. You and your employees can get on with your lives and your work without worrying about whether work is actually being done.
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This sounds like a simple one, but make sure that your employees are doing the job that they were hired to do. In a time when very few people are unemployed, someone is probably leaving another job to come work for you.
Sometimes this is because they are unhappy (the whole driver behind turnover in the first place), but sometimes it’s because they want to work on specific projects or use specific skills. In this case, another company’s loss is your gain if you have a position that nicely aligns with someone’s skillset.
But, you’d better be prepared to have that person working on those tasks or projects once they start. Otherwise, you’ll see motivation and productivity decrease pretty quickly and someone you thought was going to be your star hire head right out the door. There are always going to be “other duties as assigned” but those should be the exception and not the rule.
Mismatched expectations might be unavoidable if you have someone else on your team leave or if the company’s needs change. In that case, be upfront with your new hire about what’s happening and your plan to get them back to the work they want to be doing as soon as possible.
There are other expectations to meet beyond the specifics of the job itself. Never be dishonest about things like health benefits or retirement contributions, as they are factors in the decision to accept or decline a job offer.
Speaking of benefits, the term “work/life balance” appears on nearly every job posting and company website you see, but does your organization really live up to that term? If you don’t, consider it another unmet expectation that will send someone packing.
While someone should start a job doing the things that appear in a job description, most people expect to move beyond those things during their tenure at the company. The longer someone does the same job, the more bored and unhappy they’ll become.
Work with each person you supervise to develop a long-term plan for growth within the organization. Encourage your colleagues who manage people to do the same. You can acknowledge that changes will take time, but do make good on the milestones you set.
Employee growth means way more than consistent annual raises or end-of-year bonuses. Sure, those things are nice and might help retain someone for a little while. But they can’t make up for a lack of professional and leadership development.
Some managers shy away from this because they worry that their employees might overshadow them. As long as everyone is committed to growth, then this should never be the case. Ideally you would progress right along with the people you supervise.
Encouraging growth is more difficult among remote employees, but even the most task-oriented positions have room to expand. Maybe your remote employee eventually moves into managing other remote workers or picks up skills in a different area.
The bottom line is that everyone should have room to grow and expand. Employees are much more likely to leave if they feel stuck in their jobs without a clear path of forward progression.
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Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
If you are a manager or executive who spends all day in meetings, you might feel like you over communicate. But, are those messages making it to lower-level employees?
Remember that no one likes to feel left out. This is just as true in the workplace as it was on the second grade dodgeball team. One reason people leave a position is because they feel decisions are being made without their input.Remember that no one likes to feel left out. Click To Tweet
Much like work/life balance, “transparency” is another corporate buzzword that’s used to attract new employees. However, saying that you are transparent is much easier than actually being transparent.
Take the time to make sure everyone is in the loop about what’s happening on your team. Make meeting notes available on shared spaces like Slack or Trello whenever possible. Your employees might not read every one, but knowing that they are there says a lot about a commitment to transparency.
Without a clear flow of information, gossip and rumors step in to fill the void. This happens in hushed conversations around the water cooler and, increasingly, on Slack and other online platforms. Too much of that and some people are likely to head elsewhere.
It’s so easy to put a stop to something like this by readily sharing information, but so many people don’t because they are worried about what the reaction might be. Trying to exert too much control over a difficult message backfires when rumors spread that make something seem way worse than it actually is.
If you do not have regular one-on-one meetings with your team members, schedule them ASAP. These meetings provide a great opportunity to check in on progress and give the employee an opportunity to ask questions they might not feel comfortable bringing up in a meeting or larger setting. Even 30 minutes a month will go a long way toward showing someone that you value their time and their input.If you do not have regular one-on-one meetings with your team members, schedule them ASAP. Click To Tweet
Encourage leaders at the top of the organization chart to have regular company-wide meetings where they can answer questions about whatever might be on people’s minds. People can sometimes be shy about speaking up at meetings like this, so consider a way for people to submit questions anonymously or in advance of the meeting.
Don’t Forget to Have Fun
Whenever things get busy, it’s easy to forget that we are all people. No one likes to work all the time.Whenever things get busy, it’s easy to forget that we are all people. Click To Tweet
Social outings like lunches and happy hours can improve workplace morale by encouraging coworkers to get to know each other outside of work. If people feel connected to each other on a human level, they will be less likely to abandon the company.
Think about it — how many times have your heard someone say “I hate the job, but I love the people.” Having a friend at work might be enough to get someone through a rough patch while other problems are ironed out.
Social events can also give everyone on the team a fun goal to work toward. Organize lunchtime walks or a company softball team to encourage a healthy lifestyle. Start a book club to stimulate creative thinking and foster dialogue between people who might not interact otherwise.
Beyond these larger events, don’t forget the little things that make an impact. Something as small as recognizing birthdays or work anniversaries makes people feel like they work somewhere that values them as a person.
Loop remote employees into this by encouraging meetups whenever possible, or inviting them to visit company headquarters on a regular basis. Send them a birthday card signed by the entire team and arrange for a cake to be delivered to their home.
If you take one thing from this article, it’s that the little things do absolutely matter when it comes to retaining employees. Money is no longer enough to keep someone at a job where they don’t feel valued otherwise.
A job is an extension of someone’s lifestyle. Everyone at your organization should be proud to tell their friends and family where they work. If they aren’t, brace yourself for those people to be looking for new jobs and the vicious cycle of employee turnover to start all over again.
What tips and advice do you have to retain those employees that you worked so hard to find? We’d love for you to share them with us below.