How to Create a Fantastic Work Culture to Keep Your Best People

how to keep good employees

When a good employee leaves a business, and you find yourself humming “another one bites the dust” by Queen, as a business leader you need to hold up the mirror and look at your culture.

Freddy Mercury didn’t leave one of the most successful bands because everything was hunky-dory, he left because there was something wrong with the dynamics of the band. After all, we all “need somebody to love” and if we are not feeling the vibe it’s time to move on.

If a good team member leaves, your workforce will feel the impact. Good people have good working relationships, meaning they’ll be missed by their teams and whomever they’ve had daily contact with. This will have a domino effect, impacting work productivity and focus.

Your employees are your investment, from recruiting to training to implementing them into your business. From the moment they fill in an application form and meet you for an ice-breaker interview they’re having an impact on your soft costs as well as your hard budget as they complete their journey. You would think it makes sense to look after your investment, right?

If there is something fundamentally wrong with your work culture, it starts at the very top. It won’t be unexpected to lose staff, relationships, skills, clients, and money.

A great leader understands that people are different. You can’t be a leader if you have no one that follows you, so understanding the basic needs of motivation is a must if you want people to buy into your vision.

Humans are simple creatures, and when you look at our Hierarchy of Needs through the Maslow Pyramid, that makes up some of our basic desires.

Once we get past the fact we have food in our belly, we move through four critical needs of fulfilment.

Safety – The need to feel safe and secure is a given; job security helps reducing anxiety and stress and could be a key driver when it comes to finding and keeping talent within your business.

Belonging – People want to belong, and they want to feel loved. Teams created, and friendships are formed giving your workforce a deep sense of belonging and the desire to feel motivated to return to work day in day out. According to Gallup, having a best friend at work, or really, a close knit of friends improves performance and increases effort. For example, women who strongly agree they have a best friend at work are twice as likely to be engaged compared to those who don’t.

Esteem – People need to have self-esteem, respect, and recognition for the work that they are doing which should be a key driver when rewarding your workforce and enhancing their sense of fulfilment.

Self-actualisation – Is the desire to realise one’s potential. This is through self-betterment books, education courses and training.

Maslow believed that to achieve this state of personal satisfaction, the person must first satisfy the other needs (i.e., physiological, safety, belonging and esteem, in that order to have a sense of total fulfilment.

A study done by Investors In People says that poor management is driving half of the UK workforce (47%) to look for new work. This is staggering as well as alarming and equates to 1 in 5 people that are actively looking for a new job right now. Their research also states that employee disengagement costs the UK economy £340 billion annually. If employee engagement is not a top priority, you might as well shut up shop.

According to Investors In People, the top three reasons why people leave:

  • 48% feel they can get more satisfaction at another organisation
  • 43% think they can earn more elsewhere
  • 29% don’t feel their skills are valued

Also, from a completely selfish point of view, the average employee is spending £350 per year on leaving gifts, this money is better spent on skinny jeans and mocha choca lattes. (just saying).

Employee disengagement costs the UK economy £340 billion annually. If employee engagement is not a top priority, you might as well shut up shop.

  • New hires are most impressionable in the first two months of the job, make sure their needs are met to make it a smooth and enjoyable transition. Get them involved in training, introduce them to their teams and other people in the office, even have their desks ready and set-up for them. Taking the small steps to make sure they feel included and welcome will motivate new employees and make them happy to stay.
  • Start developing an employee retention strategy; like making sure their salary and benefits stay competitive, encourage a healthy work and life balance, offer self-development opportunities, and more. Do you have a list of people you can’t afford to lose? What are you doing to keep them engaged?
  • Conduct regular employee surveys. Why do people stay working for your business vs why would they leave. It’s already too late when your top-performer walks out the door. You need to anticipate their needs and challenges before they reach a point of no return.
  • Not having any fun at work. Even when you’re dealing with serious challenges, it doesn’t mean you have to be serious all the time. The workplace can and should be fun. Read about engagement wins and how gamification can help.
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Michael Ross
Author:
Michael Rossi is Oak’s highly motivated Business Development Manager with a killer track record of providing exemplary sales and service to a broad range of customers across numerous sectors, including SME’s, public sector, and high-profile corporate organisations. Over the last 12 years, Michael has gained a vast amount of experience selling software solutions to marketing and internal comms specialists, highly trusted to guide his clients through the entire sales process. Michael is a left-handed dyslexic, which his father says this makes him, "very special". And, what he lacks in grammatical skills he makes up with his creative flare - key to his stellar salesmanship and storytelling.