The North American Workplace Is In Danger, But Leaders Can Help

employeesAn overwhelming 74 percent of employees in North America plan to look for a new job this year, according to recent research conducted by our team at Achievers. In comparison, less than half of employees in the UK and Australia (43 percent and 40 percent, respectively) plan to do the same.

To combat this growing epidemic within corporate America, business leaders often rely on monetary bonuses, salary increases, or flashy perks and benefits. However, the data makes it clear that money isn’t the most effective solution. At least, not to most employees.

In order to truly address retention, leaders must first understand what’s actually causing employees to leave.

Corporate culture doesn’t meet their standards

Having a healthy and engaging corporate culture isn’t just a nice-to-have, it is a critical factor for employers. In fact, the majority of North American employees (76 percent) noted a positive corporate culture as an “important” or “very important” part of their decision to remain with their current employer.

Creating a positive corporate culture is only possible when leaders exemplify the company mission and values. As a leader, it’s your job to live and breathe these cultural expectations.

“Employees want to know their work is not only noticed, but also appreciated.”

If your company values work-life balance, for instance, it’s important that you, too, leave the office at a reasonable time and refrain from emailing employees after-hours as much as possible.

The CEO of PepsiCo Australia and New Zealand, Robbert Rietbroek, said in a September 2017 interview that he shares his company’s values by enforcing ‘Leaders Leaving Loudly.’

“So for instance, if I occasionally go at 4 p.m. to pick up my daughters, I will make sure I tell the people around me, ‘I’m going to pick up my children.’ Because if it’s OK for the boss, then it’s OK for middle management and new hires,” he shared.

They receive recognition OR rewards

Employees want to know their work is not only noticed, but also appreciated. In fact, 66 percent of North American employees said recognition and rewards were “important” or “very important” when it came to their decision to stay with their current employer.

Leaders frequently view “recognition” and “rewards” as synonymous. However, the key to improving retention is to treat them as separate initiatives. When used frequently, publicly, and together, the two work to make your entire team feel appreciated. That sense of appreciation results in both increased morale and employee retention.

Give managers and employees the opportunity to both celebrate and reward one another with an online peer-to-peer recognition platform. Show managers the power of frequent and specific recognition by publicly recognizing their achievements.

Leaders at Rogers Communications, a leading global communications and media company, know the huge impact their employees have on achieving crucial business outcomes. They also understand that these outcomes are only achieved with an engaged, happy, and motivated workforce.

As part of their laser-sharp focus on employee engagement, they implemented High Five, a recognition and rewards program that touches more than 17,000 employees. The program celebrates employees for living company values, receiving customer commendations, and achieving individual and team goals.

Their connection to work is weak

When your recruitment team brings you experienced candidates, you likely seek out those who have a strong passion for their work, as that passion keeps employees motivated to stay for some time. In fact, 74 percent of the employees we surveyed were motivated to stay on board due to interesting work.

Unfortunately, when leaders don’t consistently monitor and nurture work connections, employees will inevitably become disinterested and disengaged.

This is why we’re seeing Amazon, the estimated second largest workforce in the in the world, taking the time to poll employees every single day. With just quick and simple daily questions ranging from opinions about managers, length of meetings, or even asking for general positive feedback about the past week, Amazon’s leaders are able to continuously learn about their employees.

Creating a positive work culture, recognizing your employees’ great efforts, and regularly connecting with each member of your team allows you to empower them to make the most of their work experience every single day. And this is the recipe for shifting from a retention epidemic to engagement success.

Natalie Baumgartner
Natalie Baumgartner, Ph.D. is the Chief Workforce Scientist at Achievers, an employee engagement platform specifically designed to align everyone with business objectives and company values, driven by recognizing shared victories every day. She has spent her career translating engagement and culture research into software that enhances the employee experience.

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