New Year employer resolutions
Want to make 2016 the year your team shines? Barry Whelan, managing director of Excel Recruitment, outlines seven steps that will help keep employees motivated and on track to produce their best possible results
22 January 2016
We’re off and running into 2016 and whilst the new year is traditionally a time of reflection for employees, with a recent survey quoting that 26% of employees consider their position in January, perhaps February is a time for employers to reflect on how to make their workplace a better one. This could help retain those 26% of employees thinking about a move.
1. Let employees be off when they are off. With modern communication technology, we are always connected to the workplace through our smart phones. This raises an expectation of immediate response to issues and problems, which leads to a trend of always on and available. While some jobs do require this, most don’t. Employers need to get serious about limiting their intrusions into their employees’ time off. Employees may want to leave their work in the office. Time off attracts and retains great employees.
2. Give out the benefits and perks based on merit not request. As the old saying goes, ‘he who shouts the loudest gets heard’. Often management distribute the ‘extras’ such as better projects, professional development or indeed higher raises and better perks to the employees that ask the most as opposed to those who deserve it. The allocation of work, rewards and benefits should only be made on merit. Your most outspoken employees may get a disproportionate share of resources. Instead, make a point of examining how perks and benefits are distributed. Resist the easy path of giving more based on who speaks first or negotiates the best package.
3. Make feedback a habit. Articulating the areas in which you’d like to see an employee improve or describing what you’d like to see done differently, can go a long way toward making that change happen. Simple and positive feedback will generally keep people motivated and displaying the behaviours that were the reason for the praise in the first place. Employers should push managers to make feedback a regular part of their conversations with staff members. For example, they could set aside time for it in weekly check-ins. Many managers don’t give enough feedback to their staff members, even though feedback is one of the strongest tools managers have for getting better results from their teams.
4. Spend more on training and developing staff. In the recession, companies tried to do more work for less money and employees bore the brunt of these sacrifices. Budgets for training and development have taken a particular hit, which has left employees in a position where they’re expected to produce results and stay current on trends without getting much training and professional development. Make this the year that you invest in your employees as a long-term investment in your organisation.
5. Don’t procrastinate on performance problems. Instead of taking credit for the high achievers in their teams, managers should measure their own performance by the lowest performers on their teams. This is the real measure of how they are performing, how they handle people who are struggling. Too often, managers shy away from the tough conversations, coaching work and accountability that’s crucial to a high-performing team. Procrastination needs to be done away with and issues tackled head on.
6. Give thanks to great employees. If you want to retain your best people, ensure that their contributions are recognised – both through open praise and by compensation that reflects their worth to your organisation – and gives them a reason to stay. Employers often underestimate the impact of making sure that great employees hear that they are valued.
7. Work against racial, age, social and gender bias in your company. In our every changing work environment, it is important that we recruit, reward and recognise for skills, experience and contribution as opposed to bias in either a positive or negative way. Educate managers to find ways to combat unconscious bias, such as evaluating candidates against a clear list of must haves, not factors that don’t truly correlate with success on the job, factors such as rapport with the interviewer or their address. Train managers to use evidence-based methods to evaluate candidates, such as job-related exercises and simulations, and even remove identifying details from applications, so that managers can assess candidates without knowing their race or gender.