Is Pizza Enough?
How many of these memes have you seen? They've become a running joke with my friends. Their employer buys pizza once a year as a reward for the 12-plus hours a day and having to work outside in the elements because their facility is simply not big enough to house projects. We laugh about the $100 band-aid that does nothing to change the reality of the workplace.
I quit a job a few years ago with outstanding benefits, great pay, and weeks of vacation because the work environment was toxic! Have you heard the saying, "People quit bosses and not jobs?" Truer words were never spoken. In both of these cases, my friends and I were miserable at our jobs.
Employees can't quit quitting.
The great resignation slowed, but experts say we are far from done. According to Fortune.com, 2023 could be the biggest resignation year yet! "Nearly half of workers plan to find a new job in 2023. Employees in the U.S. can't quit quitting. Even with a recession looming, many workers aren't afraid to leave their job for a better one." That is a predicted 50% turnover in 2023! Are you ready for that?
I was astounded when I read that statistic. Am I someone who will leave this year for "greener pastures?" I have no plans to leave this job but recruiting efforts focus on the passive job seeker. The office pizza party just met its death. Welcome to the new age of retaining employees. So, how do you keep employees? The answer is simple—keep them happy.
The Best Workplaces Start with the Best Bosses, Pay Attention
Google how to retain employees (you bet I did), and you'll find an endless amount of blogs like this one from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. At their core, they kind of all say the same thing. Good employees want to be seen and heard. But what does that actually mean?
- Acknowledge your top-performing employees and their hard work.
- Reward those employees.
- Listen when those employees talk.
Now, this may seem simple and straightforward. However, we know perception and reality are not the same. If you think a pizza party is "rewarding your employees," keep thinking! You need to ask employees if they view your efforts the same as you do.
It's easy to give work to the top performers because some days, you just need stuff to get done or at least show progress. It's also easy to brush off an employee who wants to talk because you are late for a meeting. We all have done it. I know I have, and it's to be expected from time to time.
Stop. Stop right there.
Don't fall into the trap because suddenly, these employees are silently looking for new jobs because they feel taken advantage of and used. Chances are they tried once or twice to communicate how they felt, and chances are you should have taken the time to listen. Or worse, you did hear and failed to take action. Nothing seals the deal of wanting a new job more than being ignored or given the opportunity to speak and not being listened to.
Trust Needs to be Earned and Given
As we continue to cruise the internet superhighway, we see another common thread in articles, like this one from Entrepreneur.com, that states, "jobs that are both high-demanding and give employees less control are associated with a 15.4 percent increased chance of death." Remember the last time you were trapped in the car with a bug that just wouldn't leave you alone? Did your stress level rise at your continuous failed attempts to end the annoyance? That's exactly how micromanaged employees feel.
Stress is a killer. We know this. So why create more than is necessary? While your kids or spouse may not follow through on simple directives like, putting the dishes away or taking the trash out, your employees can. Trust them. Trust that they will do the job you hired them to do and that your brand is in safe hands. Is it always easy? Absolutely not. However, it is necessary, and you will find that the more flexibility you afford your employees, the more appreciative they will be and probably more productive as well. Over time, you may even feel less stressed.
Speaking of flexibility, in an age of remote working, trust is a key ingredient. Do you trust your employee is working when you have almost no way to confirm they are? You just need to trust they are. When you don't, according to BuiltIn.com, "Micromanagement can hurt employees' morale, their motivation, and their self-worth, so far to the point that it can cause employees to quit."
Who Will Stay and Who Will Go?
That really depends on you and what you do to create a better work environment. Salary and benefits always play a role, but people will take a pay cut if it means a new job where they don't resent pulling into the parking lot each day. What is your employee retention plan?
If you need to find new employees, it turns out I know just the place with a proven track record for running awesome recruitment campaigns—Mid-West Family Madison. Until then, put away the credit card for pizza and spring for a team outing on the first nice spring day or gift cards. As for me, I wouldn't mind a grilled cheese with Paoli butter at Seven Acre Dairy Co, complete with their homemade ice cream! Hint Hint. Once a farm girl, always a farm girl!